VioStor VS-2004L – 4 channels (4 caneras concurrently recorded)
VioStor VS-2008L – 8 channels (8 cameras concurrently recorded)
I have shown interest in the QNAP VioStor VS-20xL series network video recorders because QNAP have presented the equipment as an affordable recording solution for small businesses who are taking their first steps towards IP-based video surveillance.
One reason these units earn their keep as far as I am concerned is that they permit the business to improve the video surveillance system without the need to replace more equipment than they have to replace. The only limitation with these units is that they require an external computer as the video-surveillance system’s visual display and they can only maintain two hard disks per unit, support basic single-disk operation as well as dual-disk “large-volume” (JBOD and RAID 0) and dual-disk mirrored (RAID 1) operation.
There is even the ability to support capacity and operation-mode changes in certain situations without having to shut down the NVR. Other examples of upgradeability include the ability to buy another QNAP VioStor system, especially one of the VS-200xL Series, to increase the concurrent recording capacity as you add more cameras but keep the existing unit recording away.
As well, these systems still provide the full expected functionality like alarm recording on motion detection, camera “alarm input” or URL-based alarm triggering. The latter functionality can work with software that can pass URLs on certain events like particular transactions such as voids and no-sales.
They are of a similar size to an entry-level dual-disk network-attached storage and do support connectivity to USB devices like USB storage devices and control links for uninterruptible power supplies that serve this unit. The unit can backup the video data either to a USB hard disk or to a network-attached-storage device on the same network.
These recorders can work alongside cameras that are ONVIF-compliant but this may not guarantee a true “plug and play” experience when you want to “evolve” the system yourself.
There are still a few “holes” concerning the useability, such as inability to support integration with UPnP-compliant routers when setting up remote-monitoring links. This is even though manufacturers like Draytek and AVM are supplying small-business-grade routers that have this functionality. As well, there isn’t a standaline client-side program for the common desktop operating systems that works as the system’s dashboard. This could affect system performance especially with older computers or standard operating environments that are based around competing Web browsers.
These units, especially the VS-2004L, could become the heart of an “analogue-upgrade” kit which has one of these units and a 4-channel video encoder which allows a small business to add network functionality to their existing analogue-camera-based CCTV system. As well, the VS-2004L, when worked along with four capable network video cameras, could be what is needed to provide video surveillance for something like a small shop.
At least this is a step towards fulfilling a challenge of providing an affordable IP-based video-surveillance system for the small business that doesn’t skimp on quality or functionality.