VMS Upgrade Comparison

By: Sarit Williams, Published on Oct 22, 2013

Which VMS offers the best way to upgrade VMS software versions? Who makes it simple and automated and who forces you to figure it out on your own?

In this report, we answer these questions, examining the upgrade capabilities for Avigilon, Exacq, Genetec, Milestone, Network Optix/Digital Watchdog and VideoInsight.

We answer the following questions:

  1. How are end users notified of new versions, if at all?
  2. Does each server have to be update individually or all servers at once?
  3. What about Clients upgrade process?

Key differentiators:

We discovered the following top differentiators:

  • New Release Notification: Some automatically notified users upon logging in to the VMS client, one let you check from within the VMS client while others were completely manual.
  • Multi Server Updates: Only 2 VMSes offered the ability to update multiple servers at once, the rest require each server to be updated manually- time consuming and inefficient.
  • Client Update: Some VMSes notified the client when the server was updated, and others expected users to check manually for latest versions.
  • Updating revealed 3 important differentiators that separated the 'best' from the 'worst' in VMS update process, including:

    • New Release Notification: Network Optix/Digital Watchdog showed a pop-up notification each time the client was launched when a new release was available. Exacq allowed for checking within the VMS client. Avigilon, Genetec, Milestone, and VideoInsight required manually checking though many email out notifications periodically.
    • Multi Server Updates: Genetec and Milestone offered multiserver updates. Genetec's silent install will push updates to all servers and clients at once, while Milestone's add-on utility will update all servers. Exacq, Network Optix/Digital Watchdog, Avigilon, and Video Insight required each server and client to be updated individually.
    • Client Update: Genetec allows the administrator to push to all clients automatically. Network Optix/Digital Watchdog notify (via pop-up) the end user automatically of new client versions even if the server is still on an older version. Exacq requires users to manually check (via embedded link in client) for updates. Avigilon, Milestone and VideoInsight will automatically notify client users if their version is older than the server version. Avigilon and Video Insight automatically run the installer while Milestone requires going to a local directory and clicking on an install link.

    Manufacturer Differentiation


    • New release notification: update process is manual, requires checking their Support site. Avigilon will email registered admins for systems with notices.
    • Multi-server updates: each server must be updated separately.
    • Client updates: when an older version client connects to a newer version, it will prompt and enable the client to automatically upgrade.

    However, the migration from Version 4 to 5 is manual, not backwards compatible and requires payment.

    Avigilon will push firmware upgrades to all of their own cameras with each server update.

    Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
    Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News


    • New release notification: check manually (via software link in client) for a newer version.
    • Multi-server updates: each server must be updated separately.
    • Client updates: client must check (via software link) and update manually

    When the link is clicked the latest version is automatically downloaded and launched for the user to begin installation.


    • New release notification: Check manually on their GTAP portal or via partner email.
    • Multi-server updates: Offers a command line silent installation that can be pushed to both servers and clients via the local administrator from one downloaded package. 
    • Client updates: can be pushed by administrator or installed separately

    Downloading Genetec software requires GTAP registration. Also SV16 updates require calling Tech Support to obtain a direct download link.


    • New release notification: will receive email if email is registered. Otherwise, requires users to check the site for latest updates manually.
    • Multi-server updates: offers a utility named Software Management Component that allows administrators to manage all updates and push those updates to all servers at once, hence saving time and keeping systems current.
    • Client updates: when an older version client connects to an upgraded server, it will notify client with a local link to a directory with the new client version for manual installation.

    Milestone has decided against automatically notifying end users of latest updates to allow integrators and distribution channels to dictate the assimilation process to their customers.

    Network Optix/Digital Watchdog

    • New release notification: notifies with pop-up of new version link as soon as client is launched
    • Multi-server updates: each server must be updated separately.
    • Client updates: click link in pop-up to download and install latest.

    Although the user is notified it still requires the user to follow the link to a website, select proper version and install.

    Video Insight

    • New release notification: check website manually for a recent version. Moreover, must check a  different site than their website to find downloads.
    • Multi-server updates: each server must be updated separately.
    • Client updates: when an older version client connects to an upgraded server, it will prompt the user and automatically install the updated client.

    Manually checking a different website requires the user to know its address and check, especially because there isn't a known consistent release schedule. 

    Client/Server Version Variances

    Two common outcomes exist for connecting clients and servers with different versions. Sometimes, this will work but newer features will be disabled or unavailable. However, other times, the connection will be denied. Because of this, we suggest verifying with one's VMS manufacturer on compatibility issues and restrictions for one's specific versions used.

Comments (7)

Only IPVM PRO Members may comment. Login or Join.

So only with Avigilon you have to pay for upgrade ?

The issue here is that it is manual and not backwards compatible between 5 and 4. As the focus of this report is upgrades, the process involved and the backwards compatibility are important components.

for Genetec upgrade you must have a valid SMA which must be payed per year.

