Software Only VMS Vs NVR Appliances

Author: John Honovich, Published on Jul 04, 2012

One of the most fundamental decisions in IP video surveillance is: Should you buy your own PC/server and load VMS software on it or get a turnkey appliance (both hardware and software, e.g., NVR, Hybrid DVR) from a VMS/NVR manufacturer?

While many feel strongly in both directions, both approaches have advantages depending on the scale of the system and the expertise of the deploying organizations. For what is most used in the field and why, read our VMS/NVR deployment survey results. In this report, we will examine the main drivers for both options.

Here are the key advantages of appliances:

  • Less time to setup
  • Less knowledge required
  • Lower cost labor
  • Simpler troubleshooting
  • No annual software costs
  • Simpler for analog / migrated systems
  • Simpler for small camera count deployments

By contrast, here are the key advantages of Software Only

  • Pick your own hardware
  • More flexibility to scale hardware / software
  • VMS not locked to hardware
  • Lower cost for hardware
  • Best option for many top tier vendors
  • More effective for large camera count deployments

Inside, we explain and detail each advantage.

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Simpler *** ****** / ******** *******

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Simpler *** ***** ****** ***** ***********

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  • VMS ****** ********** - Often the VMS decision is made based on key feature sets of a manufacturer (usability, scalability, 3******* ***********, ***.). **** **** ***** ***** * ******** *** software **** ** ********** ** **** ************* *** ******** ** one **** *******.
  • End **** ************ - Some end users require all computers be from a specific preferred vendor. That noted, there is typically some grey area here as routers and firewalls are computers but they are generally deployed as appliances.
  • IT ***** / ******** - The greater one's IT skill and interest in using those skills are, the more likely VMS software should be used.
  • Cameras *** **** - The lower the cameras at a given site, the more likely appliances make sense and vice versa. Even if you have lots of IT skills, with only a few cameras per site, the cost and headache of doing it yourself really adds up.
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