ImagePerfect: How SkyHawk Handles 64 HD Video Streams in Your Security System

Using standard PC hard drives in your surveillance system? Pixelized resolution and dropped images mean sometimes you’re flying blind. And it’s what your drives aren’t recording that poses the biggest threat to your business.

That’s why we designed SkyHawk as a hard drive platform specifically to solve the special issues faced when capturing security video. Seagate invented the first drives made just for this purpose over a dozen years ago, and our advances continue to outpace the rest of the industry.

The Seagate SkyHawk surveillance hard drive uses our ImagePerfect firmware to ensure crystal clear HD video and zero dropped frames. It features a larger cache memory to buffer HD video with zero frame loss. It’s also optimized for 24/7 write-intensive workloads — such as surveillance. Powerful error correction and data recovery algorithms help prevent dropped frames. Even when recording up to 64 video streams. And high-speed on-the-fly error correction prevents freeze frames during live playback.

Check out our amusing parking lot security video and get a quick summary of ImagePerfect:

What is ImagePerfect — and why is it important?

Now we know SkyHawk’s ImagePerfect firmware allows for high image integrity and up to 64 HD video streams. And it’s intelligent firmware algorithm reduces data errors, allows for perfect images to be stored without pixelization, and prevents critical frame loss during multiple stream recordings.

So, what are the technologies that make ImagePerfect so … perfect? Let’s look at several crucial advances that make SkyHawk the best drive for surveillance applications:

  • Higher Streaming With Zero Frame Lost Performance with ATA-8 Streaming Command Set Support
  • Optimized for 24×7 Write Intensive Workload
  • Supports Larger Cache Memory
  • Built In Powerful Error Correction Code
  • Predictable and Low Command Completion Time
  • AcuTrac® Technology — for Robustness to External Disturbance
  • RV Sensors Detect Vibration

Let’s dig into ImagePerfect’s tech features

Higher Streaming With Zero Frame Lost Performance

ImagePerfect utilizes the industry’s most advanced standard, the ATA-8 Streaming command set, to allow a host system to request delivery of data within an allotted time; it places a priority on a time to transfer the data, rather than the integrity of the data. In addition, the ATA-8 Streaming command set is optimized to handle large sequential block transfers, which are typically found in video files.

Optimized for 24×7 Write Intensive Workload

A surveillance system can be write intensive, writing data up to 90% of the time. To support such a workload, ImagePerfect is tuned for multiple seamless video recording environments with the highest throughput performance. Besides helping to ensure the highest level of video integrity during recording, ImagePerfect also enables real-time big data analytics.

Supports Larger Cache Memory

ImagePerfect firmware supports larger cache memory that enables better caching and buffering for a higher number of video streams. A larger cache size will also help optimize the Write performance by sequencing data written to the HDD media. As a result, there are fewer physical read/write head movements between data streams when writing or reading data to, and from, the hard drive’s media. Together this also provides higher long-term reliability.

ImagePerfect Supports Larger Cache Memory

Built In Powerful Error Correction Code

Powerful error correction and data recovery algorithms are built in to ImagePerfect, providing the highest assurance against video frame losses while intensive multiple video streams are recording. Its high speed on-the-fly error correction coding also helps to ensure no video freeze frames during live playback. These significantly reduce the chances of unrecoverable data error or video intermission in surveillance applications.

Predictable and Low Command Completion Time

Internal and background operations of SkyHawk HDDs with ImagePerfect are interruptible and scheduled in such a way that they do not hold up any requests from the host system. Command completion times (CCT) are kept low to minimize any host buffer overruns or underruns. This helps to ensure that no video frames are lost during recordings, and that video frames do not freeze during playback, respectively.

Robustness to External Disturbance, with AcuTrac® Technology

ImagePerfect Offers Robustness to External Disturbance, with AcuTrac® TechnologyUnder extreme vibration conditions present in a multi-bay surveillance system, any drive in the system must be able to tolerate vibration caused by other drives and chassis fan(s). Vibration from a neighboring HDD or chassis fan can negatively impact individual drive performance, resulting in overall system performance degradation. In a mild vibration condition, a standard PC hard drive may simply degrade in performance. However, in an extreme vibration condition, a standard PC drive may stop functioning altogether as the servo system cannot lock on a data track.

AcuTrac allows the SkyHawk hard drive to function even under an extreme vibration condition, with minimal performance degradation. The HDD is designed for dual-stage actuation with a VCM and PZT microactuator. While the primary VCM actuator is responsible for fast track-to-track movement, the PZT microactuator is a secondary actuator responsible for inner-track movements in the servo system.

Both VCM and PZT loops work together enabling the servo system to react quickly to any vibration to keep it performing optimally.

SkyHawk dual actuation with VCM and PZT microactuators

RV Sensors Detect Vibration

Rotational Vibration (RV) sensors are on board Seagate SkyHawk to detect vibration about an axis which can affect servo tracking capability and overall drive performance. RV sensors provide the signal for the dual-stage actuation; the signal will be processed by the advanced servo control system, which will construct two feed-forward control efforts to both VCM and PZT microactuator loops. This will then suppress the vibration-induced head off-track motion, sustaining good tracking.

SkyHawk with ImagePerfect — RV Sensors Detect Vibration

Now you know what makes SkyHawk so vigilant, and why ImagePerfect is important for your video security system. Dropping frames means dropping your guard. Footage that’s clearer and more complete means you can identify problems — and step on them before they get out of control.

ImagePerfect firmware helps make Seagate SkyHawk surveillance drives “Safe, Smart, Secure.”

If you’d like to share these tech details with your business partners, clients and customers, you can download our technology paper here.


About the Author:

Jessica Burton
Jessica Burton is a global product marketing manager at Seagate.