Enterprise Hard Drives versus AV/Surveillance Hard Drives

With higher reliability and performance specifications produced by superior components and a fundamentally different design, enterprise class drives are the workhorses of digital storage. In video surveillance applications, enterprise drives are not always needed, but when they are, no other drive type can replace them.


  1. Enterprise drives are designed for RAID technology.
    AV/Surveillance drives can typically handle RAID 0 or RAID 1 applications, as long as the drive count per system does not create excessive vibration or heat. Enterprise drives are designed for all RAID levels, including 5 and above. This type of RAID increases the workload for the drive, which would increase the failure rate in drives not designed for this use.
  2. Enterprise drives have a fixed shaft motor.
    • In high density, rack mounted chassis’, the heat load requires high speed fans. This means high frequency vibrations, which can cause the drives the read/write heads to go off-track. This can be addressed by using features such as a fixed shaft motor, which combats this source of external energy.
  3. Enterprise drives are more reliable.
    • AV/Surveillance drives have a reliability specification of 1M hours MTBF
    • Enterprise Class drives have a reliability specification of 1.2M hours MTBF (typically – can be higher in some cases)
  4. Correctly Tuned Firmware (the operating system inside the drive)
    • AV/Surveillance drives have firmware that is set up specifically for handing video (and audio) steaming (recording or playback)
    • Enterprise drives have firmware that is set up for RAID storage (many drives in one system) and server use
  5. Special Features
    • All Enterprise drives include specialized components that provide more tolerance to rotational vibration, which occurs most in multi-drive systems. Some AV/Surveillance drives are now starting to incorporate some of these features, but their tolerance to RV is still lower than all Enterprise hard drives
  6. Longer Warranty
    • AV/Surveillance drives carry up to a 3 year warranty, while Enterprise drives carry up to a 5 year warranty
  7. Workload Tolerance
    • Not all drive makers rate their drives for tolerance to workload, but for those that do, the Enterprise drives will typically tolerate 3 to 5 times more workload than AV/Surveillance drives

When does a system really need the enhanced capabilities of a true Enterprise Class drive? Trust the drive experts at HDSTOR to help you determine this.