Examining Synology's Surveillance Station 5.0 NVR

By: John Honovich, Published on Oct 29, 2010

In this update we examine Synology, a NAS manufacturer targeting the SMB market. Synology offers an NVR application add-on to their NAS appliances named the Surveillance Station. We compare and contrast Synology to QNAP.

In October 2010, the company announced the release of the updated Surveillance Station 5.0 (previously 4.0), which adds new features and functionality. Pricing comparisons with competitor QNAP reveal Synology products are approximately 30% to 50% lower in price throughout the low (4-channel) to high (20-channel) capacity models.

Synology runs their Disk Station Manager (DSM) 3.0 NAS application and Surveillance Station 5.0 NVR application on purpose-built Linux-OS and hardware. A total of twelve (12) NVR bundles [link no longer available] are available in 4, 8, 12, and 20 IP camera counts, with 2 to 5 drive bays, and support for 700+ third party IP camera models. The price ranges from $289.99 for a 4-channel (drives not included) system to $1999.99 for a 20-channel NVR (5TB storage included). A rack-mount 20-channel is available for $2399.99. Pricing for each of the various bundles and further product details can be accessed on the Synology store web-site [link no longer available].

Key Features:

  • NVR bundles include IP camera licenses in cost
  • Each NVR bundle can be purchased with or without populated drive bays
  • 20 channel NVR bundles also available as rack-mountable units (RS810+ and RS810RP+)
  • Client access for live reviewing and other video management done through supported web-browsers (IE, Firefox, Safari and Opera)
  • Internet Explorer only browser supporting multi-camera views currently
  • No additional licenses (or cost) required for unlimited client access
  • Mobile clients available for iPhone and Android called DSCam (no cost)
  • ONVIF and PSIA Support

Synology's NVR product structure is similar to QNAP's. Both work atop Linux-OS NAS appliances and are targeted for smaller less complicated IP video systems deployments (QNAP has a 40-channel IP camera offering; Synology's highest capacity tops out at a 20-channel unit). Both NVR systems support a wide variety of IP cameras. (For background on QNAP see our report: QNAP NVRs Low-Cost IP Video Examined). Both competing offerings are relatively less robust in features compared to Enterprise class VMS systems. QNAP appears to have an edge in feature set and functionality over the even more limited Synology NVRs.

The following cost comparisons are adjusted to equalize camera channels and storage capacity.

Cost for a 4-channel Synology NVR with 2TB of storage is $499.99 on their web-site. The equivalent QNAP VS-2004 Pro NVR (4-channel/2TB) was found online for approximately $990. Note that QNAP also offers the NVR-104P or NVR-104V (4-channel/2TB) for approximately $710 online, but the unit only has 1 drive bay.

The QNAP VS-2012 Pro (12-channel/4TB) at $1599 is $400 more than the similarly equipped Synology 12-channel/4TB NVR bundle ($1199). Furthermore, the QNAP VS-6020 Pro (20-channel/6TB) NVR at $2875 is nearly $900 more than the equivalent Synology 20-channel/5TB system costing $1999.

QNAP offers more flexibility than Synology in drive bay counts. Synology NVRs are all two (2) bay units, except for their 20-channel offering coming equipped with 5 drive bays. QNAP four (4) bay units are available starting with their 8-channel NVRs and up to eight (8) drive bays start at their 24-channel NVR appliances. QNAP offers 24 total NVR systems versus Synology's offering of 12 NVR bundles.

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