Synology DSM 7.0 FULL Review – Almost Perfection!

Review of The Synology DSM 7 Software and Services

It’s been more than 3 years in development but finally, users are getting the chance to experience the full and official version of Diskstation Manager 7 (DSM 7) on their Synology NAS drives. Many users chose to invest their money and their data in a Synology NAS because the brand has an incredible reputation in the industry for their software and services, included with the hardware purchase – with DSM being one of the biggest draws. What once started as a slightly rudimentary network file manager tool, has now evolved dramatically over 20 years into its own fully-fledged equivalent operating system with applications, multi-user management and a wide range of inclusive software and services. The latest full version, DSM 7, was first previewed way back in 2018 at Synology’s annual launch event and has been in constant development all this time. With numerous massive changes between DSM 7 and DSM 6.2, ranging from the way applications are handled and backend tweaks to performance and security throughout, DSM7 is the equivalent of upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 10 for many users, and I am pleased to say that it accomplishes ALMOST everything it promises. Today I’m going to give a full and detailed review of Synology’s DSM 7.0 system software update, the highs, the lows and ultimately whether now is the time to upgrade your Synology NAS to this new and impressive version.

Synology DSM 7 Review – The Quick Conclusion

Let’s not mince words, the Synology DSM 7 software is easily the best experience you are ever going to have when accessing your decades of data! From huge upgrades in the graphical user interface, the layout of options and even managing to improve the already exceptionally user-friendly design, DSM 7 is unquestionably the king of network software right now. Aside from a few areas of design conflict between DSM 6.2 services and DSM 7 UI, questionable changes on USB compatibility and contention over migration between in photo station and Synology photos, DSM 7.0 still very much rules the roost when it comes to the best you can get in network-attached storage software in 2021/2022.

STORAGE - 8/10
USABILITY - 9/10
PERFORMANCE - 9/10
FEATURES - 8/10
VALUE - 9/10


8.6
PROS
👍🏻Very Appealing GUI
👍🏻
👍🏻Unbeatable First Party App Support
👍🏻
👍🏻Near Perfect Single EcoSystem
👍🏻
👍🏻Makes DSM 6.2 Look Dated
👍🏻
👍🏻Fast RAID Repair and RAID6 Improvements
👍🏻
👍🏻Surveillance, VMs, Backups and Media Handling all still 10/10
👍🏻
👍🏻Feels JUST as Secure & Safe as Ever
👍🏻
👍🏻Hyper Backup & Cloud Sync Still Support MANY Clouds
👍🏻
👍🏻Active Insight, Active Backup, C2 & HybridShare = Business Win
CONS
👎🏻Some 3rd Party Applications have not migrated well
👎🏻
👎🏻Synology Photos Still Lacks some Photo Station Services
👎🏻
👎🏻Hybrid Share ONLY Supports Synology C2 (Paid Sub)
👎🏻
👎🏻Occasional Conflict of DSM 6.2 to DSM 7 Designs at times
👎🏻
👎🏻Synology Drive File Pining & Active Backup Still not Available for Mac

—- Synology DSM 7.0 Review Contents —-

Synology DSM 7 Review – ALL PARTS

https://nascompares.com/synology-dsm-7-0-full-review

Synology DSM 7 Review Part 1 – GUI, Settings & Storage

https://nascompares.com/synology-dsm-7-review-part-1-user-interface-settings-storage-management

Synology DSM 7 Review Part 2 – Multimedia & Backups

https://nascompares.com/synology-dsm-7-review-part-2-multimedia-backup-management

Synology DSM 7 Review Part 3 – Cloud Gateways, Active Insight and CMS

https://nascompares.com/synology-dsm-7-review-part-3-cloud-gateways-active-insight-and-cms

Synology DSM 7 Review Part 4 – Business Applications & Conclusion

https://nascompares.com/synology-dsm-7-review-part-4-business-applications-conclusion

 

Synology DSM 7 Review – The New User Interface

DSM 7 makes a very early positive impact on the user after the update has been installed, with the new login screen and improved login options. The previous DSM 6.2 login screen was clear and functional, but might have been a bit tame (though customization was possible to a small degree). Synology has scaled up the new login screen on this new diskstation manager software to remember a much more modern and slick UI, with the username and password entry being separated across slides – rather than together. Whether this is a layered security measure or this was necessitated by those using OTP login (2 step authentication etc) or Synology’s own secure signin application, it’s still a very, VERY clear UI straight off the bat!

