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How to Store Video Surveillance More Effectively, Part 1

The requirement for storage space is ever increasing for video surveillance. Learn how to handle that volume more effectively. Part 1 of 2.


As the amount of video data grows and video resolution improves, the requirement for storage space increases and it becomes more difficult and expensive for law enforcement agencies to store videos, even for a short time.

However, securely storing large amounts of video data and being able to find the data easily is now a requirement for law enforcement agencies. Legal procedures and legislation like the Freedom of Information Act require the secure transfer of full or partial government-controlled data if requested.

Even if you do have the storage space, dumping a massive amount of files into a data silo and not attempting to index or organize them in any way can render important video footage unsearchable and, therefore, useless.

The Video Storage Problem

The key elements to consider in determining storage requirements for video surveillance are the “three R’s”: retention, reliability, and resolution.

  • Retention times vary by state and range from 30 days for non-evidence to seven years to indefinitely for certain crimes. The longer the retention time, the more storage a law enforcement agency needs.
  • Reliability is something most in the storage industry don’t think about. Storage and storage media will eventually fail. You need to protect the data in some way, and that comes with additional storage overhead ranging from 20 percent to 300 percent, depending on the level of availability needed.
  • Resolution is what most people consider when they think of video size, and that is driven by frames per second. While cameras in police cars record 1.5 gigabytes per hour at standard definition, body-worn cameras shooting at 720 HD consume about 2.5 gigabytes per hour. Increase this resolution to 1080 HD, and the storage consumption increases to 5 gigabytes per hour. Now, multiply body-worn camera storage needs by the over 900,000 sworn law enforcement officers in the U.S. alone, and you’re looking at a staggering amount of data.

Legacy storage systems are incredibly expensive, especially considering the retention time a piece of evidence may require. One police department spends $111,000 annually to store evidence associated with just 50 cameras. Other departments are purchasing even more storage after realizing that they’re already one-third of the way through the storage they pre-purchased.

And while cloud storage may work for smaller departments, the compounding costs over time and the bandwidth necessary to move data to the cloud need to be considered. As a result, some departments are looking for public and private cloud storage that is economical; the answer is object storage.

[Editor’s note: Want to learn more? Watch for part 2 of this article next week, and join Caringo Product Manager Ryan Meek for Object Storage for Digital Evidence & Security on March 22. Register now to watch live or on-demand after the event.]

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This article was originally published by Security Today.

Jonathan Ring
Jonathan Ring

About The Author

With a rare understanding of technology, customers and business, Jonathan Ring brings over 33 years of experience to Caringo. Prior to founding Caringo, Jonathan was an active angel investor and VC investing and advising in a broad range of companies. Jonathan has run multinational distributed development groups, small R&D teams and huge divisions at industry giants.

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