Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Linux-Based DVR vs Windows-Based DVR, which is more powerful?

The DVRs in the Security Market today have been divided into 2 major Groups; the Linux-Based DVRs and the Windows-Based DVRs. Each kind has both pros and cons. One has greater advantage over the other for specific applications. To help the readers better understand the significant differences between the two and which is more appropriate to use for a desired function, please share your knowledge on how you determine one as more advantageous and more efficient compared to the other. Your comments will be very much appreciated.


Yanieh said...

As far as I know, a Linux-based DVR is much more stable compared to a Windows-based DVR. The Systems Stability is a principal factor that should always be considered in the aspect of Video Recording. A DVR System that is more likely to crash contributes to the probability of missing an important event; i.e. theft in a mini-grocery store. Thus, responses to criminal acts become inefficient. Lately, majority of the Security companies prefer to use a Windows-based DVR over a Linux-based DVR. This is due to Hardware Compatibility issues. It’s been difficult to find the compatible hardware system to run a Linux-based DVR on. But nowadays, thru advanced DVR technologies, this particular Linux limitation shouldn’t be the case anymore. =)

Anonymous said...

Hope you can get some statistics on these..

Yanieh said...

Linux Embedded OS is more efficient than Windows XP Embedded OS. We can make a Linux Embedded OS with size less than 64MB, including DVR applications and necessary drivers, but it is difficult to make a Windows XP Embedded system less than 200MB. Obviously, the smaller the OS is, the more efficient the system loading and running.

Anonymous said...

It' a bit harder to find guys experienced in Linux than Windows. More expensive to fix sometimes but yes more reliable.

Anonymous said...

"Systems Stability" is kind of up for grabs, I use Winxp Pro and don't suffer from instability on my (which I build from scratch). Stability on any PC is based not only on the OS, but the Hardware and or Drivers, as wells as any other apps running also play a vital role in determining system stability. A lack of Memory or a poorly configured system (ie, lack of system resources, inadequate HD disk space) all contribute to a Systems Stability regardless of the OS. Take for example AMD processors have a Bad rap in the General PC world as being low end CPU's, but few take into account that HP/Compaq and other low budget PC manufacturers are the main reason, they build crappy systems that typically crash right out the box. I 'm confident that even a HP running Linux would be unstable. Good ingredients make a good system of the available MS OS's that would be Win2K or XP. I can't comment as for efficiency, as none of my systems lack what they need to operate.

Dave said...

Yahieh, I think your logic is flawed for several important reasons:

1) Both operating systems present a variety of on-going security flaws.
2) Most of the flaws discussed in the Windows vs Linux debate revolve around applications and not the OS itself.
3) Nearly every discussion out there is comparing Linux/Apache against Windows/IIS which is totally inaccurate for Windows-based DVR's that have all commonly exploitable technologies disabled.
4) Most Windows implementations are managed in some fashion, with many setup for automatic update.
5) I've yet to find an end-user who regularly applies Linux vulnerable security patches to their DVR's or their Linux-based IP cameras. Do most end-users even know which open-source group provided the Linux build they are using? Would they know where to go for the patches they need?

You may think from the above that I am plugging Windows and really I am not. My argument is that the end-security of a product actually has very little to do with the OS it is built on and EVERYTHING to do with how the manufacturer built it, how it was installed and how it is maintained.

Here are some important questions to ask:

Does the manufacturers’ development process have security considerations built into the architecture, the code and the solution as a whole including how it is deployed and maintained?
Manufacturers that provide secure products spend incredible amounts of money considering the how their application interacts with the OS, how it is going to be deployed and thousands of other considerations including who has access to the code and so forth. How do you know that the Linux DVR you bought from Korea or China does not have a Trojan or back-door? Does the manufacturer really understand the architecture of your network? Do they understand your governance requirements? Do they understand how you maintain your installation? Did they provide training and guidance on a secure installation? Do they regularly communicate with you when someone reports a security flaw?

What is the manufacturers’ implementation of the OS? Is it some off-the-shelf package that has not been hardened? Does it even have the latest OS code installed?
Many of the installations I see contain old unpatched code .. right out of the box. It doesn't matter if it's Windows or Linux. If it comes out of the box with exploitable software .. it's exploitable.

Did the manufacturer rely on commonly exploited technologies?
Some manufacturers build the entire user interface including the remote client from proprietary technologies. Some manufacturers rely on web-browsers, web servers, and dozens of services provided by the operating system for which vulnerabilities are routinely discovered. This applies to BOTH operating systems.

Does it run a web server on the DVR for remote access?
Regardless of the OS, web applications are the single most vulnerable and exploited technology today and in fact the maintenance burden (meaning how much time you must spend to keep it secure) is phenomenal. You might have it super secure today, and yet by tomorrow morning a new flaw will have been discovered. Again this applies to both OS's. Does your DVR have port 80 open? Does it allow remote access using or relying on OS resources? This is the single most overlooked issue when trying to select a secure solution.

This list could go on, but again, my point is that in my (not so humble?? ha ha) opinion is that OS selection has so very little to do with the security of one DVR against the other. It has everything to do with software, configuration, architecture, deployment and maintenance.

Not exactly related to this debate, here are a couple of articles we wrote on DVR security and IT governance.

CCTV Systems said...

For everyday use I find windows easier. Most users are familiar with operating windows. For specialised use then linux is ok. Usually costs more though

Anonymous said...

Where can I download the Linux dvr software?

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Anonymous said...

I have used both Linux and Windows, IMHO the embedded dvrs are best with linux and PCs are best with windoze. The only software that is quazi-usable in the PC world with Linux is Zoneminder and Avermedia's Linux software they used with the DX-5000 cards they no longer sell.
Unfortunately most Linux DVR makers are not following the license. I have contacted Avermedia\Averdigi, Toshiba and a few others, they will not release the source code. They are openly violating the terms of using the license. That is one of the major advantages of using Linux. The funny thing is Avermedia\Averdigi at least has a SDK for the windows cards they have and they don't even have to do that and won't release the source they have to.

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