As mentioned, Synology has released together with DSM 7, the secure sign-in application for Android/iOS to allow ‘in-house provided’ 2 step authentication into the NAS. Although this is a nice extra and I can see a lot of larger businesses who use the Synology NAS platform for their teams/staff using this, I think most other users will continue to use their existing authentication tools (e.g Google Authenticator) for simplicity across their own software environments. However, these are still very much supported in DSM 7 (as they are in DSM 6.2) with increased OTP support on this update.

The login speed of DSM 7 is still something I think deserves ALOT of attention. The localized feel of DSM 7 is something that is impossible to ignore. It is easy to forget that when you are interacting with the Synology NAS via your web browser (Chrome, Mozilla, Safari, etc) that you are only accessing a portal/tunnel to the NAS via the network/internet – which given the responsiveness of the GUI, moving windows, changing tabs, crisp quality of the layout and low latency is easily where a lot of work in DSM 7 development went. Not just reducing any delays, but doing so whilst still maintaining the same/higher level of secure and encrypted transmission. A quick look at the range of supported applications on DSM 7 shows that pretty much all of the applications that people use on a Synology NAS are available here (with a few applications being renamed e.g iSCSI Manager>SAN Manager, whereas others have been merged together, e.g Synology Photos).

The applications listed in the Synology Application center are all where you would expect them to be for the most part, though HybridShare still remains in the Beta category (which is actually quite advantageous when I was reviewing the final version as the Synology C2 Cloud Beta capacity was still available for testing). Much like DSM 6.2, in DSM 7 you can install numerous applications at the same time and still use the rest of the system, with a few minor exceptions where key background services needed to be installed/downloaded and this prevents simultaneous app installation for a period.

The only gripe I could find with regard to DSM 7 and application installation was first that Plex Media Server (currently version 1.22) was still in the Beta applications list and installation was not quite as clear cut as other applications (understandable for a 3rd party app) and some users have raised complaints that their existing Plex Media Server setup in DSM 6.2 was in need of fix/repair during migrations to DSM 7.0 (I did not experience this personally, but I have used DSM 7 in beta for a while and larger changes may have occurred in other versions of this software. Additionally, the range of 3rd Party applications that are supported has been noticeably trimmed down. This might well be because DSM 7 is such a modified/changed platform over DSM  6.2, that these applications are in need of re-tooling by their respective brands, but still – some of the lesser-known apps were still used in the absence of docker/container alternatives.

The control panel of DSM 7.0 is very similar to DSM 6.2, with a few small changes in where options are located (both in the primary menu and sub-menus), and once again the simplicity, ease and user-friendly design of the Synology Diskstation Manager Settings menus are top-notch – however, I can still see more seasoned storage professional having gripes with more customizable and configurable options being heavily buried or unavailable outside of SSH. Nevertheless, it is a VERY clear layout and intuative.

The resource monitor in DSM 7 has also received an update and is now a fraction more information than its predecessor, with more historical data options and ways to par down the stats to get more information. It’s a smaller upgrade over DSM 6.2 resource monitor, but always a change for the good to have more system health and consumption of the hardware info at hand.

Talking of system hardware, it is worth discussing another area of DSM 7.0 that some are less happy with. The USB support (i.e the range of compatible USB devices) that you can connect to a DSM 7 enabled NAS is far less than previously, with numerous network adapters, office hardware and lite client devices no long being supported. Synology has highlighted that in some cases this is because they need updated drivers/software from manufacturers to work with DSM 7.0, but in other cases, we have already seen a trend of reducing compatible USB devices on Synology DSM. Luckily the majority of USB storage devices are compatible (2 connected in the image below), but EXT3 is no longer supported in DSM 7.0.

