All the Synology NAS info for 2020-2021 We Know
Of all the companies in the industry of network-attached storage, few are as secretive as Synology. Whether you are an in the industry of network appliances and storage, the in-house IT guy, or a professional consumer (prosumer) who is just in the market for a new piece of kit, finding out information on the latest hardware and software releases from Synology NAS can often be rather difficult. I have been covering pretty much any and all new releases from Synology NAS for a few years now and although they are always rather secretive at the best of times, things are especially oblique in this latest generation of 2020 and 2021 range. There are lots of reasons for this, ranging from their brand’s own elusive reputation to share information till the last moment, to the impact of natural disasters in the east and world spreads of Convid-19 having an impact on manufacturers as they either preemptively close/lower staff numbers, or are in areas of a large impact. So, today I wanted to run down everything we know about the software and hardware that we know is coming for 2020/2021 in the Synology portfolio, as well as update as much as I can as time goes on.
Disclaimer – Things with ANY technology brand can change and alongside decisions to delay, alter or cancel a potential release, few things have changed the tech industry in the same way that CONVID/Coronavirus has (with the obvious exception of natural disasters). Several key launch events and massive technology events in the 2020 calendar have been postponed, cancelled even at this early stage of the year and this will likely continue to be the case into the summer. Therefore do not be surprised if some of the hardware and software products below arrive later than expected, or renamed in line with the Synology year-based naming convention (ie DSx20 becoming DSx21). I will try to stay on top of this and update the article regularly, but I am just one guy! So, if you spot something that needs updating and want to help, please message me directly here – https://nascompares.com/contact-us/. Thanks!
The Synology DS1621xs NAS (formally the DS1620xs)
One of the most popular reveals from the Synology 2020 event last year, the DS1620xs (now being called the DS1621xs by some sources) was a standout piece of kit, Merging the things that made the DS3018xs and RS1619xs+ popular into 1 unit, then adding 2.5Gbe. I know it is fantastically overstated, but the hardware in a NAS can change EVERYTHING. This isn’t a dull PC-builder point, I know that A+ software is ultimately what a NAS buyer should invest in, but the extent to which your Synology DS1621xs NAS and DSM 6.2/7.0 will run is largely governed by the internal hardware. Contrary to what Synology would admit, the Diskstation Manager software does not run the fullest or exact extent between devices. Perhaps the CPU is an ARM efficiency vs power processor or a beefy Intel with embedded graphics and VM support – the hardware makes all the difference and the Synology DS1621xs is no exception. It is with this in mind that we can say with a degree of certainty that the DS1621xs can do pretty much EVERYTHING in the entire Synology catalogue of applications, as well as support a huge number of other 3rd party applications. The inclusion of that Quad-Core Xeon CPU and the SSD NVMe caching bays means that internal speeds will be high. Likewise, the PCIe slot for adding 10/25/40Gbe network cards and those 4 2.5Gbe LAN ports means that you are looking at some serious external output too! Below are all the hardware specifications of the DS1620xs we know so far:
- CPU: Intel Xeon D-1527
- CORES: Quad Core
- FREQUENCY: 2.2 GHz (2.7 GHz turbo)
- MEMORY: 8-32GB ECC DDR4
- BAYS: x6 AND EXPANDABLE TO X16 TOTAL
- RAID SUPPORT: RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10
UMBER OF FANS: x2
USB 3.0 PORTS: x2
RJ45 LAN PORTS: x4 at 2.5Gbe
EXPANSION PORTS: x2 for a DX517 Each over eSATA
CHASSIS MATERIAL: Metal
- PCIe: Yes
- NVME SSD Cache: Yes, 2x Dedicated NVMe Slots inside
- Warranty: 5 Years
More information on this HERE
The Synology E10M20-T1 (possibly the E10M21-T1)
Already mentioned around 9 months ago, the E10M20-T1 (or perhaps the E10M21-T1 by the time it gets released) is what alot of Synology NAS users have been demanding for a few years now, a means to take advantage of the PCIe upgrade slot provided on a number of devices and not have to pick between internal or external transmission speeds. Say hello to the Synology E10M21 10Gbe and NVMe SSD Upgrade card – YES, They are FINALLY going to do it! Like many of the new releases here, the E10M21-T1 builds on an already well-established catalogue of NAS devices in Synology’s history featuring PCIe and is definitely something you guys have been asking for. Although the model name gives you a good idea of what to expect, or the target audience for the E10M20 seems to be for those who already own a Synology NAS, it is still worth taking a closer look at what we have discovered. Improving the performance of a bunch of Synology 1st party applications, 3rd party apps, diskstation manager and more, is this going to be your next big hardware purchase to push your current DS1819+, DS2419+ and DS3617xs+ further? Ultimately, will the E10M20 be worth your money?
