Synology Reveal Details on Diskstation Manager 7.2, Mac OS Support Improvements, WORM, Volume Encryption, Cameras and more
When it comes to the value of a Synology NAS product, I think it would be fair to say that the bulk of the $$$ that you pay goes towards the software – Diskstation Manager (DSM). With an enormous range of 1st party services, features and client applications, DSM ensures that a Synology NAS (regardless of scale) is a complete hardware and software solution! The DSM platform has received numerous updates over the years, but few were as big or as polished as DSM 7. Recently at the Synology 2023 and Beyond global streaming event, Synology revealed a number of the planned features that are arriving in the DSM 7.2 software update, intended for 2023. Although typically sub revision updates like 7.0>7.1>7.2 might ordinarily be considered minor updates in most software, in the Synology DSM platform however these tend to include pretty large-scale improvements, new applications, improved service capabilities, a larger supported hardware client base and even a few extra up and coming beta services available to be tried out (under strict ‘tests’ status!). These were revealed alongside a number of new innovations coming to individual applications and services, further increasing security and data integrity (with a real buzz on immutable data, data that cannot and/or should not be changed). Finally, there was a few featured improvements highlighted for several areas of their surveillance platform that included the new cameras (already mentioned HERE) and improvements configuring Surveillance Station via DS Cam. Let’s go through everything new we learned at Synology 2023 and Beyond.
Updates and New Features Coming to Synology DSM We Know so far
The following is everything we learnt about intended software and services updates for the Synology Platform. How many of these end up as DSM 7.2 implementations and how many end up being rolled into individual application updates on their own (and therefore accessible in DSM 7.1 currently) is yet to be seen. Improvements in featured services such as Synology Active Backup, Drive and Surveillance Station may well arrive independently. Here is everything we learnt about future software updates and DSM 7.2:
Synology DSM 7.2 Release Date
Synology detailed numerous planned improvements that are arriving in the latest revision of DSM throughout the presentation. The good news is that people will not have to wait too long for DSM 7.2 to arrive, with the release stated as ‘early 2023’, with further clarification alongside other details to point towards Q1 2023 (Jan-March). This includes a great many smaller quality-of-life improvements, but some bigger ones in storage management and access. Several of the newer individual client software updates will likely be tied to DSM 7.2 and/or arrive in a beta format by the end of the year.
Volume Encryption Coming to DSM 7.2
A long-term request by Synology NAS users for a few years, the ability to encrypt your NAS beyond the current ‘folder’ level in DSM. It is a little odd that Synology has not provided Disk, Volume or Pool level encryption in the system storage manager. The ability to encrypt the full volume means that you can be a great deal broader in your protection from your storage getting intercepted outside of your own authorized use. Prior to this, encrypted upto the folder/shared-folder level meant that you would likely need to maintain multiple key files/codes, as well as result in more work as your structured your system. Volume-level encryption hugely simplifies this, as well as allowing a larger container of storage to encrypt within.
Mac OS Active Backup Client Support
Another HUGELY requested feature is parity in the Mac OS Support in Synology Active Backup that is currently available for the Windows Client. Up until now, Mac users that wanted to create a system-wide (OS level) backup relied on Apple Time Machine. This is still a solid and user-friendly option, but not hugely storage efficient, is tougher to browse through images than Synology AB and also does not play as nice with remote backups as it does with local backups (ie it supports network backups, but even then quite regimentally and does not correlate/manage those particular backups as well as using a Synology client and Synology NAS running Active Backup). Equally, Synology AB and Mac OS client app should allow viable and easier remote Mac image recovery options in a way currently not available.
Improved Active Backup NAS to NAS Remote Backup
NAS to NAS backups are NOT a new thing, but are more often than not either on a file/folder level (i.e using Hyper Backup) or, in the case of 3rd party general/linux servers, a big block of data that cannot effectively be viewed or managed natively. Improved Active Backup NAS to NAS support means that the same level of system/OS level backup image backup that is afforded to Windows PCs, VMs and More in Active Backup Suite can now be made with another Synology NAS server. Till now, the best options you had for NAS-to-NAS backups were Hyper Backup Folder level backups, Snapshot replication to send snapshot images on a schedule/sync/retention configuration, Backup your NAS image to Synology C2 Cloud (which can be synced elsewhere) and a few different file level sync/backup tools between servers. As Active Backup grows in popularity with Synology NAS users, including it in your 3-2-1 system-wide backup strategy makes alot of sense and for those that are already running a periodic/scheduled NAS to NAS backup, this makes even more sense than current file/folder level backups.