The system also has improved logs/records windows that are available to track the goings-on within the system and has incorporated a lot of this into the security center – providing updates/notifications to the end-user to pre-empt any potential vulnerabilities that open up.

Along with numerous backend improvements in DSM 7 and the improvements of encryption in a bunch of areas, the system still has the same Security Advisor and Antivirus scanning systems built into the software. These can be set up the first time and then can do their high on a schedule, regular as clockwork. They seem a little thin on details, but they do their job and that’s what counts.

All in all, the user interface and interaction with Synology DSM 7.0 is a big, big upgrade over DSM 6.2 in design and responsiveness, though there is the occasional blip where you can see the layout/structure of DSM 6.2 at odds with DSM 7.0 – but this will likely be ironed out as the bulk of Diskstation development shifts over to DSM7 exclusively. When we first explored the DSM7 GUI and system interaction at the beta stages (video below) the clear improvements in operation speed and latency were clear:

Synology DSM 7 Review – Storage & File Management

Moving aside from shiny graphics, modern UX and responsive browser access, let’s take a good look at the storage and file management of DSM 7 and what has changed from DSM 6.2 The storage manager in DSM7 has been given a lot of attention, with the overview being given a large graphical overhaul. The more topographical list of storage pools, volumes and SSD cache bays is exceptionally clear and gives you the bulk of important information you need to know immediately. On the whole, I much prefer this new UI in the storage manager, however, I did notice that the layout of the NAS storage bays and SSD cache bays would only display correctly if I was using a web browser at 90-100% screen size. Anything less (as I believe most people use 70-80% on Laptops and MacBooks) and the SSD cache bay would display incorrectly.

Changing the zoom (tested on numerous browsers) to closer to 100% would resolve this, but it does seem like an odd thing to have missed at the design stage. Still, it is an incredibly pedantic point I know!

The drives tab shows us a slightly more familiar list that shows us the available storage drives on the system, along with SSD caching bays (as appropriate to the NAS hardware) and from here you can find out a wealth of information on each drive.

Information on each drive includes its health, SMART tests, temp, initialization status, model ID, serial, RAID group and much more. Once again, if you use Seagate Ironwolf Hard Drives, you have the option of utilizing the Health Management tool too.

Once Hard drives are configured to a RAID (and yes, Synology Hybrid RAID is still an option on plus series devices and below), you can then examine a lot of the newer options of DSM 7 with regard to RAID management and how extra drives are handled. The has already been a lot of mention of the RAID 6 performance when degraded/rebuilding in DSM 7 (video tests coming soon), but there is also the new fast repair option that allows users to only have to factor the build of areas of the drives where data resides. In practice, that means that during a RAID rebuild, the areas of the drives (As dictated by the parity blueprint etc) that contain data are built, and the rest is just zero’d (whereas a normal RAID rebuild would build each block one by one, even the empty ones). This is also joined by the already available RAID resync/rebuild priority control to allow the scaling of resources as needed.

In the event of a new drive being inserted into a NAS with DSM 7, there is an improved display of options of what you can do with this drive with the existing RAID array, making the initialization of a drive to the system much more intuitive and easy to conclude.

Outside of the storage manager, when it comes to interacting with your NAS, its volumes and contents at a file/folder level, the File Station application still provides all the functionality you are going to need. Perhaps looking a tad dated compared with other DSM 7 improvements in UI and the Synology Drive application, but still a very functional tool.

You can still create, control, modify and clone shared folders very quickly and this is still especially true on BTRFS systems – as well as when mounting C2 cloud storage using the Hybrid Share application (covering later). Though I would also highlight that DSM 7.0 requires at least 1GB of memory to fully utilize the system software smoothly and although it IS available as an update to more modest hardware systems like the DS120j (512MB memory), if you are running a DS218play and above (2GB memory) with DSM 7 and BTRFS, I would expect resource utilization to rise up notably.

