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.

*** ** *** **** *********** ********* ** ** ***** ************ is: ****** *** *** **** *** **/****** *** **** *** software ** ** ** *** * ******* ********* (**** ******** and ********, *.*., ***, ****** ***) **** * ***/*** ************?

***** **** **** ******** ** **** **********, **** ********** **** advantages ********* ** *** ***** ** *** ****** *** *** expertise ** *** ********* *************. *** **** ** **** **** in *** ***** *** ***, **** ******/*** ********** ****** *******. ** **** ******, ** **** ******* *** **** ******* for **** *******.

**** *** *** *** ********** ** **********:

  • **** **** ** *****
  • **** ********* ********
  • ***** **** *****
  • ******* ***************
  • ** ****** ******** *****
  • ******* *** ****** / ******** *******
  • ******* *** ***** ****** ***** ***********

** ********, **** *** *** *** ********** ** ******** ****

  • **** **** *** ********
  • **** *********** ** ***** ******** / ********
  • *** *** ****** ** ********
  • ***** **** *** ********
  • **** ****** *** **** *** **** *******
  • **** ********* *** ***** ****** ***** ***********

******, ** ******* *** ****** **** *********.

[***************]

********** ** **********

Less **** ** *****

***** ******** ** ***-****** ** **********, *** ******** ****** ********** the ********* ******, *** ******** *********** ******, ******** ********** ********, etc. **** *** **** * *** ***** *** ********* *** errors **** ********** ** ****.

Less ********* ********

***** ********** *** ********* ***** ********** ** ****** ***** ***** turning **** **, ** ********** *** **** ** **** *** to ***** * **/****** *** ******* * ********/*** ***********. *** some *************, **** ***** ** ********* ** ******* *** ***** no *********, *******, *** ******, **** *** ***** **** ** do *********** **** **** ******* ***********.

Lower **** *****

***** ** ***** **** **** *** **** ********* ** *****, using ********** ********* ******* ** ***** **** ***** **** ******* up *** ********. **** ** ********* * *** ***** ***** and *** **** * *** ******* *******, ********* ** *** skills *** ******* ** *** ********.

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

***** *** ************ ******** *** ******** *** ***-****** *** ********, they **** **** **** ******* *** ****** ************* ** **** might ** ***** *** *** ** ************ **. ** ** much ****** *** *** ************ ** ************ ******** ****** ** 3******* ******** ** ***** *** **** **** **** ********* - e.g., *** * ********* ********* ****** ****? *** *** ******** loaded ** * ********* ********? *** ********** ************ **** ***** that ***** ******** **** *** ***? ** *** ******** ************** - ***, ******, ***, *******, ***.? ** ***** ****** ****** in **** **** *** **** ****** ***, ** *** ***** case, ** *** ****** ** ****** ******** *** ***** ***** passed **** ** ** **** ********'* ******.

*** ****** ******* **** ********** ******** *** ******** ********** ** that ** *** ****** ** ****** *** ************* *********** *** troubleshooting *** ************ ******. *** **/****** ******** *** **** ** one ***** ***** *** ********/*********** ***** ** *******. **** *** increase ********** *** ***** ****** ** ********* ******** ******** ** an *********.

No ****** ******** *****

****, *** *** *** ******** **** *********, ****** ****** ***** for *********** / ********* ***** ********. ***** ***** *** ****** the ******* ******* **** **** * * **** ****** (*.*, pay $*** *** * ****** ******* ******* **** ******* $***-$*** over *** **** *** *****). ** ********, ********* ********* ********* do *** ****** ****** **** ***, *****, **** **** ******** upgrades.

******** **** ********* ***** ***** **** ***** ****** **** ****** in **** **** ******* ************* **** ********** **. ********* **** is **** *** *** ******. **** ***** ****** ** ********* considered ** *** ***** ********* *** ** ***********.

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

**** ********* ****** ******* ** ** *******, ********** ***** *** simple ********** **** ******* ***** ** *** ***** *** ******** analog ***** *** ***-********* **** *** *********. ** ********, ******** only ****** ********* ******* ********** ******** ******** **** **** ****, complexity ** *****.

