You can insert a compatible hard drive (HDD) in multiple UniFi products, such as the UniFi Dream Machine Pro (UDM-Pro), UniFi Protect Network Video Recorder (UNVR), and Cloud Key Gen2 Plus(CK-GEN2-PLUS).
This article describes how to determine if your HDD is compatible with these UniFi products, how to install an HDD in an UniFi device, and how to swap HDDs.
Note: If you have questions about a particular hard drive or need help choosing a hard drive, please reach out to the Ubiquiti Community members for insights and recommendations.
- Use of hard drives in UniFi devices
- HDD compatibility requirements for UniFi devices
- Inserting, formatting, and swapping HDDs
- Corrupted or failed HDDs
- Monitoring the remaining space on an HDD
Use of hard drives in UniFi devices
Neither UniFi Access nor Protect deployments require a hard drive to operate, but their overall functionality may be limited without one installed.
UniFi Protect requires an HDD to record footage on your device. Your cameras, however, will still capture live video and you will still be able to review their streams without an HDD.
Similarly, UniFi Access requires an HDD to record entry footage captured by UA-Pro devices. However, your UA-Pro will still function as a regular door access mechanism without an HDD installed.
UniFi Talk requires an HDD to store call recordings and voicemails. However, your UniFi Talk Controller will still function normally without an HDD installed.
HDD compatibility and storage requirements for UniFi devices
Most SATA HDDs should be compatible with Protect NVRs, as long as they:
- Fit the NVR's HDD tray (2.5” for the CK-G2-PLUS, 2.5, or 3.5” for the UDM-Pro and UNVR).
- Are designed for continuous load or marketed as NAS or surveillance-grade.
- Offer at least 128 GB of storage.
If you're using multiple HDDs with your UniFi device, they must all be the same size.
Minimum and maximum storage capacity requirements
The minimum storage requirement for a single HDD is 128 GB.
Ubiquiti has tested and verified HDDs containing up to 16 TB of storage. Please note, though, that no maximum storage threshold has been confirmed for any controller or HDD model.
When choosing a hard drive for your UniFi Protect deployment, consider your recording needs. Your recording capacity will alter based on your HDD's storage and the camera resolution settings you select in your UniFi Protect Controller.
For example, here is the recording capacity for a 1TB HDD, assuming normal quality settings:
- 9 days of 4K video recording
- 20 days of HD (1080p) video recording
Note: Recording capacity can also fluctuate due to other factors such as custom camera settings, on-screen motion, etc.
For more information on how camera quantity and image settings affect the recording capacity of a typical UNVR setup, see the UNVR product page.
Inserting, formatting, and swapping HDDs
Inserting an HDD into an UniFi device
When the device is powered off, safely insert all your 2.5 and 3.5” hard drives.
For a more detailed, visual walkthrough of the installation process, please check your UniFi device’s Quick Start Guide.
Formatting an HDD (UNVR and UNVR-Pro only)
Regardless of whether or not your HDD has been formatted with the right RAID configuration, your controller host device will format it to the appropriate configuration.
Raid formatting is the process in which your HDDs are split logically to prepare for redundant data distribution. If a specific partition or the entire HDD fails, its data will still be recoverable since it’s been distributed across other hard drives.
Your controller will automatically set a RAID configuration based on the number of hard drives installed:
- RAID1 will be set for devices with 2 HDDs or less.
- RAID5 will be set for devices with 3 HDDs or more.
RAID0 configuration is not possible for any controller at the moment.
Note: HDDs will not be usable during the raid formatting process.
Swapping an HDD in an UniFi device
You can swap the HDD(s) of two UniFi controllers and still retain each drive’s recorded footage.
Swap the HDD(s) of two controllers:
- Turn off both controller devices.
- Pull out the HDD(s) from your current controller and insert them into your new one.
- Boot up your new controller once the HDD(s) are correctly installed.
Note: If you remove an HDD from a controller device with pre-existing data and insert it into a UNVR with HDDs that are already in use and recording footage, the UNVR will reformat the newly inserted HDD and your pre-existing data will be lost.
Corrupted or failed HDDs
Currently, there is no way for UniFi to recover information from corrupted or failed HDDs.
If there is a corrupted or failed HDD in your UDM-Pro or CK-G2-PLUS:
- Turn off your controller device.
- Replace the corrupted or failed HDD with a functional storage drive.
- Reboot the controller device.
Note: The controller will automatically configure your HDD and begin storing data.
If there is a corrupted or failed HDD in your UNVR, you can swap that HDD out while the controller is still running. The controller will repair the stored files after a healthy drive is installed. The controller will automatically configure your HDD and begin storing data.
Important: Do not pull out more than one disk at a time.
Monitoring an HDD’s remaining space
To check the remaining capacity of your HDD(s) and your controller's internal storage, go to the General tab on your controller.
If a hard drive runs out of space, its oldest recordings will be automatically deleted to create space for new ones.