Digital Sentry DS v7 VMS Release Examined

By John Honovich, Published Oct 21, 2010, 08:00pm EDT

In this note, we examine new features and restructured pricing for Pelco's Digital Sentry VMS software version 7. This updates our May 2010 test of DS 6.8.

The key new feature in this release is LDAP authentication / Active Directory integration providing enterprise account management for using the Digital Sentry system. This improves the usability of accessing multiple Digital Sentry servers/recorders. A plus is that LDAP is offered at no additional cost in the regular software package (i.e., no upgrades or premium version required). Two negatives are that (1) LDAP is the only way to provide enterprise account management (no internal enterprise account management is offered) and (2) the system still does not have enterprise configuration management (e.g., bulk configuration changes).

The pricing structure was significantly changed:

  • Software licensing prices for Pelco and non Pelco IP cameras are now the same (MSRP $196 per camera). Previously, non Pelco IP cameras had a significant higher price ($280 MSRP)
  • The base licensing charge of $1,120 is eliminated. 
  • The first 4 Pelco cameras used with DS v7 are provided for free. Previously, this was a promotion (DS4U). Now, it's a core part of the pricing/offering.

The two key positioning changes are (1) improved enterprise management and (2) more attractive 3rd party IP camera license pricing. This adds to their relatively ease to use client application for traditional security operators.

For small, simple projects, this will be an attractive solution for predominantly or totally Pelco projects. For instance, an 8 camera (all Pelco IP camera) job has an effective MSRP of $98 per camera (because of the first 4 free licenses). 

For mid size projects where simplicity of operator use and LDAP authentication / Active Directory integration is acceptable, the offering could be attractive to mid-level VMS offerings like Milestone Enterprise (whose pricing is notably higher)

Final note: Key limitations to factor in include third party IP camera and security system support remain limited, no redundancy, weak video analytic integration and no video distribution.

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