"Milestone has decided against automatically notifying end users of latest updates to allow integrators and distribution channels to dictate the assimilation process to their customers."

Wouldn't an end user prefer to retain the choice of whether or not to be notified (register or not), instead of being completely dependent on the integrator/distributor?

An end user could ask to be added to the Milestone Newsletter if they wanted to though that would be bypassing the integrator in this case. I could make a case for both: on one hand the integrator may want to preview the latest to ensure there aren't any issues before mass updates, whereas an end user may simply upgrade immediately and have unexpected consequences the integrator would now have to support.


Why has NUUO not been a part of any of these tests?? Did I miss something somewhere??

Thank you kindly

Hello Alon,

As we previously published our Testing Plan for the remainder of 2013, we explained that we cannot, realistically, evaluate all VMSes for each of the basic features for each report. However, we are nearing the final reviews of the basic feature sets and sometime early-mid next year we will begin reviewing individual VMSes in depth.

Related Reports

No Genetec Major Releases In Over A Year on Feb 06, 2019
Annual VMS licenses are a controversial practice in the video surveillance industry, with many questioning their need or value. However, enterprise...
Salient CompleteView 20/20 VMS Tested on Feb 27, 2019
In IPVM's last test of Salient 3 years ago, we found various problems and deficiencies. Now, Salient says their new CompleteView 20/20 "unified...
Genetec Security Center 5.8 Tested on Mar 19, 2019
Genetec has released Version 5.8. This comes after a wait of more than a year that caused frustrations for many Genetec partners. Our previous...
Milestone XProtect 2019 R1 Tested on May 15, 2019
For the past few years, Milestone has released quarterly software updates XProtect VMS platform. What is new and how much impact do the updates...
Camera Configuration Manager Shootout - Avigilon, Axis, Bosch, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision on May 01, 2019
Which camera manufacturer has the best management tool? We tested 6 manufacturers - Avigilon, Axis, Bosch, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision to find...
Exacq Remote Cloud Access Tested on Jun 20, 2019
Remote cloud access has been missing from most VMSes (including Exacq and Milestone). Now, Exacq, after releasing Cloud Drive Storage earlier in...
CheckMySystems Company Profile on Aug 14, 2019
CheckMySystems says that too many users respond, "I get an email when something is wrong" when talking about their video system maintenance plan,...
Warning: Windows 7 Update Crashing NVRs on Aug 26, 2019
Windows 7 updates are causing VMS servers to fail to boot. After running the update, impacted systems do not boot as normal, instead display this...
Network Optix NxWitness 4.0 Tested on Oct 10, 2019
Network Optix released Nx Witness 4.0, proclaiming new features like a deep learning analytics metadata SDK, increased H.265 support, and UX...
Milestone XProtect 2019 R3 'Centralized Search' Tested on Oct 30, 2019
Milestone has had problems over the last few years releasing significant new software. Now, in XProtect 2019 R3, Milestone is touting "one search...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Verkada Paying $100 For Referrals Just To Demo on Jan 22, 2020
Some companies pay for referrals when the referral becomes a customer. Verkada is taking it to the next level - paying $100 referrals fees simply...
Camera Analytics Shootout 2020 - Avigilon, Axis, Bosch, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Uniview, Vivotek on Jan 22, 2020
Analytics are hot again, thanks to a slew of AI-powered cameras, but whose analytics really work? And how do these new smart cameras compare to top...
Intersec 2020 Final Show Report on Jan 21, 2020
IPVM spent all 3 days at the Intersec 2020 show interviewing various companies and finding key trends. We cover: Middle East Enterprise...
Vehicle & Long Range Access Reader Tutorial on Jan 21, 2020
One of the classic challenges for access control are parking lots and garages, where the user's credential is far from the reader. With modern...
Clearview AI Alarm - NY Times Report Says "Might End Privacy" on Jan 20, 2020
Over the weekend, the NY Times released a report titled "The Secretive Company That Might End Privacy as We Know It" about a company named...
Favorite Camera Manufacturers 2020 on Jan 20, 2020
The past 2 years of US bans and sanctions have shaken the video surveillance industry but what impact would this have on integrators' favorite...
"Severely Impacted" Mercury Security 2020 Leap Year Firmware Issue on Jan 17, 2020
One of the largest access controller manufacturers has a big problem: February 29th. Mercury Security, owned by HID, is alerting partners of the...
Apple Acquires XNOR.ai, Loss For The Industry on Jan 16, 2020
Apple has acquired XNOR.ai for $200 million, reports GeekWire. This is a loss for the video surveillance industry. XNOR.ai stunned the industry...
Installation Course January 2020 - Last Chance on Jan 16, 2020
Thursday, January 16th is your last chance to register for the Winter 2020 Video Surveillance Installation Course. This is a unique installation...
Halo Smart Vape Detector Tested on Jan 16, 2020
The Halo Smart Sensor claims to detect vaping, including popular brand Juul and even THC vapes. But how well does it work in real world...