New Synology WRX560 WiFi Router Released
Yes, Synology is working on a new WiFi 6 and 2.5G router – The Synology RT3000ax (also known as the WRX560). Before I go any further though,a little bit of background. I think it would be safe to say that Synology has been quite successful in their range of prosumer routers. When they first introduced the RT1900ac 6 years ago, it was seen as something of an experiment to see if they could bring the same level of software, design and experience that they had learned in network attached storage to one of the most common devices in all our homes and offices worldwide. Fast forward to now and they are on the 3rd Generation (technically, a little bit of overlap) and we have seen both the standard of Synology Router and the functionality of Synology Router Manager (SRM) evolve considerably – with the router arm of their portfolio getting stronger all the time. This brings us to the newly revealed WRX560 router, a more compact 802.11ax router that seems destined to serve as the refresh for the MR2200ac or (more likely) the RT2600ac at some point in the future.
With a new and intriguing design (definitely looks like what the most recent star wars trilogy did to stormtrooper helmets, but ok) and borrowed elements of the recently released RT6600ax router, the WRX560 would appear to be designed to be in a tier of their router portfolio serving as the middle-ground (when the OTT RT6600ax seems a bit pie in the sky).
Synology Drive to Support Active Directory (AD)
Synology already has a very competent Active Directory management tool in ‘Synology Directory Server’, which turns your Synology NAS into a domain controller (DC) to manage users, devices, groups, and domain policies in a breeze. However, support of Microsoft AD is coming to Synology Drive. For the unaware, Active Directory (AD) is a directory service that runs on Microsoft Windows systems (i.e Windows Server). The main function of Active Directory from the client side is to enable administrators to manage permissions and control access to network resources. In Active Directory, data is stored as objects, which include users, groups, applications, and devices, and these objects are categorized according to their name and attributes. Then you have AD DS (Active Directory Domain Services) are a core component of Active Directory and provide the primary mechanism for authenticating users and determining which network resources they can access. AD DS also provides additional features such as Single Sign-On (SSO), security certificates, LDAP, and access rights management.
WORM Support Addition
Write Once, Read Many (WORM) has been around in the world of data storage for a considerable length of time and allows a file to be accessed by many, many users without the original file being in any way changed or corrupted – a real issue if a file/database is being accessed by many users and changes inadvertently occur which overwrite the file or changes being made by others (file/media editors tackle this in other means, such as via using shadow editing or non-linear editing). WORM (Write Once, Read Many) is used to avoid modification of saved data. With increasingly stringent regulations on how information is stored, many countries require government agencies, financial institutions, and healthcare providers to comply with strict data archiving regulations. Many of these require storage systems to not tamper with archived data. This has led to WORM becoming increasingly common in commercial setups. Good examples are photos, contracts, financial reports, emails, employee information, and other important documents. They should not be modified once stored. In some professional fields, massive data needs to be analyzed, and huge amounts of real-time data need to be recorded and tracked. WORM technology is ideal for protecting these records so that they will not be overwritten and can be saved as a reference for future use.
The support of WORM in the Synology storage infrastructure will allow loving for files for a predetermined time, as well as configuration into two separate types – Compliance and Enterprise. Compliance issues ZERO write/edit/change, even by IT admins for the pre-defined period of time. Enterprise is similar, however, it DOES allow IT admin(s) to make changes and/or adapt the WORM access. Also, grace periods can be set in for files going into WORM configurations, which allow a period of time to pass before locks are engaged. This change along with several others that are to be implemented in DSM 7.2 are slated for Q1 of 2023 (Jan-March). In short, in WORM enabled folders data is protected from manipulation by not being able to change or delete it for a specified period of time. Immutable data backups can also be carried out via Hyper Backup for further protection and retention down the line too.