More information on this HERE
The Synology Range of SSDs in SATA and NVMe
Good news for all NAS users that like to keep their hardware as uniform as possible, with the newly leaked information that Synology plan on releasing their own branded solid-state drives at some point in 2020. Although this information is still pretty early in the announcement and releases schedule (so take it with a pinch of salt) it is still going to be of interest to those who want to make the most of the data in their NAS whilst utilising solid-state drive caching. I want to tell you guys about the new SNV-3400-400G NVMe SSD and SAT480G, SAT960G and SAT1920G SATA SSD arriving from Synology later this year. The range of Synology NAS branded SSD, based on the information I have received, arrives in two forms. The first is a range of SATA based 2.5” SSD that can be utilised for both SSD caching and in NAS drives optimised for solid-state media and flash use, such as the Flashstation series or 2.5″ Diskstation range. These are Arriving in 3 capacities:
SAT480G – 480GB 2.5″ SATA SSD
SAT960G – 960GB 2.5″ SATA SSD
SAT1920G – 1.92TB 2.5″ SATA SSD
SNV-3400-400G – NVMe SSD
More information on this HERE
The Synology DSM 7.0 Release and Beta Delayed
Synology are getting ready for the launch of their Diskstation Manager NAS software, version 7.0, and the good news is that they are asking users to see how it is shaping up. The bad news is that full access to the DSM 7 system (release or Beta, it has yet to be fully confirmed) has now been postponed towards the end of the year. This is likely to be to both improve it even more, as well as to release it alongside newer generation hardware.
Much like previous releases, the newest release of DSM will almost certainly be made available in beta to allow users to see what this new GUI and software platform will have on offer. The need for beta testing in real-world scenarios is both beneficial to end-users and the company themselves makes alot of sense and many of us have been waiting to hear when we could all have a play with the new applications, software and abilities that NAS users will be enjoying later in 2020 on their NAS Drives. There are of course provisos. In order to take part in the overview of the DSM 7.0 reveal when it happens, click below.
There is a HUGE number of things arriving in the new DSM 7.0 upgrade over DSM 6.2. Below are a few highlights, as well as a link to the full DSM breakdown from last year article and a video of the software platform in operation.
- Active Insight
- Drive Failure Prediction
- Improved SSD Caching Algorithm
- Synology Photos
- Improved Windows ACL
- Greater Synology Account Integration
- Improvements to the CMS
More information on this HERE
The Synology RS1220+ Rackmount NAS
As ever, I am sorry to be so ‘basic’, but despite the award-winning software that is included with the Synology DSM software (currently in 6.2 and 7.0 always on the horizon), the hardware will give you some idea of both what the RS1220+ NAS can do and to what extent it can do it! This can be for several reasons. It can be because Synology do not want their software poorly represented by hardware that will not run their proprietary software fluidly (the DS119j is a good example, with it’s streamlined version of DSM 6.2) or that the hardware inside just does not have the architecture to support the software in question (Plex and ARM 64bit CPU were till recently, incompatible). This is why I always have to give a little focus to what we know about the hardware so far and the RS1220+ Synology NAS is no exception. Plus I think it would be remiss of me not to highlight that a number of users have their reservations about this CPU. I think it performs remarkably well and Synology have spent a great deal of time getting alot of performance from it in DSM 6.2/7.0 for their users (thereby keeping its hardware at an affordable and attractive level), but some would prefer a beefier Intel Pentium or higher at least. So, the specifications are:
- CPU: Intel C3538 Processor
- Architecture: x86 64bit
- Cores: 4
- Frequency: 2.1Ghz per Core
- Memory: 2GB DDR4 ECC
- Max Memory: 18GB
- HDD Bays: 8-Bays
- Dedicated SSD Bays: None
- Expandability: Yes, upto 12 Bays Max (using the RX418)
- PCIe Slot: Yes, Gen 3 x8
- Ethernet Ports: 4x Copper RJ45
- LAN Coverage: 1Gbe per Port, 4Gbe via Port Trunking/LAG
- USB: 2x USB 3.0
- Fans: 2x Controllable
- Warranty: 3 Years
From what we know about the Synology RS1220+ specifications and hardware, we can make educated guesses on the extent to which it will run the official first-party software and those 3rd party applications that Synology support.
