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  • Question - Re: DVR Components

    I talk sometimes with the folks that make components that go inside DVRs like drives and electronics and such. I'm not super knowledgeable about the individual guts and parts, but it's been interesting to learn more about this side of the technology.

    What I wanted to ask those of you on our forums was whether or not you pay attention to the manufacturers of the hard drives in a DVR or in a network storage system for video surveillance? Why/why not?

    This is what I'm hearing: there are a couple different "grades" of hard drives, and some can be engineered for more continual usage (like writing data all day as in video surveillance recorders) or for stop-start usage (like in a standard home PC, where it may sit idle for times and then work for other times). Does this kind of information interest you, and do you pay attention to that level of the storage system?

    Do you think your clients -- those people paying you to put these DVRs in their businesses -- are interested in the quality of internal components?

    Just some food for thought -- I'd love to get your input...

    Regards,
    Geoff Kohl
    SecurityInfoWatch.com

  • #2
    Originally posted by SIW Editor View Post
    I talk sometimes with the folks that make components that go inside DVRs like drives and electronics and such. I'm not super knowledgeable about the individual guts and parts, but it's been interesting to learn more about this side of the technology.

    What I wanted to ask those of you on our forums was whether or not you pay attention to the manufacturers of the hard drives in a DVR or in a network storage system for video surveillance? Why/why not?

    This is what I'm hearing: there are a couple different "grades" of hard drives, and some can be engineered for more continual usage (like writing data all day as in video surveillance recorders) or for stop-start usage (like in a standard home PC, where it may sit idle for times and then work for other times). Does this kind of information interest you, and do you pay attention to that level of the storage system?

    Do you think your clients -- those people paying you to put these DVRs in their businesses -- are interested in the quality of internal components?

    Just some food for thought -- I'd love to get your input...

    Regards,
    Geoff Kohl
    SecurityInfoWatch.com
    To be honest with you, I don't really give much thought to DVR components. As long as it has a Seagate drive, and the manufacturer has a good reputation, I'll buy it. Besides, when it comes to computer components, one company is pretty much like another.
    The CCTV Blog.

    "Expert" is something like "leader". It's not a title that you can ever claim for yourself no matter what you might know or might have done. It's a title that others bestow on you based on their assessment of what you know and what you have done.

    -SecTrainer

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    • #3
      I use systems that meet the clients requirements. The internal components do play into the decision on which system to use. Since most of our systems are for mobile aplications a hardened system is ussually required. The chipset in the dvr has alot to do with the quality as well. I prefer an intel duo core type system. The hard drives will vary by application. It is getting to the point now that we are able to get solid-state hard drives. Same connections as a regular hard drive but with solid state memory installed. In my situation it makes more sense to go with solid state than a regular hard drive (depending on the capacity requirments). We also use heavy duty laptops for more severe environments and shock criteria.

      As for our clients interest in the internal components. Most of our clients are very involved in the component selection process (Government clients). Some of our clients just want a system that meets thier video needs and let us decide on the components (Corporate clients).

      One of the main features that play into DVR and NVR requirements is the compression method of the video. This will also play into the internal components such as the hard drives. If a system is based on mpeg2 or AVI compression the hard drive sizing and the network bandwidth requirements will be different than a system with h.264

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Rooney View Post
        I use systems that meet the clients requirements. The internal components do play into the decision on which system to use. Since most of our systems are for mobile aplications a hardened system is ussually required. The chipset in the dvr has alot to do with the quality as well. I prefer an intel duo core type system. The hard drives will vary by application. It is getting to the point now that we are able to get solid-state hard drives. Same connections as a regular hard drive but with solid state memory installed. In my situation it makes more sense to go with solid state than a regular hard drive (depending on the capacity requirments). We also use heavy duty laptops for more severe environments and shock criteria.

        As for our clients interest in the internal components. Most of our clients are very involved in the component selection process (Government clients). Some of our clients just want a system that meets thier video needs and let us decide on the components (Corporate clients).

        One of the main features that play into DVR and NVR requirements is the compression method of the video. This will also play into the internal components such as the hard drives. If a system is based on mpeg2 or AVI compression the hard drive sizing and the network bandwidth requirements will be different than a system with h.264
        H.264 is the same thing as MPEG4, isn't it?
        The CCTV Blog.

        "Expert" is something like "leader". It's not a title that you can ever claim for yourself no matter what you might know or might have done. It's a title that others bestow on you based on their assessment of what you know and what you have done.

        -SecTrainer

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by SIW Editor View Post
          I talk sometimes with the folks that make components that go inside DVRs like drives and electronics and such. I'm not super knowledgeable about the individual guts and parts, but it's been interesting to learn more about this side of the technology.

          What I wanted to ask those of you on our forums was whether or not you pay attention to the manufacturers of the hard drives in a DVR or in a network storage system for video surveillance? Why/why not?

          This is what I'm hearing: there are a couple different "grades" of hard drives, and some can be engineered for more continual usage (like writing data all day as in video surveillance recorders) or for stop-start usage (like in a standard home PC, where it may sit idle for times and then work for other times). Does this kind of information interest you, and do you pay attention to that level of the storage system?

