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Edge storage – the myths you can stop believing

Rudie Opperman, Manager, Engineering & Training, Middle East & Africa, Axis Communications
Rudie Opperman, Manager, Engineering & Training, Middle East & Africa, Axis Communications

By: Rudie Opperman, Manager, Engineering & Training, Middle East & Africa, Axis Communications

As the use of IoT devices and other connected technologies continues to grow, edge storage has become an increasingly important part of modern video surveillance systems. Edge storage refers to the practice of storing data on local devices, such as cameras or sensors, at the edge of a network rather than in a centralised location. This allows for faster processing and analysis of data, reduced latency, and better overall performance.

However, there are still many myths and misconceptions surrounding edge storage that can lead to missed opportunities for organisations. And in the UAE, where surveillance systems are widely used in various industries, organisations must be aware of the latest advancements in edge storage and choose the right SD card to unlock better performance, durability, and functionality.

SD cards reimagined

Not all SD cards are created equal. The increasing demand for powerful and complete surveillance solutions at the edge of the network has necessitated a new generation of edge storage solutions. These solutions, in the form of SD cards optimised for surveillance, are designed to offer higher endurance, built-in encryption, and health monitoring features.

Despite this, there is still a misconception that any SD card will suffice, leading to organisations failing to take full advantage of their surveillance systems. With the greater complexity of modern devices, more advanced storage solutions are needed at the edge. So, let us set the record straight on the capabilities of this technology today.

Myth #1: Edge storage is only for backup

There is a popular misconception that edge storage is only useful for redundancy. However, this is no longer true. While edge storage can serve as a backup mechanism to increase system reliability, it has evolved to become a valid primary storage solution.

Edge storage, particularly SD cards, offers benefits beyond backing up video data. Many organisations are successfully using edge storage solutions as a primary storage option for capturing a much richer set of data, including metadata. For example, if you were connecting a radar device to a visual camera as part of a more “complete” edge solution outside a school, the radar could use an SD card to collect data, from monitoring how many vehicles are passing and how fast they are going to the directions they are heading. In this instance, the SD card offers vital primary storage.

Myth #2: Network video recorders (NVRs) last longer than SD cards

It used to be common knowledge that low-grade SD cards did not have the same lifespan as NVRs. The market now offers alternatives that are optimised for surveillance and designed to endure. These high-performing SD cards are the result of close collaboration between manufacturers and suppliers, with specifications and designs that ensure superior wear resistance and longevity. On average, cameras within surveillance systems need to be replaced every 8 to 10 years. Yet some higher endurance SD cards can last for more than 10 years. 

Myth #3: Edge storage can’t support high-quality video surveillance

Contrary to popular belief, high-resolution video can be recorded locally (and effectively) on high-performance SD cards – either as primary storage or for failover recordings in case of lost connections. And in scenarios with bandwidth limitations, live video can be viewed in low resolution while high-resolution video is recorded locally on the SD card.

Myth #4: SD cards are not a strategic purchase

It is a common misconception that SD cards are a necessary but unimportant component of surveillance systems. While it may have been true in the past, the evolution of edge storage technology now makes SD cards a strategic purchase that can provide a range of benefits and drive business value.

Cutting corners with substandard SD cards may seem like a cost-saving measure, but it can hinder optimal performance in the long run. Moreover, a hybrid cloud system that incorporates both server and edge storage options can result in significant cost savings. A hybrid system can strategically incorporate high-endurance SD cards to minimise the total cost of ownership by reducing the number of servers you need to buy, run, and maintain to support your surveillance system. Thus, even though high-endurance SD cards may have a higher initial cost than lower-endurance alternatives, their strategic deployment can drive significant cost savings in the long run.

The right choice for the right business needs

To make the most of high-endurance edge storage solutions, always think carefully about where it would be most beneficial to deploy them, and where it may make more sense to use recorders or servers. The optimal combination will depend on your unique circumstances and the business value you hope to achieve. But by choosing the right strategy and technology partner to assist, organisations will drive significant cost savings and reduce the maintenance burden associated with NVRs and servers.

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