SMB Multi-Channel – Better Port Utilization and Improved Drive Integration
SMB is not new, but updates to Drive and SMB support also see changes with Synology DSM 7.2, with cross-protocol file locking between SMB shares and Drive, ensuring that files in use cannot be edited or overwritten across them. In addition, with SMB multichannel transfer, all network connections available between servers and clients can be used to increase the performance of SMB file transfer, regardless of traditional conflicts that would prevent them being bound/crossed together conventionally
Improvements to Synology Office Services and Features
Synology has provided their Office application in the DSM application list for quite a long time, serving as an in-house alternative to using 3rd party office doc tools such as Google Docs and Microsoft office. This combined with the Synology Drive application results in you being able to open all of your office format docs (text, spreadsheets, PDFs, etc) from within the Synology ecosystem, where your data lives. However, there is always room for improvement and we are told that new features such as document watermarks, improved revision recognition on docs exported over and an increase in support of file format/layouts from Microsoft Word etc.
Scale-Out Clusters and ‘Synology Backup Cloud’
Synology highlighted their massive HD6500 and then discussed HUGE scale out cluster storage. The new scale-out clusters are also scheduled to appear in 2023 and provide faster file and object storage. This should allow server combinations of HD6500s servers that scale upto that of 12 petabytes to operate with a write speed of up to 60 GB/s (60,000MB/s).
Additionally, Synology is improving the management of large scale backups from a single portal point, via a new platform/service they are calling ‘Synology Backup Cloud’ (name almost certainly will change!) that will cover the operations of Active Backup, Hyper Backup and C2 Backup operations. Synology is aiming for this tool to provide the IT admin with a single easy window to manage, remote control and monitoring of all aspects of data backup.
Not a lot was said on this feature, but expect its development to be a little slower than most as, much like Active Insight, this is very much an enterprise site tool and likely at a premium.
Improvements in Synology C2 Identity
The Synology C2 Identity application that was introduced with Synology DSM 7 at launch is also going to see updates in its supported authentication methods and client tech. These will include Windows Hello and Apple Face ID/Touch ID, as well as in connection with the upcoming C2 identity user portal, employees using managed devices can be automatically signed in with SAML.
Synology Drive – Remote Erase
The benefits of Synology Drive when it comes to larger teams of users being able to access the same folder(s) of data in order to collaborate on projects is already well documented. However, what if a client system that has access to a synced drive folder gets hijacked? Or at a moment’s notice, you need to suspend access to the share fro a specific client machine AND want to ensure that no locally sync’d/download copy is still there? Well, soon Synology Drive will be receiving an update to allow exactly that includes the ability to delete data remotely and is intended to minimize security risks by removing synchronized folders from stolen Windows and macOS systems.
Synology BC500 and TC500 Surveillance Cameras
Yes, that is right! Synology has revealed (at their Synology Enterprise Data Management Annual Conference Event in Taiwan) that they plan on releasing a new range of Surveillance PoE cameras to be used in conjunction with their excellent CCTV/NVR software, Surveillance Station. These are the Synology BC500 compact Bullet camera and the Synology TC500 Dome camera. Although not a vast amount of information was revealed on these new cameras, it is worth highlighting that this makes Synology the FIRST commercial NAS brand to release their own range of cameras. To put that into perspective, although IP Cameras (Web cameras, internet cameras, etc) have been supported and compatible with Synology NAS systems for years (thousands of models and brands), this is the first time they have directly produced a camera that they are personally recommending for use with their systems and software.
This is something that alot of users have been asking/demanding for quite a long time. Here is the hardware that was revealed:
- 5MP Camera
- 2880X1620 Maximum Resolution
- 30FPS Maximum Framerate
- 110 Degrees Field of view
- IP67 Weatherproof
- PoE+ Support
- SD Card Slot
- Onboard Hardware for enhanced AI operations in Surveillance Station (Extent TBC)
- Edge Recording in conjunction with the SD Card Slot
You can learn more about the Synology BC500 Bullet Camera and TC500 Turret Camera in our video below:
New Synology VS750HD KVM Surveillance Module
Synology is also working on releasing a new VisualStation device, the VS750HD partner device for surveillance coverage and monitoring in larger environments. That is a device with which you can monitor up to 75 streams and they state up to two monitors can be connected (still TBC)
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