          Do you think your clients -- those people paying you to put these DVRs in their businesses -- are interested in the quality of internal components?

          Just some food for thought -- I'd love to get your input...

          Regards,
          Geoff Kohl
          SecurityInfoWatch.com
          Geoff - They are when I explain the differences. It comes down to you get what you pay for. I never spec a home DVR recording system for commercial surveillance use.
          Retail Security Consultant / Expert Witness
          Co-Author - Effective Security Management 6th Edition

          Contributor to Retail Crime, Security and Loss Prevention: An Encyclopedic Reference

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by SIW Editor View Post
            I talk sometimes with the folks that make components that go inside DVRs like drives and electronics and such. I'm not super knowledgeable about the individual guts and parts, but it's been interesting to learn more about this side of the technology.

            What I wanted to ask those of you on our forums was whether or not you pay attention to the manufacturers of the hard drives in a DVR or in a network storage system for video surveillance? Why/why not?

            This is what I'm hearing: there are a couple different "grades" of hard drives, and some can be engineered for more continual usage (like writing data all day as in video surveillance recorders) or for stop-start usage (like in a standard home PC, where it may sit idle for times and then work for other times). Does this kind of information interest you, and do you pay attention to that level of the storage system?

            Do you think your clients -- those people paying you to put these DVRs in their businesses -- are interested in the quality of internal components?

            Just some food for thought -- I'd love to get your input...

            Regards,
            Geoff Kohl
            SecurityInfoWatch.com
            Geoff, excellent questions… and chances are many do not pay attention, rather go by what manufacturers offer anyway. Do you remember major fiasco that everyone were facing using inferior hard drive manufacturer named Maxtor? All the manufacturers were using because this brand hard drives were cheap... However, everyone paid the price... and later Maxtor was bought by Seagate... At the moment Seagate is using Maxtor branded drives that are much cheaper then compatible drives that state Seagate on them...

            Someone can always argue that hard drive is a hard drive and there is nothing special about them… Did you know that Seagate has 3 flavors of the same type of hard drives? They carry Consumer Grade, Commercial Grade and Surveillance Grade… Price variance is negligible again, but dependent who the customers are, manufacturers do pick or choose which Grade hard drives to use..

            We mainly work with major manufacturers, American Dynamics, Panasonic, Sanyo, Bosch, GE Security CBC and few others… Each manufacturer has something to offer that is proprietary, however the majority of the components, i.e. hard drives, video cards, motherboards, high efficient power supplies, PATA or SATA cables, etc. are common items that anyone can use with basic computer hardware knowledge and can easily change or replace as necessary.…

            We purchase brand new systems with minimal hard drive capacities and then add storage based on our customers requirements and most of the time, able to offer much higher internal storage capacities using the same equipment compared what is avail with the same manufacturers. Case and point… American Dynamics DVMS series DVRs comes with maximum of 750GB of internal storage (Ultra series is higher)… In our case, we upgrade the same Intellex DVR to maximum of 4.0TB (4,000GB) internal storage… and we can add more, but the Intellex software does not recognize more than 4.0TB storage)… Conventional method is to add what is called External Storage Modules (which is nothing more than a standard NAS or sometimes called external hard drives) that are capped maximum of 1.0TB. However you are adding more boxes on top of each other, thus increasing the space requirements and increased heat near and around the command center. The solution that we provide is the same except that everything is installed internally, thus reduces space requirements tremendously.

            The same protocol above does apply for all our DVR repairs, regardless of the manufacturer, and we use the best components available outside of the manufacturer's circles... excluding anything that is proprietary.

            We strictly use only Seagate “Surveillance” grade hard drives and never had one fail, compare to commercial grade that had close to 5% failure rate.. The pricing is negligible when buying quantities, yet it delivers much cooler and reliable performance. Besides, the “Surveillance” grade hard drives are designed and manufactured to operate 24/7, as it is the basic requirement for any DVR usage..

            Customers always look for quality, whether in the box or outside of the box, and at reasonable price coupled with aggressive 3 years minimum warranty.. Educating customers and showing all the benefits of such high quality components does pay major dividends over time.. In my opinion, it is always a win-win situation.
            http://www.cctvshowroom.com
            http://www.everythingcctv.com

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            • #7
              I know of a company that uses the DVR HD like Videotapes. They record until the HD fills up, pull it out, label it and put a new HD in. I have never seen any other company do this.

              Comment


              • #8
                If I remember correctly, Seagate is now owned by Maxtor. Actually, I believe Seagate bought out Maxtor.

                There are always Ford vs. Chevy wars. I have been buying Maxtor and Seagate drives since the late 1980s.

                Since most DVRs are custom boards, you don't get into the other wars, like mainboard, etc.
                Some Kind of Commando Leader

                "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by N. A. Corbier View Post
                  If I remember correctly, Seagate is now owned by Maxtor. Actually, I believe Seagate bought out Maxtor.

                  There are always Ford vs. Chevy wars. I have been buying Maxtor and Seagate drives since the late 1980s.