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

*** **** *** ******* ** *** ******** ** ****** ********, whether *** ******* ** ******** * ** ** *******. ** might **** * ***** ** *** ** * ******* ********* 4 ******* *** ******* * *** *** ********* ** *******. However, *** **** ** *** ** ** * ********** ** the ***** *** ** **** ****** ** *** * ****** deployment. ** ****, ********** *** ************ ********** *** ***** **** small *******. *** ********, **** ** * **** *** **** cameras *** **** **** ***** ****** *** *********, ********** ***** provide * *********** ********* ** ** ***** ********* ******* ** 250 ********.

********** ** ******** ****

** *** ***** ****, **** ******* ***** *** ********** ** use ******** ****. **** *** *** **** ****** ****:

Pick **** *** ********

**** **********, *** **** ** *** *** ************'* ********. *** common ******** ***** ****:

  • **** ************ *** ************ ***** * ******* ******** (*.*., ****, HP, ***.) *** *** **** ********* ***** *** ********* ******** with **** ************. ** ********* ****** **** * ********* ******** falls ******* **** ******* *** *** ** ******* *** ***** or ***** ********** ******.
  • *** ****** ******* ******** ************** ** ********* ******* *** *** not *********** **** ********* *** ********* ********. **** ** ********* only ** ***** *** ******** ********* *****.

****** ***, *** ******* ** **** **** *** ******** ** one ** *** **** ****** ******* ** *** *** **********.

More *********** ** ***** ******** / ********

********** ********* **** *** ******* ** * ******* ** ************** and ***** **** ************ ** *** **** *** ** ********. By ********, ** ***** ******** ****, *** *** ****** ** add ********** ** ******** ** *** ******. ** ******, **** assumes *** **** *** ********* ****** ** ** ** *** for ***** **** **; **** *** **** ** ****** ** scale *** ************ ****** **** **** *******, ****** **********, ****** storage, ***.

VMS *** ****** ** ********

*********, ** *** **** ** ********* *** **** ** ******* or ******* *** ********, *** **** **** ** *** * whole *** *********, ***** *** ** ************* **** ********* **** just ****** * *** ******** *** **-******* *** *** ********. For ********, ** ********* *** **** $*,*** *** *** ********** hardware **** ***** $*,***. ** *** ******* *** *********, *** need ** *** ******* $*,*** ***** **** *** ********, *** could **** *** * *** ******* *** $*,***, ****** $*,***. However, **** ********* ******* * ** ** ***** ***** *** original ******** ** *** ****** **** ********** *** ****.

**** ****** ** *** **** **** ** *** *** ****** license *****. ***** *** ******** *** ****** ** ******* ******* costs, ** ****** *** ********** **** ** ****** * *** appliance **** *** ****** ** ********.

Lower **** *** ********

*** ***** ** **** ** *** *** ******** ******** *** equivalent ******** ** * ***** ***** **** ****** ** *********. This ** *** * ********* **** *** **** ****** ** the ******** ************** *** *** ******* **. *******, **** ** worth ********* ***********.

Best ****** *** **** ***-**** *******

* ****** ** *** ******* ***** ** *** ******** **** very ******* ********* ********* (** **** ** ***). *** *** find ******** ******* * ********** *** *********** *** *** ***** appliances. ** **** ****, *** ****** **** ** *** ******** only ** ** **** * ********* ******. *********** ********, **** is *** ** *** **** ****** ******* ** ***** ******** only.

More ********* *** ***** ****** ***** ***********

**** ********* ****** ** ***** ** *** **** ****** ****** - *, *, ** *** ** ******* ***** *** **** common. ** *** **** **** ******* ** * ***** **** or **** ********* ************ (***** **** ********** ***/** ***** *****), generally ******** **** ** * ****** ****** ** *** *** customize *** ******** *** **** **** ********* *****.

******* *** * *******

*******, ** *** ** ********* ****** ********, ** *** * drivers **** ******** *** ********* ****** **** ********:

  • 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.
Login to read this IPVM report.
Why do I need to log in?
IPVM conducts unique testing and research funded by member's payments enabling us to offer the most independent, accurate and in-depth information.

