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VMS on AWS: Scalable, Flexible and Reliable

by Benchmark

As demand for Software-as-a-Service provisions increases in the business community, so a greater number of end users are looking to leverage the benefits of cloud-based service implementation. VSaaS (video surveillance as a service) is still a relatively new sector, and has – until now – often focused on smaller, simpler solutions. However, with the launch of XProtect on AWS, the potential on offer from VSaaS can meet demands regardless of system size, both now and in the future.


The continual growth of SaaS (software as a service) has seen demand soar for flexible and cost-effective solutions across a wide range of industries. As a result, service-oriented hosted solutions have become a pivotal part of the technological landscape. Businesses and organisations seeking efficient and reliable systems expect a cloud-hosted service-based solution to be on offer, and that includes the rapidly growing world of video.

Cloud services have been around for some time in the video sector, but have either offered add-on services to supplement a traditional on-premise system, such as video analytics or report generation, or have been designed for smaller applications with a few cameras. Where add-on value was provided by cloud service additions, it was still necessary for end users to invest in hardware, and to meet all the additional costs such as maintenance and software upgrades, power, cooling, future system scaling, etc..

With the vast majority of businesses already deploying some level of SaaS for core operations, the benefits of such an approach were well understood.

Milestone Systems has launched XProtect on AWS, allowing users to enjoy the full range of benefits from a SaaS solution, without the previously required financial burden of a hardware-based infrastructure.

Enhanced flexibility

XProtect is Milestone’s VMS solution which is capable of supporting unlimited devices, servers and sites. However, it is also cost-effective, allowing small sites to benefit from the inherent power of the software. The VMS is open platform, and supports in excess of 8,500 devices, including those from all professional manufacturers.

XProtect not only manages video, but can also be used with access control systems, alarm management systems, IoT devices, data collection and reporting devices (such as POS and ATMs), sensors and detectors, industrial and environmental monitoring, and a whole host more.

In the past, XProtect implementations have required on-premise hardware in the form of servers or appliances, but the launch of XProtect on AWS allows a fully service-based offering to be deployed. This not only saves investments in hardware, but also offers benefits with regard to licensing, upgrades, scalability and speed of implementation.

Whenever cloud-based services are discussed, questions are always asked about reliability, both in terms of performance and cybersecurity. To ensure users have peace of mind, Milestone is using AWS.

AWS (Amazon Web Services) is the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform, and offers over 175 fully featured services from data centres around the world. It supports millions of customers, including many of the largest enterprises and government agencies, who have selected AWS to lower costs as the organisations become increasingly agile, allowing for improved innovation.

AWS reassures users of global availability, reliable infrastructure and advanced services which can be accessed via the AWS Marketplace.

Instant VMS

AWS Marketplace is an online software store which enables immediate deployment of software applications and services. Implementing XProtect on AWS Marketplace automates the OS and VMS installation, with a pre-configured VMS activated after just a few clicks.

Milestone is set to offer two products within AWS Marketplace: XProtect Essential+ and XProtect VMS. XProtect Essential+ is Milestone’s free-of-charge XProtect product. It includes licenses for up to eight devices.

XProtect VMS can either be licensed as a new product, or a BYOL (Bring Your Own License) option will be available. This will allow the license for any existing XProtect on-premise system (such as Express+, Professional+, Expert or Corporate) to be transferred to the AWS solution, and customers will receive the same range of features and functions as their legacy XProtect on-premise system.

AWS Marketplace will use XProtect 2020 R2, Milestone’s most recent product version released in June 2020. Going forward, Milestone will add the most recent product version of XProtect to AWS Marketplace on the General Availability date, ensuring implementations are always up to date.

Cybersecurity is a constant concern for businesses and organisations, and again AWS has a strong offering in this arena.

AWS cloud environment is managed and operated by skilled IT professionals, and customers benefit from AWS data centres and a network designed specifically to protect information, identities and applications. Indeed, end users can improve their ability to meet core security and compliance requirements, such as data locality, protection and confidentiality. AWS Services are GDPR ready and AWS is committed to offering services and resources to help customers comply with GDPR requirements.

In the near future, Milestone will be providing an AWS Services tool to allow the calculation of accurate pricing for the various services required to run any given XProtect VMS deployment via the cloud. This will ensure the total cost of ownership can be confirmed.

The Milestone benefits

For those designing and implementing XProtect VMS via AWS, there are a number of benefits over the more traditional on-premise option.

Integrators can further grow business by shifting the ‘heavy lifting’ typically associated with managing data, allowing them to focus on the provision of added value services.

The inherent flexibility also offers the ability to address new markets, providing not only security and safety systems, but also site management and business intelligence.

Installations are faster and simpler, as the need to specify adequate server hardware is reduced, as is the need to ensure a seamless integration between the OS and VMS. Also, maintenance and support is streamlined.

For the end user, benefits include the reduction of any initial investment in hardware, and on-going costs can be controlled as customers will only pay for the processing power, storage and other resources that are used. Managing these IT resources can be done in minutes, allowing users to react to any changes in site needs. Also, systems can be scaled with ease, allowing upgrades and expansions, or additional resources to be added, if special events occur.

For businesses and organisations with multi-site installations, the system can cover sites in any AWS region, worldwide, with minimal effort.

There is also the capability to connect temporary sites to the VMS system in just a few clicks. This can often be a problem for integrators and users, and with on-premise systems can generate unforeseen costs. However, the scalability of XProtect on AWS removes these problems.

Also, integrators and end users can work together to design a solution which meets the needs of each individual site. Systems can include cloud-based sites and on-premise equipped sites, and even sites which use a hybrid approach.
XProtect deployments can also be complemented by the inclusion of many other AWS services, all with no long-term contracts or up-front commitments.

XProtect on AWS increases the added value available from VMS solutions, whilst also delivering greater efficiencies to end users seeking smart solutions.

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