Razberi M16 NVR Examined

By Ethan Ace, Published Jan 17, 2012, 07:00pm EST

A common concern for IP video systems is the need to simplify offerings for smaller systems and less technical users. Last year, GVI introduced an 'all in one' NVR called the Razberi that attempted to meet that need. However, that offering had limitations. Worse, later in the year, GVI went out of business. Now, with a new company led by former GVI managers launching, they are introducing an improved NVR called the Razberi MP series. In this update, we examine the new series and contrast to current NVR models from Exacq, Genetec, Vivotek, etc.

Product Overview

The Razberi M16 [link no longer available] is a single rack space NVR preloaded with Razberi's recording software, capable of supporting up to 24 IP cameras. This software supports auto-discovery and configuration when used with Razberi cameras, but also supports ONVIF-compliant cameras, and models from a short list of manufacturers, such as Sony, Axis, Arecont, and more. Client and server software updates are both included at no charge.

The M16 ships with up to 6 TB of storage on-board, and also supports directly-attached storage via eSATA, or recording to NAS. Camera resolutions up to 10MP are supported, and the M16 is capable of recording up to 720fps total at a resolution of 1080p, or 30fps across all 24 channels.

The most unique feature of the M16 is its on-board switching capabilities. The previous GVI model contained an 8-port PoE switch on board, which somewhat limited its appeal. The new model contains sixteen switch ports, twelve of which support 802.3af PoE, and four of which support 802.3at Hi-PoE. The M16 also contains two combo GbE/SFP uplink ports.

Competitive Comparison

An M16 with 2 TB of storage on board has an MSRP price of $4,435 USD. This is more competitive than the previous model's $4,800 MSRP by about $400, while adding eight more recording channels and switch ports, four of which support Hi-PoE. Razberi maintains a traditional security dealer discount structure, offering significant discounts off of MSRP pricing.

Since very few, if any, competitive products contain all the features of the Razberi NVR line, the best test of Razberi's competitive positioning is how well it competes with a COTS server with VMS licenses, along with associated switches. This comparison works out as follows for a typical 16-camera installation.

  • 16 x VMS License: $800 (assuming $50 low cost VMS licenses)
  • 1 x 1U Rack Mount Server: $1,000-2,000
  • 1 x 24-port PoE Switch: $500 (such as the Cisco SF300-24P)
  • Total: ~$2,300-3,300

After factoring in dealer discount and estimated street pricing, the cost of the M16 Razberi is close to the material cost of a DIY approach. Moreover, the Razberi offering reduces associated time and labor csots as only one part needs to be ordered, installed, and configured, and no software needs to be installed. The M16 also ships with 24 recording channels, which could naroow the gap by $400 or so if these channels are required. Lastly, most applications do not require Hi-PoE, so for this comparison we chose to use a standard 802.3af switch. If Hi-PoE is required, the Razberi is even more competitive.

Of all these elements, we find the most interesting aspect and the biggest difference is the built in switch that simplifies setup and delivers a cleaner install.

A handful of competitors offer pre-loaded appliances which also compete with the M16:

  • Vivotek NVRs: Vivotek offers two models of NVR with built-in PoE switch, in four and eight-port configurations. The main downside of these models is that they are only able to manage Vivotek cameras, greatly limiting selection. The eight-channel version of these of the Vivotek NVR can be found online for about $900
  • Genetec SV16: Genetec's SV16 is a compact form factor PC capable of recording up to 16 cameras or 32 Mbps of throughput. It is lower cost than the M16, but has lower throughput handling, and no on-board switch. MSRP for the SV16 starts at $1,540 with a 160 GB HDD. Camera licenses are sold separately.
  • Exacq EL Series: The Exacq EL series [link no longer available] is similar to the M16 in capacity: 16 or 24 cameras, depending on VMS version, capable of recording up to 10MP cameras, etc. However, while pricing is in the same range, it does not contain the built-in switching capability of the M16. The EL Series rack mount starts at about $2,000 online, not including licenses.

A number of factors should be noted when considering the Razberi:

  • The Razberi requires using the Razberi Auto-IP VMS software. If you do not like or cannot use it for an application, this is an issue. Note: an upcoming Milestone version is planned.
  • We have not tested the hardware and are not sure how well it works.
  • This creates a single point of failure. For a relatively young product offering, reliability and maturity of the hardware are key.

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