An update to the Synology DiskStation Manager OS

March 21, 2017 at 5:21 pm by

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Ever since I reviewed the Synology DS216j home network attached storage (NAS) device, I’ve been raving to tell anybody with an IT background about it and the brand. Its simplicity and ease of usability make it one of the top five favorite devices I’ve ever reviewed.

It’s not just me who has these thoughts, many other reviews for Synology products share the same love for the products and brand. I’ve raved so much about the product, that co-workers of mine have gone out to purchase similar Synology NAS units and they too can’t stop talking about it. It’s a product that just works without fault.

I think the thing that does it for me and millions of others is the fact that Synology makes the user interface incredibly easy to use. It’s known as DiskStation Manager or DSM for short, and it is a custom operating system for Synology networking products like NASs and switches. Even if you’ve never used it before, it will be quite familiar to practically anybody that uses a computer.

This operating system has an everyday desktop, with applications, a start button, task manager, and even a control panel. It’s familiar in the sense that it works and feels like a Windows or Mac OS. There are custom user profiles and of course custom settings to configure the device it’s running on. To get a full understanding of DSM, I recommend reading my review on the Synology DS216j or the Synology Surveillance System which functions in a similar manner.

The purpose of this article today is not to review DSM independently, but to share some of the new updates to DSM. Synology is an enterprise-focused company, meaning a lot of their time and research is put into business application and products. So, a lot of the new features found in DSM are meant for business and not the home consumer. Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t use this at home if you know how.

One of those enterprise tools that is making its way to DSM 6.1 is instant SMB server side copy. Now, to most of us that doesn’t mean much, but to put it in different words, this new instant SMB copy allows a computer and the host device to instantly transfer a file back and forth, no matter which drive volume the file is on. To achieve this instant copy speed, Synology opted to use Linux-aimed copy on write filesystem known as Btrfs.

The only catch with the new instant file transfers is that both systems need to be on the same Btrfs volume. While this isn’t helpful to many consumer users, it’s certainly beneficial to those who are running an enterprise server from Synology and need files to be in a new location on the server within a matter of seconds, rather than minutes.

There’s a little bit more to the new Btrfs system then SMB copy. It now allows for Synology systems to self-heal or auto-detect when files become corrupted. Granted your Synology unit is in a RAID setup, preferably RAID 1, 5, 6, 10 or SHR, the filesystem can recover these corrupted files from the RAID and then restore them to their proper structure. I like to think of it as an active RAID structure or RAID 1 on steroids.

Moving on from the Btrfs system, Synology has included a new encryption type. Shared folder encryption is the name of the new feature and it’s somewhat self-explanatory. Without needing an encryption key and instead using a mounted USB drive, you can now encrypt folders that are shared among multiple users, including home folders. This works out quite well for anybody who may need to access another folder from another user without compromising on security.

A newer resource monitor has been added to DSM to provide a more detailed view of applications, services, uptime, and hardware. Within this resource monitor, users can also setup a new performance alarm that notifies the intended user based on certain parameters.

Finally, there are multiple new applications that will be included with DSM 6.1. Office, chat, calendar, MailPlus, and USB Copy will now be available to all users.

All of this is a free upgrade for anybody who’s currently on DSM 6.0 and hopefully enough for somebody who thinks twice when wanting to purchase some new networking equipment.

© 2017 Justin Vendette

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