Surveillance Hard Drive Shoot-Out: WD And Seagate Square Off

Results: WD Surveillance Benchmark, Idle Time

As we stated earlier, WD considers each test case a pass if the idle time is greater than 20%. 

For this round of benchmarks, we considered three different cases. The first was 16 cameras running at 720p/30 FPS, adding up to slightly less than 6 Mb/s per stream in both directions for 16 cameras using H.264 compression. Only the WD Red was unable to keep up with the workload. And now we can start to see the difference WD's AllFrame technology brings to the table. While the Purple idled nearly half of the time, the Surveillance HDD was idle less than 30%. Surprisingly, the Savvio 15K.3 ended up in the middle of the pack. We reran the test multiple times, but recorded the same result.

The next test case was 16 cameras at 1080p/20 FPS. The lower frame rate was a limitation of WD's benchmark, and not a conscious decision on our part. This equals a per-stream bit rate of nearly 8 Mb/s. And we can already see the limitations of both surveillance-oriented drives. Only the enterprise disks were able to get above the 20% mark; WD's Re falls just short.

Finally, we expanded the first test case from 16 to 32 cameras, at which point all of the drives land under the pass/fail criteria. Seagate's Savvio put up a good fight, but was only idle 9% of the time.

This is, by far, the most strenuous test for these drives. Even though the bit rates aren't very high, the read/write cycles put a damper on their performance.

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  • CaptainTom
    Didn't even know these existed...
    0
  • coolestcarl
    Excellent article. I was doing research into building a custom surveillance system for our shop and this is exactly the kind of material that would help me make an informed decision.
    3
  • coolestcarl
    One thing that was unclear... obviously WD recommends no more than 8 in a system because of the lack of RAFF. I was wondering:
    Are there any demonstrable effects on performance of having these drives in a small external raid array (of perhaps 4 drives)?
    4
  • AndrewJacksonZA
    "As I noted earlier, those Seagate models are in there as a performance reference; they wouldn't normally compete in the same space as the Purple and Surveillance HDD."

    If you're going to wander into the USD1/GB+ territory, even just for informational purposes, please include an SSD in this mix to be fair. SSD performance/price just might validate people buying them for surveillance drives.

    Thank you.
    1
  • InvalidError
    I would have whacked a WD Black in there to see how all these specialty drives compare against a standard performance-oriented desktop drive.
    4
  • mapesdhs
    Quote:
    I would have whacked a WD Black in there to see how all these specialty drives compare against a standard performance-oriented desktop drive.


    Indeed, or any typical Enterprise SATA model (Hitachi HUS, Seagate ES2/NS, etc.)

    Come to think of it, given the consequences of not being able to identify a suspect or
    obtain other relevant visual information due to dropped data, as AndrewJacksonZA
    says it would be interesting to know how these drives compare to various high-capacity
    SSHDs/SSDs, eg. the Seagate 4TB ST4000DX001, Samsung 840 EVO 1TB (which includes
    AES), and (high-density option, power saving) the Samsung MZ-MTE1T0BW 1TB mSATA.
    The higher cost/GB of these products is surely more than worth it given the intended task.

    Ian.
    2
  • CaedenV
    Great article! I had no idea at just how huge the performance gap was between the cheap consumer drives and their more industrial cousins in the enterprise market. Have to say though; with enterprise SSDs starting to come down in price with such better specs, it is going to be difficult to justify enterprise hard drives that still cost $1+/GB. I think we are going to see SSD adoption grow like crazy in those enterprise markets the next few years, especially with drives starting to have 5-10 year warranties.

    Article idea: No offence to the writers at Tom's but this is the first interesting article I have read in a long time. Could we get some more articles like this? Maybe some articles comparing onboard Intel RAID with different popular card options? Or comparing how different drives perform in different RAID configurations and workloads? I get the feeling that these drives would perform quite differently as they are really made to work as a team rather than as solo drives.
    2
  • InvalidError
    Anonymous said:
    Come to think of it, given the consequences of not being able to identify a suspect or obtain other relevant visual information due to dropped data

    You would need one grossly under-engineered surveillance system for this to really be a problem since there is nothing happening 99% of the time and those drops would need to conveniently happen during the 1% of the time where you need data and your system administrator would need to have somehow failed to notice and fix the issues in-between events if they were so bad as to render the system unusable for its intended purpose.

    Most of the time though, surveillance recordings are merely a nice convenience in case something goes wrong but are not considered critical outside of casinos, banks and few other (very) high security applications that have their own IT departments or dedicated vendors working on their video archival needs and are unlikely to take their hardware recommendations from enthusiast sites like THG.

    I doubt any normal company would waste SSDs or 10k/12k/15k RPM HDDs on video surveillance storage. They would be more likely to use standard HDDs like WD Black / Red / Green / Blue.
    1
  • Amdlova
    seagate in enterprise sector is better than WD. i See these little boys working on a PC and DO such amazing job. Running windows and a old Surveillance card with 32 cameras and you can see the videos and edit at same time.
    0
  • drewriley
    Anonymous said:
    Come to think of it, given the consequences of not being able to identify a suspect or
    obtain other relevant visual information due to dropped data, as AndrewJacksonZA
    says it would be interesting to know how these drives compare to various high-capacity
    SSHDs/SSDs, eg. the Seagate 4TB ST4000DX001, Samsung 840 EVO 1TB (which includes
    AES), and (high-density option, power saving) the Samsung MZ-MTE1T0BW 1TB mSATA.
    The higher cost/GB of these products is surely more than worth it given the intended task.

    Ian.



    I really debated on whether to include SSDs in the evaluation. The problem is that because of $/GB and write endurance, it would only make sense to use them on a smaller scale setup, which is where their benefits (simultaneous high speed IO), are greatly reduced. Also, their performance would skew the graphs to the point where it would be hard to interpret the results of the HDDs.
    0
  • drewriley
    Anonymous said:
    I would have whacked a WD Black in there to see how all these specialty drives compare against a standard performance-oriented desktop drive.


    I would have like that also, but we only had access to so many drives, most of them SMB/enterprise.
    0
  • jardows
    Nice comparison. This makes me think about trying to build a system myself. Are there any good guides for building your own surveillance system using standard PC parts?
    0
  • Tuishimi
    Neat article. I bought a couple SV35s as my high capacity storage for my current build (512 GB SSD for the OS drive) and they perform quite acceptably as non surveillance drives as well (and are pretty cheap).
    1
  • mapesdhs
    Anonymous said:
    ... The problem is that because of $/GB and write endurance, ... Also, their performance would skew the graphs to the point where it would be hard to interpret the results of the HDDs.


    Have you seen that article on some other site which is testing SSDs to destruction? Going for 1PB+.
    In reality they perform much better than most people might assume, and that's just consumer SSDs.
    Enterprise SSDs wouldn't have that issue. As for cost, as I say given the intended task, I really doubt
    the cost would that much of an issue - this kind of hw setup is similar in importance to a backup
    solution: costly, but well worth the investment given the potential costs in the event of a major incident.
    Plus, the absolute costs of the drives isn't that much compared to all the other hw required, and the
    power savings will add up over time.

    hate to say it but given where the industry is going, including an SSD or two in the mix, both top-end
    consumer & pro, is exactly the data that relevant users really need. It's similar to the benefits for pro
    users of using pro cards: the advantages are usually worth the much higher GPU prices.

    Also note I mentioned hybrid drives aswell, not just SSDs.

    Ian.
    1
  • InvalidError
    Anonymous said:
    Also note I mentioned hybrid drives aswell, not just SSDs.

    Hybrid drives would be pointless for video surveillance since most of the footage is write-once-never-read.
    0
  • AndrewJacksonZA
    Anonymous said:
    ... The problem is that because of $/GB and write endurance, ... Also, their performance would skew the graphs to the point where it would be hard to interpret the results of the HDDs.
    Yes, the performance will skew the graphs, but the point is to show just how much better or worse an SSD might be over an HDD. If performance matters so much that an SSD would be beneficial in a system with many cameras, and the cost of one or two SSDs would be significantly less than the cost of, say, eight HDDs, then I would imagine that the differences should be highlighted. Perhaps Cost/GB and Cost/Performance figures and graphs would be helpful, or put a break on the x-axis on the graphs so that the HDD performance is still readable but the SSD performance is highlighted as well.


    Anonymous said:
    Have you seen that article on some other site which is testing SSDs to destruction? Going for 1PB+.
    Here's the article Ian:
    http://techreport.com/review/26523/the-ssd-endurance-experiment-casualties-on-the-way-to-a-petabyte
    It really surprised me!
    1
  • InvalidError
    Anonymous said:
    If performance matters so much that an SSD would be beneficial in a system with many cameras, and the cost of one or two SSDs would be significantly less than the cost of, say, eight HDDs, then I would imagine that the differences should be highlighted.

    Having more cameras may increase the total performance requirements but it also increases the total storage space requirements. At 1GB/h (2.2Mbps average) per camera on a 16 cameras setup, you already need around 400GB/day so you already need one $250 500GB SSD per day instead of one 3TB HDD per week.

    So, if you want to keep your footage for at least a week, getting one 4TB HDD for ~$200 per 16 cameras to simultaneously meet both storage and performance requirements makes a lot more sense to me than spending around $2000 on a 3TB SSD.
    0
  • Fedor
    Drew, do you know, or if not, would it be possible to find out, whether these drives have TLER? It would be very useful to know in case one wanted to use them in a RAID environment.
    0
  • mapesdhs
    Anonymous said:
    So, if you want to keep your footage for at least a week, getting one 4TB HDD for ~$200 per 16 cameras to simultaneously meet both storage and performance requirements makes a lot more sense to me than spending around $2000 on a 3TB SSD.


    That doesn't take all factors into account. If an SSD solution means much more reliable capture then the extra
    cost may well be regarded as a worthy investment.

    Ian.
    0
  • mapesdhs
    Anonymous said:
    Here's the article Ian:


    I think it was one of your posts elsewhere that had the link I originally followed, but thanks again anyway. :D

    Ian.
    0