How to Choose the Best Hard Drive for Surveillance

Learn how to choose the best surveillance hard drive. Consider capacity, reliability, and key features for seamless video storage and monitoring.

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Even if you have a data storage solution in place, surveillance systems can quickly cause your organization to outgrow its current infrastructure. Beyond the sheer volume of storage space required for video and audio, surveillance technologies also pose new challenges related to processing raw data, reliability, and durability over time.

Surveillance systems also need storage that can be easily deployed and integrated into an existing storage infrastructure, as well as hardware that offers room to grow as surveillance assets and archives increase over time. With these unique challenges and needs in mind, here are some expert insights to help organizations identify the best surveillance hard drives for their storage needs.

Why Dedicated Drives Are Crucial in Video Surveillance

The global video surveillance market is booming. Analysts expect the global market for video surveillance to grow by more than twelve percent each year between now and 2030.

The market’s rapid growth is reshaping how organizations think about their existing data storage systems. Video requires far more storage space than other types of data, and video footage from security systems often needs to be archived for weeks or months.

Due to the volume of this information, as well as its archival and availability needs, businesses often conclude that dedicated drive space is the most cost-effective and reliable storage option.

Are Typical Hard Drives Right for Surveillance Purposes?

Specialized surveillance hard drives offer various features tailored for applications like video imaging. These purpose-built drives boast enhanced capacities when compared to regular hard drives. Surveillance hard drives are optimized for seamless integration into surveillance systems, ensuring robust performance and reliability.

Additionally, they come equipped with enterprise-grade functionalities like built-in encryption, self-healing technology, and support for high-write workloads, which is essential for the continuous storage and protection of surveillance footage. By leveraging specialized drives, businesses can confidently address the unique demands of CCTV surveillance, safeguarding data integrity and operational continuity without compromise.

What to Look for When Choosing the Best Surveillance Hard Drive

The best way to choose a security camera system hard drive is to evaluate the hardware’s technical specifications, which will have an impact on your storage performance over time. You should carefully check these specs to make sure the hard drive will suit your storage demands, even if it’s enterprise-grade hardware.

Here are the most important criteria to keep in mind when choosing surveillance hard drives:

Storage Capacity and Requirements

High-capacity hard drives can offer more cost-efficient storage and a lower risk of hardware malfunction. A single hard drive of this type can offer up to 8TB of storage, which can accommodate more than two months of continuous video recording from a single surveillance system.

You should also consider the benefits of on–premises, private cloud, or a combination of storage locations and solutions. Private cloud may be a great choice for storing archival footage that needs to be retained, while on-premises storage could be useful in situations where you need fast or real-time access to live video.

Drives Optimized for Surveillance Workloads

Surveillance hard drives are designed to support the intense workloads required when storing and retrieving data. When the storage system is engaged, the heavy workload of surveillance video can require a significant amount of power, which can in turn produce a dangerously high temperature in certain typical hard drives.

Seek out hard drives that offer robust power management capabilities, including energy-conserving features, to lower power consumption, reduce heat generation, and minimize the risk of a hardware failure.

Reliability, Durability, and 24/7 Operation

When hard disk drives are purpose-built for surveillance video and other specialized use cases, they’re equipped to handle heavy workloads while providing better availability and reliability.

Self-healing technology, fewer moving parts, and built-in power management improve durability and reliability, even when these drives are operating around the clock.

Advanced Features for Video Streaming

High-capacity, power-efficient hard drives can support multiple video streams simultaneously. These drives can also handle higher resolution video capture rates and frame resolution if increased image quality is needed.

Good Warranties and Tech Support

Reliable warranties and tech support protect your hard drive purchase and lower the hardware’s total cost of ownership. The right hard drive solutions provider will offer these safeguards to ensure your surveillance storage solution meets your organization’s needs now and in the future.

How to Calculate Storage Needs for Surveillance

If you’re new to surveillance video storage, you’re probably not familiar with the fairly straightforward calculations used to estimate your needs.