                  Since most DVRs are custom boards, you don't get into the other wars, like mainboard, etc.
                  Seagate actually bought Maxtor... Unfortunately, we can not use anything that states Maxtor on them regardless if the internal components may be all Seagate... Too many people were burned in our industry using Maxtor and if we even entertain the idea, I am sure our customers will not be very forgiving...
                  http://www.cctvshowroom.com
                  http://www.everythingcctv.com

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                  • #10
                    Surprised that they're not screaming "Western Digital!" It took me... 12 years to buy WD after three drives died the day they were installed. One after the other.

                    Since then, I've only bought Maxtor, Seagate, or IBM. The DeathStar line.
                    Some Kind of Commando Leader

                    "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by N. A. Corbier View Post
                      Surprised that they're not screaming "Western Digital!" It took me... 12 years to buy WD after three drives died the day they were installed. One after the other.

                      Since then, I've only bought Maxtor, Seagate, or IBM. The DeathStar line.
                      Western Digital is coming along well... just not for prime time yet... Cheaper than Seagate and offers only 3 years warranty vs. Seagate that offers 5 years warranty on the same size drives.

                      Hitachi's latest 1TB drives are decent...Pricing varies between $300 to $350.. but we will have to wait and see how they will survive the DVR abuse usage of 24/7 of recording... and if they can sustain long term integrity of data.

                      Read an article a week ago that Hitachi is already talking about their next hard drive that will hold 4.0TB of storage (notebook 2" drives could reach 1TB capacity)... according to the article, this new hard drive could be reality by 2011. They will be introducing the new concept in Japan towards end of this month and apparently have a working prototype.

                      Technology is interesting isn't it?? By that same time when Hitachi introduces their 4TB hard drives, we will see at least 8 core processors at the same price as today's dual cores.. IBM already has 16 core processors in production and they are already talking about their next generation of processors with 64 cores... IBM's latest verbiage that is becoming new terminology in computing world called "Computing Parallelism". These guys at IBM R&D department took close to (10,000) 186 Intel processors and combined them all in parallel and run applications to prove that such "Parallelism" concept actually provides much faster performance than several processors being tied together in serial mode and this was close to 5 years ago...
                      http://www.cctvshowroom.com
                      http://www.everythingcctv.com

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                      • #12
                        thanks, you folks confirmed a lot of my same thoughts on this -- you're interested to know it's a decent drive, but the rest is fairly irrelevant in terms of components

                        Levon -- Seagate has some drives now that are combo/hybrid drives, using both a spinning disk and internal flash memory. These aren't used in DVRs, they're telling me, so just consumer devices now. I guess one of the challenges is to get those flash storage materials cheap enough for more widespread usage.

                        It's going to be a heck of a day when you can sell a video recorder for a mobile environment that doesn't have any moving parts and still has a huge storage capactity. I for one have seen a number of HDs fail over the years, but everyone of my flash/thumb drives is still ticking, even though I treat them terribly.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by SIW Editor View Post
                          thanks, you folks confirmed a lot of my same thoughts on this -- you're interested to know it's a decent drive, but the rest is fairly irrelevant in terms of components

                          Levon -- Seagate has some drives now that are combo/hybrid drives, using both a spinning disk and internal flash memory. These aren't used in DVRs, they're telling me, so just consumer devices now. I guess one of the challenges is to get those flash storage materials cheap enough for more widespread usage.

                          It's going to be a heck of a day when you can sell a video recorder for a mobile environment that doesn't have any moving parts and still has a huge storage capactity. I for one have seen a number of HDs fail over the years, but everyone of my flash/thumb drives is still ticking, even though I treat them terribly.
                          Wouldn't that be great to have flash technology based hard drives? There was a company few years ago that made a huge splash about their drives based on flash technology and 100GB drive pricing was suppose to have started around $20K... Funny part was that they never sold one nor had a prototype as industry called their bluff and they couldn't come up with anything... They basically made a lot of noise, signed a lot of contracts mainly with Movie Industry (that was their main claim) and could not produce any for sale...

                          Wouldn't also be great to have applications taking full advantage of latest dual core and quad core 64bit processors? Very few commercial applications do, but majority still work mainly with one of the cores (or thread) and using 32bit architecture...

                          I did not know that new technology from Seagate.. and thank you for that. It definitely could give us tremendous leverage to store all the OS and applications on the flus, yet still use the the remainder of hard drive for storage.. I am going to contact my rep with Seagate to get more info...
                          http://www.cctvshowroom.com
                          http://www.everythingcctv.com

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by CameraMan View Post
                            H.264 is the same thing as MPEG4, isn't it?
                            Yes & no. H.264 is MPEG4 Part 10.

                            There is also MPEG 4 Part 2, which didn't really offer much of a compression advantage over MPEG2.

                            So H.264 is MPEG4, but MPEG4 is not necessarily H.264.
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                            • #15
                              I've heard of the hybrid devices, and the insane LeClie devices that hate you if you breathe on them, or look at them wrong.

                              There was a drop in storage prices as Samsung created more and more flash memory chips. Problem was, there was some underhanded practices that the South Koreans are looking in on, and the price jumped back up. :|
                              Some Kind of Commando Leader

                              "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

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