Another change that is mostly cosmetic is the change by Synology in making the iSCSI Manager tool (for creating logical targeted storage on the NAS that can be added to remote client systems much more natively) into SAN Manager. The integration of SAN tools into NAS in recent years has grown dramatically and although SAN manager and iSCSI Manager are mostly the same in utility and layout, they have made a few changes to the available options and defaults that make it easier to create your next business target and LUNs.

Synology Drive is another application that has changed very little in design between DSM 6.2 and DSM 7, but that is more likely because it has already evolved significantly in the last few years. Originally promoted as the Synolgoy NAS based alternative to the 1-portal UI available in Google Drive and Dropbox (i.e 1 window, can option all/most file types), but has now become a behemoth of a tool for home and business users to backup, sync and access their NAS in a far, far more native way. As mentioned earlier, its design is far, FAR more preferable to that of File Station and it would have been nice to see a similar level of design and access be afforded to File Station in DSM 7.0 as found in Synolgoy Drive.

The client application for Synology Drive (that you install on your client computer) allows you to sync folders between your NAS and your system and allows you to interact with your NAS data (multiple users can share team folders too) without the web browser and inside your own native computer OS. However, the popular file pinning and file streaming on-demand feature is still only available on Windows client machines and although there was mention of support of Mac OS in DSM 7 in 2021, this is still yet to arrive (also the same for Mac OS support in Active Backup Suite).

For those users who have made the jump from Google Drive and DropBox and onto Synolgoy NAS, the Synology Drive Client app and those additional file management services in Windows context menus are incredibly popular and it is a shame that the Mac OS functionality was not ready at release. Here is a video below (base don DSM 6.2) that gives you a better idea of how file pinning and file streaming on Drive works.

 

 

—- Synology DSM 7.0 Review Contents —-

Synology DSM 7 Review – ALL PARTS

https://nascompares.com/synology-dsm-7-0-full-review

Synology DSM 7 Review Part 1 – GUI, Settings & Storage

https://nascompares.com/synology-dsm-7-review-part-1-user-interface-settings-storage-management

Synology DSM 7 Review Part 2 – Multimedia & Backups

https://nascompares.com/synology-dsm-7-review-part-2-multimedia-backup-management

Synology DSM 7 Review Part 3 – Cloud Gateways, Active Insight and CMS

https://nascompares.com/synology-dsm-7-review-part-3-cloud-gateways-active-insight-and-cms

Synology DSM 7 Review Part 4 – Business Applications & Conclusion

https://nascompares.com/synology-dsm-7-review-part-4-business-applications-conclusion

 

 

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    55 thoughts on “Synology DSM 7.0 FULL Review – Almost Perfection!

    1. Hi,
      I have some issues with my Synology DS918+. It Runs On the last version of DSM 7 :
      DSM 7.0.1-42218 Update 3.
      When I try to install a new app, I have a loading on the page, and after that, nothing happens.
      Also, when I try to delete any app such as antivirus essential, nothing happens.
      I don’t know what the issue is.

    2. I cannot beleive that there is NO WAY to sync any folder and file type from android device to synology nas… that drives me nuts… it’s either super complicated third party app to configure or the only syncing possible is with ds file that does ONLY pictures or synology photo crap app… I just want to sync ANY folder and their files in it (like download, ringtones and so on)… why the hell can’t synology do such thing ??? ds cloud does NOT permit to sync android folder to nas, it only sync the cloud that is on the nas to the android device, I want the other way around, there is no way to sync android ANY type of android files to nas.. urgh…
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    3. Login Speed – seemed easier with entering user name and password on the same dialogue to only hit enter once, especially when credentials are stored in the browser. Perhaps they changed it for increased security, prefer the old way.
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    4. 8:40 – I wish we could find the person responsible for using a Funnel for the filter icon and make them walk the plank. Funnels are not filters.
      But its too late now. The damage is done. People associate the funnel image with the filter action in software just like they associate the piece of paper with a folded corner for “new file”.
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    5. The missing “For you” from moments sorely missed – it was a great AI system for finding potential duplicate (or near duplicate) photos that just doesn’t work as well as the storage manager reports that only really find exact duplicate pictures.
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    6. 1.Log center cant be modified or set to exclude users or certain things you dont want logged.