Related Reports on VMS

Verkada, Silicon Valley VSaaS Startup, Targets Enterprise on Oct 19, 2017
Verkada says they are building an enterprise-class VSaaS offering, calling it "The new platform for video security". This is a departure from the...
Axis 'Sold Out' P3707-PVE Multi-Imager Tested on Oct 18, 2017
Axis faced significant product shortages over the summer. Perhaps the most notorious and significantly sold out model was the Axis P3707-PE 8MP...
Top Problems Searching Surveillance Video (Statistics) on Oct 13, 2017
When crimes, accidents or incidents happen, the video surveillance system is a key component in finding out and proving what actually...
Exacq M Series Low Cost NVR Tested on Oct 12, 2017
With recent cyber security issues hitting NVRs and cameras from low cost leaders Dahua and Hikvision, users are increasingly seeking alternatives...
Hanwha 20MP Multi-Imager Tested (PNM-9081VQ) on Oct 09, 2017
Hanwhwa has introduced the latest in their multi-imager camera line, the PNM-9081VQ, a Wisenet 5 20MP model with four repositionable 5MP camera...
Exporting Video Surveillance Tutorial on Oct 05, 2017
Exporting video surveillance is important when incidents or crimes occur. However, there are multiple ways to export video which have their pros...
ASIS Show 2017 Final Report on Sep 27, 2017
ASIS is in Dallas for 2017 and this is our final show report (compare to our 2016 ASIS show report). When walking in, one is greeted with Dahua's...
Hanwha Launches Wave VMS on Sep 27, 2017
Hanwha Techwin has been teasing the launch of a new VMS: But what is it? Did they develop their own or? And how will this impact their...
Avigilon 'Blue' Cloud Entry Examined on Sep 19, 2017
Avigilon is moving to the cloud. The company announced their Avigilon Blue platform, designed to be a web-managed surveillance system, utilizing...
Genetec Launches Community Connect Examined on Sep 14, 2017
Genetec has done best in large-scale, enterprise systems and relatively worse in smaller systems such as SMB. Now, Genetec is launching...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Cisco Falling - Favorite Network Switches 2017 on Oct 20, 2017
1 major manufacturer fell and 1 outsider manufacturer gained as integrator favorites for network switches from more than 140 votes / explanations...
Uniview Recorder Backdoor Examined on Oct 20, 2017
A Chinese research group has identified a vulnerability in Uniview recorders that allows backdoor access in a method similar to the Dahua...
Hikvision Access Control Tested on Oct 19, 2017
Hikvision aggressive pricing and marketing combined with generally reliable hardware and free software has made them a major player in video...
Verkada, Silicon Valley VSaaS Startup, Targets Enterprise on Oct 19, 2017
Verkada says they are building an enterprise-class VSaaS offering, calling it "The new platform for video security". This is a departure from the...
Exacq Unbreaks Avigilon Integration on Oct 18, 2017
For nearly 4 years, Exacq had broken and effectively blocked use with Avigilon cameras, as IPVM reported in January 2014. Now, Exacq has...
Search More Important Than Live Monitoring - Statistics on Oct 18, 2017
Search is overall more important than live monitoring to integrators, according to new IPVM statistics.  The key themes found in integrator...
Axis 'Sold Out' P3707-PVE Multi-Imager Tested on Oct 18, 2017
Axis faced significant product shortages over the summer. Perhaps the most notorious and significantly sold out model was the Axis P3707-PE 8MP...
Dahua Removes Auto Rebooting on Oct 17, 2017
For years, Dahua has automatically programmed its IP cameras to reboot weekly, a highly atypical and questionable practice. Following IPVM...
Deep Learning Tutorial For Video Surveillance on Oct 17, 2017
Deep learning is a growing buzzword within physical security and video surveillance. But what is 'deep learning'? In this tutorial, we explain...
Multipoint Lock Access Control Tutorial on Oct 17, 2017
Doors are notoriously weak at stopping entry, and money can be misspent on wrong locks that leave doors quite vulnerable. While closed and locked...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact