We have four facilities with DVRs and cameras at each. Right now, we have 7 custom built DVRs. On the outside, each DVR appears the same, but on the inside, it couldn't be farther from the truth. Our desktop PCs are all the same of a handful of models. This is for obvious management ease. There's about 120 of those and we don't have a whole lot of problems with them. Our DVRs are another story. One might have a Pentium D in it, the other might have a Prescott Pentium 4. They each have different motherboards and have problems with heat. Each is using one iteration of a Geovision card or two. On the plus side, they are all using the same DVR software. Each one of these DVRs is a "professional" model made by a regional security company. One just happens to be a Shuttle XPC. Not exactly enterprise class stuff. We cannot centrally manage the DVRs either. There's around 100 cameras total. Most of these are analog color models. We do have a handful of IP cameras streaming to their local DVR. On the DVRs that have IP cameras attached, they are running the Geovision analog software as well as Luxriot DVR software. Since each DVR is not the same, anytime we have an incident, our physical security person is hard pressed to get a copy of the video made. The Geovision software does this weird copy and paste thing to Nero or what have you. The burned disc has a player with some DLLs on it for viewing the video. Our local police can't even view the video because their IT department doesn't allow some of what the backed up video is trying to do.
I know that's alot to take in, but here's what we're looking at. Going forward, we'd like to go all IP. That's not going to happen right now. I'm wondering if there's an interim solution. Is there something we could replace the existing DVRs with that could utilize IP in the future? We'd like to be able to centrally manage everything. Right now, the closest we can come to that is by installing RealVNC on the DVRs. Also, we'd like to be able to export the video using STANDARD CODECs. Like Windows Media or something like that. Plus it needs to be easy for our security people. They don't really understand how to do alot of advanced PC functions. I don't like the idea of having so many DVRs. My understanding of IP is that it is just streaming JPEG. There's not an analog to digital conversion taking place. I don't think video size is much of a concern any more with hard drives being as large as they are either.
It's hard for us to take these DVRs we have seriously when we have servers with RAID 5 and redundant everything in them. When I go looking on the internet though, it appears as all DVR vendors out there don't have it together like Dell or HP. I just need some advice. What are your thoughts experts?