      2.It is not compatible with DScloud anymore so you cant sync to mobile like you can do on DSM6 with the DSCloud app from Synology but you can use the Synology Package Center to download Resilio Sync or Good Sync but you have to pay a monthly/yearly fee for every user.

      Unlike Qnap when you buy your hardware, you arent forced to pay for syncing from and to your own hardware.

      With that said there is still a solution using Webdav to-way Nas-pc with Raidrive but you have to pay for software for Pro features.

      Mobile sync: Use Foldersync to-way Mobile-Nas, but you have to pay for software for Pro features.

      So far as i am aware of limitations using Synology DSM7 when it comes to syncing —> If you want Pro features or you want to use your Nas without reaching out to third-part software without paying extra fees it is recommended to switch to other Nas brands for me i feel Qnap has been working using 30 users for Laptop/Pc/Mac/Android/Iphone all Apps/Software working perfect Pro features without paying extra fee´s or forced to use third-part tools total control for Log center, File-Folder, Photo, Video, Virtualization, Web-sites and so much more.

      Other annoying difference i had with Synology i had was this—> i had to make a ticket to find out i cant use Synology Mobile App DS Cloud or that one cant choose what Synology Package-Log Center loggs, it wont let you choose to include, exclude or to delete certain logg if you press Clear button on the loggs that are in “Files downloaded” it deletes all, if you clear “user logins” it deletes all that and you cant revert the deletion.
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    7. Totally agree with your view on Photo Station. I’m glad you covered this as your feedback might get recognised. I don’t want to upgrade until Photos is comparable to what Photo Station had/has to offer.
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    8. almost perfection?
      Audio Station is totally broken, playback is being cut off,
      Media indexing fails to scan more than 50% files,
      translations in DSM are not complete, some even have nonsense,
      I have no idea what Synology have been doing all the time releasing such buggy software
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    9. Useful but a bit of a ramble with Robby. My time notes:

      https://youtu.be/xZrjPF4nmRc?t=674

      11:14 User Interface
      12:00 Help Center
      12:35 Control Panel
      14:03 Security
      15:27 Collaboration Suite
      15:45 Synology Drive
      17:18 Multimedia Apps
      18:47 Plex and 3rd party app issues
      19:47 DSM 7 background package integration improvements
      20:25 HyperBackup, USB copy
      21:24 Cloud Synchronization
      22:27 Business Applications
      23:30 Storage Manager
      25:15 Fast Raid Repair
      26:35 RAID 6 speedup
      27:19 Bench testing, storage performance, UI improvements
      29:00 Surveillance Station
      30:04 Virtual Machine Manager
      32:40 USB changes on DSM7
      34:08 Security and UI
      34:40 Resource Monitor and UI
      35:00 Storage Analyzer
      36:55 Recommendations
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    10. I’ve installed it as a VM on my DS1821+ and I’m completely disappointed with the new photos app. Maybe I’m old fashioned idk but the way timeline view is implemented it doesn’t allow you to look at a timeline on an album level anymore like you could do in photostation. You have to choose between album view or timeline view. I like to look at my photos different ways and this makes the app kind of unusable for me. Additionally I would like them to shows tags on the timeline view when you’re inside an album that has multiple albums underneath it but no photos in it directly. I’ve reached out to them but very little hope of it getting done in my opinion. I’m not upgrading until photos is useable as photostation is no longer supported on dsm7. Additionally I had a lot of indexing / conversion issues on my VM with my photos directory. Not sure if that’s just a VM issue or not
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    11. I upgraded both my DS 218J and my brand new DS920+ to DSM 7.0 and liking it a lot! No real problems. Moments with my Photos lost its tags during the transition to Synology Photos. I have to redo them but that’s ok. Everything else is great. I agree with this review.
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    12. so is there any reason for me to wait for the DSM update to come through automatically on my DS1520+ or should I just manually update now? Is it likely that more changes will be made to it before the automatic update comes through?
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    13. Does DSM 7 introduce any issues with access via the NFS protocol? I use my DS420j strictly as a file server in a Linux environment and do not really care about photo station, music station, etc. Quick, reliable access via NFS is my main concern. Thank you for your fine videos.
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    14. Photos all seemed to work once I requested a re-indexing. However, photo sharing is completely broken. Even if you request that anyone can view with a URL, Synology NAS still requests a username and password. Sigh…………………
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    15. Thanks for your valuable videos. I missed the loss of DS Cloud, so syncing became a problem. I started using Syncthing after upgrading to DSM7. I also have a problem with Synology Drive from my laptop on a company network, while using Express VPN. It keeps trying to connect to the server. When I switch off the VPN it works fine. Maybe I will switch to Syncthing on this Windows machine as well. For me this is a key function for a NAS so I didn’t expect it to work less good. But all and all it’s a big improvement.
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    16. Hello, I am sure that it will surely be for reasons of not extending the video too much, but your way of showing and explaining the news and characteristics of this new DSN are not very clear, at least for me you are going too fast and a bit messy. I’m not saying it in a bad way but I think you could do it in a more calm and neat way. Thank you very much anyway.
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    17. My primary reason to upgrade is the Photos app. I don’t use the 6.2 one because it’s forcing me to use a specific folder. Instead of my own folder structure for photos. I hope that’s changed in 7

