4 Levels of CCTV Storage - How Much is Enough?

In recent years, many factors, including the alarming rate of crimes, have increased the need for Video surveillance systems such as CCTV cameras. This invariably resulted in a significant increase in the storage space required for surveillance storage devices. The obvious question confronting you is — How much storage is enough? 

The benefit of a CCTV camera is the ability to record videos and retrieve them when required as a piece of evidence. And this makes storage a key factor in assessing CCTV surveillance systems. 

Let’s get started with some fundamentals of good CCTV storage. Essentially, CCTV storage varies broadly between the range of 6GB and 6TB. While 6GB - 60GB works well in the case of motion-based and low-resolution cameras, those with recording at higher resolution require 600GB - 6TB. 

These ranges appear too broad, and the figures could seem dramatic, while there are several factors that affect the CCTV storage capacity.

Well, let’s delve into each of the scenarios and understand how they impact CCTV storage decisions.

Common Scenarios on Surveillance Storage

In the upcoming paragraphs, you will find some common cases discussed with the CCTV storage capacity required.

6GB - Low Resolution/ Motion Only

With 6GB of storage per camera, you have fewer options, such as you can only stream 80kb/s for 1 week. So the only best way of using the 6GB optimally for about a month is by exclusively using it to record motion-based scenes with moderate activity.

Consider storing in DVRs and NVRs; you can store more than 6GB per camera at optimum cost. Say you use 16 cameras of 6GB each, it comes close to 100GB, which is much lower compared to that of hard drives. Most users prefer using higher-resolution or storage for longer periods, as compared to the limited options in 6GB.

60GB - SD Resolution/ Frame Rate and Moderate Duration

60GB offers the most widely used option in terms of present-day video surveillance storage. It lets you record quality videos for a while, besides keeping your costs in control. Take the example of using 16 cameras at 60GB each which brings it to nearly 1 TB resonating with hard drives.

In contrast to 6GB storage, you can use the motion-based recording in 60GB for several months and continuous recording for SD resolution for 1-2 weeks. Furthermore, if you increase the bandwidth, say up to 240GB, you can record continuously for at least a month.

Thus, 60GB enables you to use CCTV cameras using internal storage on DVRs or NVRs conveniently.

600GB - H.264 Megapixel/Moderate Duration

The step ahead in the storage realm is the use of H.264 Megapixel cameras. For example, a standard definition H.264 CCTV camera may use up to 1000 kb/s while a 1080p camera would require nearly 8 times that storage.

While you can use 600GB in the case of a 1080p camera for streaming 2Mb/s for a month, with motion-based recording, the 600GB storage goes for multiple months!

If you plan to use 600GB per camera, consider using 16 cameras each at this storage, it leads to 10 TB.

At a level of 10TB, storage clusters offer the best option.

6 TB - MJPEG Megapixel/Moderate Duration or H.264 Megapixel/Longer Duration

You face the actual storage problem when dealing with MJPEG Megapixel cameras. Consider using SD cameras; you have 2 years before you touch 6TB. On the flip side, with MJPEG Megapixel cameras, you reach 6TB in about a month!

Projecting these facts and figures, you will be spending thousands of dollars on your CCTV storage devices!

At 6TB, storage clusters seem the most viable option. You need to take a call on the video surveillance-specific clusters you plan to use. 

Estimating the future storage space

The final scenario creates anxiety among users worldwide as if each camera required 6TB, which could result in serious issues with DVRs, camera choices, budgets, and other factors.

However, technology is advancing and offers other options, such as HD storage which is increasing - keeping a storage crisis away! 

Closing thoughts

With the increasing use of surveillance systems, the CCTV storage capacity is a growing concern for businesses and users alike. The present CCTV storage per camera is 60-240 GB. However, with the increase in megapixels and usage, the required storage is expected to grow further. That said, innovative options will emerge before we approach a real storage crisis.

We offer niche solutions like Storage Capacity Estimator to help you tackle the storage issues. Click here for more info.