A Guide to Synology BTRFS NAS of 2016 – Genuine advance in Network Attached Storage or just a gimmick?

How Synology NAS and Btrfs plan on protecting your company’s data

When dealing with large-scale data storage, businesses require a solution that revents data corruption, while providing flexible backup tools. The next-generation Btrfs file system brings hese tools to Synology NAS servers, allowing businesses and organizations to reduce maintenance overhead and efficiently store their data.

What is Btrfs? btrfs logo

Btrfs is a modern file system developed by multiple parties and now supported by select Synology NAS models. Btrfs was designed to address obstacles often encountered in enterprise storage systems, such as fault tolerance, management, and data protection.

What are the benefits of Btrfs?

Implementing Btrfs volumes on Synology NAS delivers various benefits for enterprise users. Such as:

Metadata mirroring and increased data availability Automatic corruption detection and repair

In any storage system, keeping metadata intact is critical as it includes important information, such as folder structures, filenames, access permissions, and the location of each file. Btrf stores two copies of metadata on a volume, allowing for data recovery if the hard drive is damaged or suffers from bad sectors.

Automatic corruption detection and repair Automatic corruption detection and repair

Traditional storage systems might experience errors that go completely unnoticed which result in corrupt data being provided to applications with no warning or error messages. In order to avoid these types of errors, Btrfs provides checksums for data and metadata, generates two copies of metadata, and then verifies the checksums during each read process. If the file system discovers a mismatch, metadata will be repaired automatically and corrupted files will be reported and logged.

Snapshots and data protection Snapshots and data protection

The Btrfs file system introduces a powerful snapshot feature allowing you to create a pointintime copy of an entire shared folder. That way, if human error results in a lost or corrupt database, you can quickly restore the data back to the previous time at which the snapshot was captured.

Low impact, big benefit

Taking a snapshot consumes only a small amount of additional storage space, while exerting little impact on system performance thanks to Btrfs’s copyonwrite architecture.

Frequent, scheduled backup
Automatically create pointintime copies of data up to every 5 minutes without affecting performance, guaranteeing granular data backup and recovery.

Customizable retention policy

Retain up to 256 hourly, daily, or weekly recovery points according to your individual needs. Smart retention options automatically delete unneeded versions. Instantaneous snapshots Capture snapshots instantly and backup data without worrying about files being modified or deleted during the backup process.

Selfservice recovery

Employees can view earlier versions of files and restore them to a previous state by themselves using File Station or Windows File Explorer.

Additional benefits of Btrfs

Using the Btrfs file system on your Synology NAS brings a wide variety
of benefits to DiskStation Manager and Synology packages.

Efficient Cloud Station storage Efficient Cloud Station storage

Compared to ext4 volumes, Btrfs does not requie double the storage space for Cloud Station’s file versioning and history data. You can retain historical versions of files when using Cloud Station — without worrying about consuming too much storage space.

Data consistency of backups

Traditional backup methods require time to copy data from one place to another, potentially leading to inconsistent data if files are modified during the backup process. Btrfs solves this issue by taking a snapshot before the backup process starts, and then copying the snapshot data to the backup destination — with no need to worry about files being modified, moved, or deleted.

Quotas for shared folders Quotas for shared folders

Specify a storage limit for individuals shared folders, so your storage space will not be consumed by a particular shared folder. This is helpful for controlling available storage space when multiple teams or departments store files on the same Synology NAS server.


Clone entire shared folders Clone entire shared folders

With Btrfs, you can simply select a shared folder and make a clone of all the contents nearly instantaneously. This is useful when testing updates to websites or databases and you need a quick clone.


Btrfs is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Synology NAS devices. With QNAP pimping out it’s ZFS file structure in the enterprise units, it will be interesting to see how these weigh up against each other. Why not check out SPANTVs video below on BTRFS – it will be over before the toast hits the plate!


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2 thoughts on “A Guide to Synology BTRFS NAS of 2016 – Genuine advance in Network Attached Storage or just a gimmick?

  1. I got that wrong. QNAP is toying with ZFS, but via open source OS QES, based on FreeBSD, where you’d have to opt out of its OS, QTS and its library of apps? My bad. Synology is going with BTRFS, clearly. Good for Synology! Where and when QNAP is going via next gen FS and the issue of guidance … I have not heard a peep.

  2. Great subject! Can’t wait till you dive into where QNAP is headed on the subject of Next Gen file system inclusion, direction, etc. As of May 2016, QNAP is giving almost zero guidance. And seeing a Ext4 vs BTRFS matchup. ZFS appears only possible by opting out of Synology’s OS, DSM 6.0, and forgoing Synology’s library of apps? ZFS only available with QNAP going with QES OS, based on FreeBSD? Probably have the open source OS spelled wrong where ZFS via QNAP is available in select models.

    And any talk of next gen file systems and their NEED, needs to talk about the shortcomings of RAID and the talk of potential RAID obsolescence, given ready availability of modern massive X TB sized hard drives, bitrot, failure rate % likelihood during critical data rebuilds, 10^14, etc.

    Why won’t QNAP talk about next gen BTRFS???