    18. 20:53 I ran into the exact issue you have 2 days ago on DSM6.2.4. I opened a support ticket that is still open, however I suspect it’s a browser based issue. Try opening in a different browser and see if you can view all of the back up options in that. It’s a Munster to me how this happened as I even cleared my browser cache and it persisted in Firefox. When I opened in safari it was “fixed}
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    19. Your shows are good, however, can you please make them shorter/succinct. Perhaps add text boxes on the screen so we can see that as you move on. Again, you do a fantastic job ???? thanks for your hard work.
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    20. One thing I’d love is for larger NAS to support mounting volume from older smaller NAS.
      For instance, I had an old DS411j that failed on me, one of the drive failed but the NAS was full, so now I can’t even start it up. I just wish I could buy some of the 12 slots new NAS and then mount my 4 old drive into the new system and then just transfer data and format the old drives to add them to the new volume. I asked Synology if we can do that, their answer: nope, unless you build a Linux computer and mount drives on Linux and transfer your data. If I need to build a Linux computer, I’d better off just to use FreeNAS and never have to deal with Synology DSM…
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    21. Microsoft Edge is base on Chromium, so any issues you have with Chrome will most likely happen in Edge as well. You need to test on browses like Firefox that are not base on Chromium.

      I use Firefox and only have one M.2 slot filled and the 4 HDDs bays are full. Testing what I could zooming out made the empty M.2 disappear. It did not make the icon show under the other one as shown by you..
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    22. For the past week, Universal Search has been HOARDING CPU and RAM!
      Indexing just goes on and on and on, non stop!

      I can’t find a workaround!
      Disabling Universal Search in DSM 7, disables Synology Drive and Synology Office
      Instructions for this problem, found on forums, are all for DSM 6 and DON’T work on DSM 7
      This is pathetic!
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    23. For me it doesn’t matter as much if the new apps arent quite as good as the old ones yet as long as they have been written on a newer platform that easier to add missing and new features later rather than an app that was based on ds 4. Apple’s old website went down before a launch not to increase excitement but because it was old and rubbish and had to be .
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    24. Still I have hibernation issue and I opened a ticket with Synology support. After analyzing the debug logs, they came back with SMB and VMM are the cause of periodic waking up of HDD’s. But still I couldn’t find an answer from support that why this periodic waking up which exactly happens each hour related to VMM and SMB, assuming no laptops connected to NAS in the test period and no VM was running. Will update in case support answers me.
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE