Written by Technovission on February 17, 2021

Storage issues in CCTV systems are one of the most debatable and confusing problems in the management of video surveillance systems. The main two functions of a robust CCTV system are the ability to see what the camera sees (in real-time) and to see what the camera saw at a later time (stored footage). Video surveillance storage is where the most commonly used function of a CCTV system across all industries comes in—to store or record what the cameras stream reliably and play CCTV video to review past events of interest.

Needless to say, the storage requirements of video surveillance can be massive. Industrial regulatory requirements of certain businesses may require them to store months of security footage (up to 6 months for financial institutions). As a result, there is a rising expectation of reliable, HD quality footage but with low-cost storage solutions.

Problems with surveillance storage can be frustratingly difficult to detect with quarterly or biannual maintenance schedules and the delayed nature of playback review in general. Video from CCTV cameras getting lost or not being recorded impairs the ability of any business to provide legal video-based evidence for an incident and settle disputes. It can also damage the customers’ trust in the establishment.

The common recording issues related to video surveillance storage are:


1. Hard disk shutting down:

Storage devices are most commonly susceptible to overheating and power supply issues. Manufacturers incorporate safety checks that turn the device off to protect it from lasting damage from extreme conditions. Once the threshold of these extreme conditions is crossed, sensors automatically shut down the storage device.

Even with normal use, the device temperature can rise to high temperatures (50°C or more) from:

  • Improperly or inadequately ventilated enclosures
  • Single or multiple cooling fans failing
  • Lack of maintenance

Power supply issues, such as spikes, drops, and power failure can result in the hard disk shutting down and disrupt recording.

2. Hard drive failing/ DVR or NVR not recording:

Storage devices commonly used in CCTV or surveillance systems such as network/ digital video recorders (NVR/ DVR) or network-attached storage (NAS) can stop working or fail due to age, lack of maintenance, and environmental conditions. Storage device components are susceptible to wear and tear, and over time can degrade to the point that they are unable to record reliably and store video, and ultimately, fail. Problems like playback skipping and the system slowing down are usually caused by a disk failure. Most CCTV recording issues can be attributed to hard disk failures.

Source: Stackify

3. CPU too busy:

Storage functions of any storage device such as an NVR utilize the CPU to record the encoded video being streamed from the cameras to the NVR. If the CPU utilization is high, the system can hang, reducing disk activity to zero. This can make the system unusable and disrupt video recording. Though the decoder of the NVR might still play live video on a monitor, it may appear choppy or keep skipping, indicating the limited capability of the NVR to decode or store video being sent from the CCTV cameras.

4. No hard disk access:

Errors in device configuration can create authorization failures that disrupt video recording on the hard disk. Sometimes, if devices are restored to factory defaults due to settings getting corrupted, the DVR/ NVR may stop recording and storing data on the hard disk.

In other cases, the hard disk may appear as “missing” because of poor connections and get disconnected from the surveillance network.

How can you solve the storage issues of your CCTV system?

Storage issues are difficult to detect on time and can prove very costly with the critical video being lost. Hard disk problems seldom have a minor impact and require quick resolution to limit the loss of video recording. By the time problems with storage devices are discovered, it is, in most cases, too late to retrieve the lost security footage. Manual checks performed periodically neither helps arrest the problem in time nor provides the assurance that your security footage is safely recording at all times.

A network and device health monitoring system that polls and performs maintenance checks on storage devices in real-time, 24/7 can help your storage solution function with maximum reliability and minimum downtime. The network monitoring system will perform three major functions:

Detect I Analyse I Report

  • Detect:

    • Perform real-time monitoring and health of network storage devices to verify hard disk health, proper memory and CPU utilization, and uninterrupted video recording.
    • Identify the early signs of disk deterioration, overheating, and fan failures to prevent storage components from getting damaged and shutting down.
    • Detect signs of the CPU being too busy and low disk activity disrupting video recording.
    • Detect any disk authentication errors or instances of the software agent being unable to access the connected hard disk to prevent disruptions in storage functions.
  • Analyse:

    Correctly identify the root cause of the storage issue for a fast and accurate resolution.
  • Report:

    • The hard disk is about to run out of storage.
    • Footage is not recording to the disk for more than the threshold limit (say, no recording for 5 min).
    • Temperature of the hard disk has crossed set thresholds.
    • Disk access is compromised.

CheckMyCCTV™ provides comprehensive network health monitoring, automated and immediate notifications to stakeholders, and allows prompt response remotely or by support engineers. For more information on security solutions that prevent storage problems from compromising your surveillance security, contact our security consultants at Technovission.

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