More information on this HERE
Synology Photos for DiskStation Manager
With the Synology 2020 range already started, with the likes of the DS420j, DS620slim and DS220j, it is worth highlighting that there was one app for photographers that caused alot of buzz last year at the Synology launch event, I want to focus on a something that is both new and old at the same time. For those that have owned a Synology NAS for a number of years, you are no doubt familiar with the two popular photo geared applications that are included in DSM. These two applications, the newer Synology Moments and the older Photo Station, are designed to help users handle their photography data, but with a different focus in mind. In an effort to combine the respective strengths of each application, as well as eliminate confusion, Synology Photos is coming and has been revealed to consolidate the two older applications to create one premium photography tool that will be included in DSM 7.0. So, why change things around?
Why not keep things as they are with both apps? The first thing that will strike you about Synology Photos for NAS is that the user interface is exceptionally clean! Although I am cold the colour palette may be changed, the actual default UI is remarkably clear and uses the large thumbnail system found in Moments and then uses the left-hand bar navigation system found in Photo Station. Taking advantage of the AI-powered deep learning engine previously mentioned, the Synology Photos app will go through the photography folders on your NAS and then display faces that it has observed (ready for you to tag and/merge as needed) along with the subject (thing) recognition too. So, as i nthe past with Synology Moments, you can look for trees, wildlife, food types and more, and the search is conducted on a photo/subject recognition system, not by indexing file names.
More information on this HERE
Synology Improved Mac Support for Active Backup Suite, HybridShare & Drive
Although this is already something that Windows users and Synology Drive client for Windows have enjoyed for a while, thanks to Windows cooperating with Synology to utilise this service, the newest Drive client for Mac will include these options. Few examples were provided in the presentations but I was informed this is something they are working on to make available as soon as possible and for those that followed my coverage of these services on the Windows Drive client, you will know why this is such a big, big deal and something often requested.
Hybrid share provides a user interface that allows you you to view and access files on your c2 cloud platform via your NAS interface (and potentially a client application, TBC). From here you can then mount the C2 cloud space as an accessible folder, which can then connect in a more ad-hoc or pre-planned synchronised fashion between the Synology NAS and cloud space. From here Synology has been able to create similar file streaming and on-demand synchronisation found on other platforms, allowing you to pin or prioritise files between the C2 cloud space and one or more Synology NAS’ that it is associated with. In real terms, this means that you can free up huge amount of space on a local device when files are on the C2 cloud platform and only a small percentage are required on demand. In essence, this means that rather than create a local client machine and NAS streaming relationship, this goes one step further creating a local marriage and Synology C2 streaming relationship that is fully configurable and customisable to your own file needs. Integrating Hybrid Share alongside Synology Drive client for Mac/Windows (as well as integrating the existing Active Backup Suite included application) creates a 3 three-pronged backup and synchronisation system with a different first-party program handling each link in the chain, easing both network bandwidth and system resources where they are traditionally most in demand. In short, this means that:
- If a user wants intelligent synchronisation between their local machine and the files on there NAS, they can use the new Synology Drive client for PC and Mac
- If they wish to create a similar system of smart synchronisation between their NAS(s) and their C2 public cloud space, they can use Hybrid Sync
- And if they want to backup all the devices periodically/live sync in the local environment, they use Active Backup Suite
More information on this HERE
Synology DS220+ / DS221+, DS920+ / DS921+, DS720+ / DS721+ – Where are They?
From this point on, we are stepping more into the area of speculation. The information below on these units is based on a combination of small bits of information along with the general hypothesis of me, Reddit, forums and more. Don’t use this as stone-cold fact, but more like akin to guidance and professional opinions on the direction of Synology NAS in 2020/2021 moving forward. For those of you that waited to buy a brand new Synology NAS at the end of 2019, you were likely understandably surprised by the unusual lack of new Synology Diskstation (Desktop) DSx20 NAS solutions that had been released. Synology has always been a company that, despite their ever-growing range of solutions, has always had a fairly regular release schedule across its range of devices. With typical J and standard series devices arriving around 12-18months apart, Plus (+) series models arriving at around 2 years, apart and bigger SMB/Business solutions arriving around 2-3years apart. However, even now at the 1/4 mark of 2020, we have seen very, very few new releases and this has lead alot of buyers to take pause. Sure, there is a new DS120j, DS220j and DS420j, but these devices are more for first-time buyers of NAS or those looking to backup an existing system. As good as the likes fo the Synology DS218+, DS918+ and DS718+ NAS are, they are now over 2-2.5 years old and this has lead to a number of buyers to hold on till something new comes along. But with no formal reveal made and a remarkably changed technology landscape because of the coronavirus and hardware shortages hitting a number of brands, I think there is a very real likelihood that the new 2 and 4 Bay series of devices are going to slip into a 2021 range. I still think they will arrive in 2020, but much later than we would have hoped. So, it may well be time to set your sights on a DS221+, DS721+, DS921+ and DS1821+ NAS. Given the way that technology in NAS storage has been moving forward, I think we are likely to see the following key elements emerge. An upgrade from 1Gbe to 2.5Gbe on Plus Series devices, the CPUs moving up to Gemini Lake Processors (so J4005, J4105 and J4115 perhaps) with DDR4, and likely a continued use of NVMe SSD bays on 4-Bays and upwards.
Why is there a Delay on the Release of New Synology DiskStation NAS
Much like everyone else, I like to stay on top of what’s new in the world of NAS (both professionally and personally) and have received numerous messages about the subject of NAS, from other users, connected brands and from Synology themselves. However, with a sea of mixed messages afoot and numerous explanations levelled about why the newer DS220+/DS221+ or DS920+/DS921+ is still yet to be revealed, I think it is best we go through them one by one below, as any of these could be the potential reason for a delay in release.
Reason 1 – The Existing 2018/2019 Synology NAS series is sufficient
Although the majority of the Synology DSx18+ and DSx18 series were revealed and released all the way back in Autumn/Winter 2017, it really was a huge shake-up for Synology Hardware. Up until that point we had seen ALOT of the same CPUs in use and hardware that was noticeable compared to older generations. However that all changed with the x18 series and set the tone for Synology to be a brand that was able to trade on both software AND hardware, with its rivals. Such big jumps as the 4K transcoding and 2GB Memory of the DS218+, the NVMe SSD support of the DS918+ and the 64bit ARM CPU’s and DDR 4 memory being used in the J and standard series made the DSx18 series a massive jump over older generations. So, although they are in some cases now over 2 years old, it is worth highlighting that the majority of them run DSM 6.2 exceptionally well. So, it could be argued that the need for a newer generation is far less so this time and in efforts to improve the DSM platform, they have invested those savings in the upcoming DSM 7.0 release. I know for some this will be a weak argument for some and will make them sit on the fence a little longer. But with the DS918+ NAS still doing outstanding well (psst, it’s still in a few of my Best of the Year picks next month), there is a fairly good argument for this if it was true.
Reason 2 – The New Intel J4005, J4105 and J4115 CPU are in short supply
One detail that keeps getting mentioned at tradeshows and events is the fact taht the newer generation will likely feature the Intel J4000 series. This newer generation of powerful yet efficient Celeron processor has already been featured in a few solutions from other brands and alongside serving as a great step up from the popular J3455/J3355 processor in the x18 series, it also has added benefits towards 4K improvements and graphical support. However, alongside this news, there have been grumbles about the availability of this processor being less than ideal at the point of manufacture and this would not be the first time that a lack of stock of a CPU from the Intel factories would result in issues with a NAS (see DS716+ and DS216+, becoming DS716+II and DS216+II with a different CPU). This is certainly a rumour I have heard, alongside the squashed one surrounding the J3000 series (now defunct), but it is worth keeping an eye on.
Reason 3 – To Coincide with the Release with Synology DSM 7.0
With the world reveal of DSM 7.0 back in the summer and the continued promotion of the new GUI and system software in their worldwide launch events, the Synology Diskstaion Manager version 7 is a big, big deal to both the companies and the users. It serves as a big move for the system software from DSM 6.2 and everything from tweaking it, to compatibility and usability design takes ALOT of time. We fully expect a beta version to be made available closer to official release (Feb 2020), but even before this reaches public access, it will still need to be completely tested on platforms, old and new. Given that DSM 7.0 was first revealed back in Autumn 2018, this is certainly one of the longest build and testing sessions on their software history by my reckoning and this could also play it’s part in the release of a newer generation. Although this is the least speculated reason for the lack of DS220+ and DS920+ right now, it still serves as a potential nevertheless.
Reason 4 – Re-equipping the range with 2.5/5Gbe Connectivity
Another good thing about the newer J4005, J4105 and J4115 Celeron CPU that we have reason to believe will be featured in the newer 2020 series of Synology, is that this processor can handle multi-gigabit connections on its ethernet adapter. This opens the door for the newer Synology DS920+ or DS720+ to feature 2.5Gbe or 5Gbe connectivity. Although there was a time that I never thought Synology would consider connections like these on their hardware (even 10Gbe connectivity they have kept at arm’s length, favouring PCIe options or almost full rackmount exclusivity for the connection), their newer DS1620xs NAS that was revealed in Taiwan for later next year features 4x 2.5Gbe. Given that multi-gigabit ports are fast becoming standard (with a manufacturer price point for 2.5Gbe VERY close to 1Gbe right now), as well as modern routers and mobile devices arriving with super-fast, beyond gigabit WiFi 6 (802.11ax) support, the need for a more capable ethernet connection is growing all the time and this could easily make the product managers and techies at Synology want to head back to the drawing board. This is the least likely reason on my list and, even if true, would likely only touch on the DS920+ NAS, but we will see.
Reason 5 – Changes to the Synology Hardware vs Software Business Release Schedule
In recent years we have commented on the fact that when it comes to the Synology hardware release schedule, we seem to see a turn by turn pattern of Business Units, then Home/Prosumer units, then back to the business. If you take a look at the release of Rackstation VS Diskstation devices, you will see that the announcement and eventual release of these devices have always seemed to be with each tye largely in its own part of the year. However, this formula has gradually changed in 2019 to a point where the business hardware has been far more prominent in the year and what few Diskstation NAS that we have seen in 2019/20 have been tweaked on the existing range, or whole new hardware (see the DVA3219, UC3200, RS1619xs+ and MR2200ac). Though this is still a very positive thing for the Synology NAS brand, as well as resulting in some fantastically innovative hardware being created – GPU powered NAS and Active-Active NAS servers – it is still very one-sided at the moment and could likely mean that the Synology NAS brand is trying to re-invent the way it releases it’s featured ranges in Diskstation – spacing them out and shifting the focus on business users through the year.
Reason 6 – CoronaVairus, Brexit, Trading Difficulties, National Issues and its effects on the Supply Chain
A far, far more ambiguous reason for the slow release of the newer generation of Synology NAS could simply be that the world is in a remarkably volatile state for consumers and manufacturers alike. With large scale politic events, national decisions that affect the supply chain and tax, as well as social issues between numerous nations that have resulted in sour national relationships in 2019 – this has no doubt made life for a tech brand exceptionally difficult to predict and the gain/loss of an ill-timed release could be exceptionally damaging. I think it would be naive to imagine this has no impact.