To calculate your required storage capacity, first determine the following:

  • Number of security system cameras generating surveillance video
  • Frames per second of your average video surveillance recording
  • Total hours per day you’ll be storing surveillance video
  • Total number of days to keep archival footage in your system
  • Video resolution
  • Compression standard of your storage system

You’ll also need to decide if you prefer low, medium, or high-quality video, as that will affect your storage needs. By plugging all these data points into the Surveillance Storage Calculator you will be able to calculate how much storage you need.

If you’re still trying to decide between different compression standards, different types of video quality, the number of security cameras used or other factors, you can input different data points to see how your storage capacity needs would be affected.

Seagate Surveillance Hard Drives

Given the unique technical specifications required for surveillance drives, every business creating a video storage solution must invest in hardware that can provide the higher performance modern enterprises demand. Seagate offers a number of specialized surveillance hard drives suited for surveillance-class storage solutions.


Seagate SkyHawk™ Surveillance Drives offer an impressive storage capacity of up to 8TB, making them an ideal choice for surveillance video systems. Specifically designed to meet the demands of surveillance applications, these drives support up to 64 HD cameras, ensuring seamless scalability for expanding networks. With a robust three-year warranty and an impressive workload rate of up to 180TB, SkyHawk drives provide peace of mind for long-term reliability and performance.

Furthermore, SkyHawk drives incorporate ImagePerfect™ firmware, which guarantees high image integrity and video quality even when handling large volumes of video data. This ensures critical footage is captured and stored accurately without compromising clarity or detail.

In addition to their impressive technical specifications, SkyHawk drives prioritize efficiency and quiet operation. SkyHawk Health Management actively monitors and manages power consumption and heat generation, preventing overheating and mitigating the risk of hardware failures. This proactive approach to drive health ensures consistent, reliable performance over time, contributing to the overall stability and longevity of surveillance systems.

SkyHawk AI

Harness the full potential of your surveillance system with Seagate SkyHawk AI hard drives. Engineered specifically for the demands of video analytics, imaging applications, and AI-powered tools, SkyHawk AI offers unparalleled performance and reliability. Unlike conventional storage solutions, SkyHawk AI is optimized for deep learning capabilities, providing businesses with the advanced technology needed to extract more value from their surveillance video.

Key Specifications:

  • Storage Capacity: Offers up to 24TB of storage, ensuring ample space for critical video data and AI workloads
  • Camera Support: Supports up to 64 HD cameras, making it ideal for extensive surveillance setups
  • Durability: Comes with a five-year warranty, guaranteeing long-term reliability and peace of mind
  • Workload Rate: Handles a workload rate of up to 550TB per year, ensuring durability under high data writing scenarios

By integrating SkyHawk AI into your surveillance system, you can leverage its robust capabilities to enhance security, improve operational efficiency, and unlock new insights through advanced video analytics. For more detailed information, visit the Seagate SkyHawk AI product page.

Exos Drives

Invest in enterprise-grade storage that maximizes physical storage space while prioritizing storage density, low power consumption, and surveillance footage integrity. The wide range of Seagate Exos® enterprise-grade hard drives are designed to meet the high-performance standards required by enterprise organizations. Advanced features ensure Exos storage delivers the consistency and efficiency your business needs when storing video at scale.

Seagate Mozaic 3+™ drives—leveraging HAMR technology—offer unprecedented areal densities and capacity (30TB+), which is ideal for surveillance systems needing vast, efficient storage. With reduced power consumption and compatibility with existing infrastructure, they stand as a sustainable, high-capacity surveillance storage solution.

Along with Exos and SkyHawk physical storage, Seagate Lyve™ Cloud can be deployed to harness hybrid cloud environment benefits for your surveillance storage system, especially when designing your solution to conform to the recommended 3-2-1 backup strategy.

Top Tier Solutions for Your Surveillance Systems

Custom-build a surveillance storage solution that meets all your existing storage needs while giving your business room to grow. A Seagate expert can help you explore all your storage solution options to be sure the system’s overall design checks all your required boxes

Take the next step in building the best surveillance hard drive solution for your business and talk to a Seagate expert today!