How to choose the correct Synology NAS for your surveillance deployment

avatar

Setting up surveillance for security and protection, whether for large-scale deployments for enterprise environments, or just a small-scale home deployment, can seem like a daunting task.

The first step in this decision-making process is deciding which type of Synology NAS best suits your needs. If you only want to deploy four cameras for home security, you wouldn’t need a powerful, enterprise-class RackStation such as RS3617xs+. Similarly, if you plan to deploy 60 cameras for your business, the home or personal user level DiskStation, DS216j, would not be a suitable solution. With so many unique, individual situations, how do you decide which Synology NAS is best for you?

Let’s take a look.

Note: If you are unfamiliar with Synology’s Surveillance Station application, please see the basic introduction of “What is Surveillance Station” page to learn how Synology can become the hub for your home or business surveillance network.

Elements of Surveillance

There are many different things you need to consider when deciding which NAS is best for you. Here, we will talk about all of the different elements that may affect, positively or negatively, your surveillance experience.

Frames per Second

Frames per Second (FPS) isn’t easy to accurately gauge the amount of storage space needed because of compression rate and other factors. But basically, with higher FPS, you would need more storage space and more CPU resources to decode the video. With lower FPS, the video will be less smooth and might miss important events if the object moves too fast, such as a person’s face if the person is walking quickly. The main FPS standards in the TV and digital cinema business are usually 24 or 30 FPS. Here are some examples of different FPS for you to decide what works best for you:

 

This is what 5 FPS looks like

 

This is what 15 FPS looks like

 

This is what 30 FPS looks like

Resolution

Resolution refers to the display size of the video. It would affect the amount of detail that can be found in an image. The higher the resolution, the more storage space required. Some commonly heard of resolutions include: 720p, 1080p, 3 megapixels, 4K, etc. 720p means 1280(w) x 720(h) pixels. 1080p means 1920 x 1080 pixels, which is a popular resolution for computer screens. Since 1920 x 1080 is around 2 million pixels, it is also referred to as 2 megapixels.

Though the higher resolution, the better the quality, keep in mind that it would cost you more storage space.

Here is an example how different resolutions allow you to see varying levels of detail in your surveillance videos:

1280x960-560px-2-2

Higher resolution images allow you to see more detail

Video Format

Most IP cameras store videos in H.264 or MJPEG format. MJPEG compresses each individual frame/picture, where H.264 detects changes between different frames to optimize the compression rate. Therefore, H.264 may only need 1/5 storage space compared to MJPEG. The higher the compression rate, the more CPU resources needed to decode the video while viewing. Considering the significant amount of storage space you’re able to save, it’s generally recommended to go with H.264

Number of Cameras

The number of cameras you deploy will affect the amount of storage space needed. Generally, you can get an estimate of how much space you will need for one camera after deciding the FPS, resolution, and video format that you’d like to use. With each extra camera deployed, just add the amount of the total space needed for the first camera.

For example, if one camera requires 200 GB per day, then three cameras would require 600 GB of storage space per day.

Days to Store

Similar to Number of Cameras, you may use basic math to figure out how much storage space is required depending on the number of days you want to keep recorded data. If one day of storage requires 200 GB, then two days would require 400 GB.

With all of the information above, you may use the Synology NVR Selector to find out the storage space you need.

Choosing the Correct NAS

Use our NVR Selector to help you choose the best NAS based on your surveillance expectancies. Keep in mind, though, that the NVR Selector does not take RAID into account. In order to get an accurate selection, you must first determine by yourself which type of RAID you would like to use.

Generally speaking, there are two factors that would affect which Synology NAS/NVR is suitable for your surveillance deployment: Storage space and number of cameras.
Storage space: Choose the RAID type, and choose preferred disk size (e.g. 3x2TB disks are cheaper than 2x4TB disks). Learn about different RAID types and drives by using our RAID calculator.

Number of cameras: Although a 2-bay NAS can support many cameras, storage space will be limited and may not be enough to support your deployment. Sometimes, it may be wise to get a NAS with more bays to ensure that you will have enough space necessary.

Lastly, it’s also important to note that if you plan to run other applications on the same NAS that you run Surveillance Station, it’s recommended that you purchase a more high-end model. Otherwise, it’s advised to make the NAS dedicated only to Surveillance Station.

If you have any other questions, feel free to check out our FAQ page or contact our technical support team.