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

Artificial Intelligence Robot Assistant (ACTi) on Feb 23, 2017
Has artificial intelligence come to the video surveillance industry? ACTi has released 'SARA' which it bills as an 'AI assistant that brings...
Cutting Costs 70% Using Milestone With HD Analog on Feb 23, 2017
HD analog and enterprise VMSes are often thought of as being on opposite sides of the spectrum, with HD analog best for small jobs due to its low...
Exacq Favorability Results on Feb 22, 2017
For years, Exacq has been one of the most frequently favored VMSes in IPVM integrator statistics (e.g., see Favorite VMS Manufacturers...
Milestone: "Easy Money Days Are Over" on Feb 17, 2017
Contrary to IPVM's criticisms, Milestone has reaffirmed that glory days remain. But they admit that they 'easy money days are over': Are the...
Panasonic Favorability Results on Feb 16, 2017
Panasonic is one of the largest brands in the world and a long term provider of both video surveillance imagers and cameras. But, like all...
Hikvision Silicon Valley and Canada R&D Expansion on Feb 15, 2017
After massive growth in their sales team, Hikvision is now planning to add two new R&D centers in North America. In this report we examine...
Bosch/Genetec Video Cybersecurity Partnership Examined (CHAVE) on Feb 15, 2017
Surveillance products have been relatively weak when it comes to cyber security. Default passwords, open ports, and weak authentication mechanisms...
Avigilon New VMS Version ACC6 Examined on Feb 13, 2017
Almost 4 years after ACC5 was released, Avigilon is releasing the next major revision of their VMS, which includes their Appearance...
Hitachi Taking On Security Industry on Feb 09, 2017
Hitachi, bigger than Sony and Panasonic overall, with $89 billion USD 2016 total revenue, is expanding into the security industry. They are...
Milestone App - PSIM Lite (Alesys) on Feb 09, 2017
Milestone has many features in their VMS, but it is not a PSIM. Italian PSIM developer Alesys thinks sensor integrations and alarm management can...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Honeywell Sues Alarm.com For Violating Anti-Trust Laws on Feb 24, 2017
Is Alarm.com about to dominate the smart home software market? That is what Honeywell alleges in its new lawsuit, first reported by...
Axis: "Everything is IP" - False on Feb 24, 2017
Axis is congratulating itself, with executive Fredrick Nilsson declaring: "Now the conversion is all done and everything is IP and analog is...
Advertising Like Avigilon at the ISC West Airport on Feb 24, 2017
Avigilon has grabbed a lot of attention over the last few years advertising at the Las Vegas airport when attendees fly in. But how does that...
Artificial Intelligence Robot Assistant (ACTi) on Feb 23, 2017
Has artificial intelligence come to the video surveillance industry? ACTi has released 'SARA' which it bills as an 'AI assistant that brings...
Cutting Costs 70% Using Milestone With HD Analog on Feb 23, 2017
HD analog and enterprise VMSes are often thought of as being on opposite sides of the spectrum, with HD analog best for small jobs due to its low...
Dahua 4K HD Analog Cameras Announced on Feb 23, 2017
HD analog has been gaining popularity (even if Axis hopes otherwise). Last year, HD analog's max resolution doubled from 1080p to 4MP (see our 4MP...
Uniview (UNV) IP Cameras Tested on Feb 22, 2017
"We're #3," in China says Uniview (UNV). While the company significantly trails Hikvision and Dahua in total sales, one notable difference is that...
Glass Doors and Access Control Tutorial on Feb 22, 2017
The biggest challenge for many access control systems are glass doors. Here's what happens when a maglock is improperly installed to an existing...
Exacq Favorability Results on Feb 22, 2017
For years, Exacq has been one of the most frequently favored VMSes in IPVM integrator statistics (e.g., see Favorite VMS Manufacturers...
The Hot RMR Company - Electric Guard Dog on Feb 22, 2017
The financiers at the Barnes Buchanan conference praised a company named 'Electric Guard Dog'. While the name sounds fairly low tech, the money and...

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