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Storage Advice for Police Departments

Solutions should take data storage, ingest time and access capabilities into account

As more police departments adopt advanced surveillance camera technologies, many are having sticker shock from the high cost of storing video data. Just one on-body camera alone can produce as much as 18 GB of video data per shift, or 1 TB annually. That’s a lot of data to store long-term, which has some departments switching off their cameras until they anticipate contact with people. But there are several factors beyond cost to keep in mind when planning for the storage infrastructure needed to support an on-body camera program:

Ease of access to data and information sharing required by local/state law

The goal should be to have a storage solution that appears to the end user like a giant C drive or a single file system. On the backend, retention and access policies can be set to handle data migration and simplify organization and file recall. Sending video data to various tiers enables greater accessibility in the event that footage stored off-site becomes unavailable.

Flexibility to take on more capacity as programs evolve

The ability to seamlessly integrate more sources of information into modern analytical tools is becoming more important, as is the capacity to scale and accommodate increased camera and sensor counts, wider “field of view” coverage, and higher image resolution.

Planning for information analysis and collaboration

A storage solution needs to take into account not only how much data can be stored on various tiers but also how quickly it can ingest video data from various cameras — on-body, dashboard, sally port, interview rooms, etc. — and respond to public inquires for access to law enforcement video. Having the bandwidth to ingest, share, access and integrate various audio and video feeds is vital to public safety as complete case records can be stored on a single system.

Consider a tiered approach to storage

Using a typical cloud-based storage solution with on-body cameras can cost approximately $1000/officer/year. With 1500 officers, storage will cost $3 million over two years. A tiered storage approach that incorporates a mix of high performance disk, high capacity disk, file-based tape and cloud at around $213 per officer, and saving approximately 80% of that cost.

Wayne Arvidson is Quantum’s vice president of surveillance and security solutions. A marketing, product management and business development executive, Wayne has 25 years senior management experience in companies ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 firms, and drives Quantum’s strategy in the surveillance and security market.