Synology NAS DSM 7.2-63134 Beta Coming Soon
Good news for anyone that is waiting to see (and test) the latest improvements in Synology’s Diskstation Manager software, as there are strong indications that we will be seeing a DSM 7.2 Beta launched soon. Thanks to updates on the brand’s official download pages, we can see that developer tools have been made available. These toolkits are supplied in order for devs to adapt and update their existing tools to remain compatible with any changes in the synology DSM software. Full details on when the beta will be launched (though Synology did state in their Synology 2023 and Beyond event that they were looking at the end of Q4 2022 to Q1 2023 for the DSM 7.2 beta) is still yet to be confirmed, but they would not make toolkits for developers unless the rollout for the platform is going to be relatively soon. Currently, there are entries in the Synology download section in two areas (at the time of writing) for DSM 7.2-63134 tools:
Synology has often rolled out the latest significant updates to their premium software platform in beta long before full release, in order to identify any weaknesses or improvements that can be made to it – something that only massive ‘in the field, real-world testing’ can provide. So, given the likelihood that we will see DSM 7.2 arriving very soon, let’s discuss whether you should wait for a full release or go ahead and install the beta to test it out (and what is the process and risks of doing so?).
Should You Test the Synology DSM 7.2 Beta or wait till a Full Official Release and/or Release Candidate?
Testing a beta of ANY software is going to be for everyone and in the case of DSM, we are talking about installing an incomplete and comparatively untested software platform on your data storage! Needless to say, this is NOT recommended unless one/all of the following applies to you and your setup:
- Your NAS does not have at least 1 backup of all data that it contains in another location (ideally 2 backups!)
- Your NAS is being used for regular/constant backups that cannot withstand potential interruption
- You are regularly using 3rd party applications on your NAS that will risk being incompatible with a significant update to DSM on your NAS
- Your NAS has even the slightest business use
Those points are quite broad, but ultimately cover that if you are using your Synology NAS in a way whereby losing access to your system, data or applications is a dealbreaker (and your workflow cannot take on board a drop in service), then you should NOT install a Beta of DSM. Instead, you should await the release of a complete/final version – often referred to as the ‘Release Candidate’ (the version intended by the brand to be a full release of the software). There is still no confirmation when a virtual version of DSM 7.2 (using a license for vDSM on your NAS) will be available at the same time as the full download, but unless you are happy to accept the possibility of needing to re-initialize your NAS (unlikely, but possible), do not install the beta. Additionally, it is often the case that a significant DSM update CANNOT BE REVERSED. This is technically not true, but the process of reverting to a previous version of DSM is NOT easy and requires time/effort spent in SSH and inputting commands that, if done wrong, could brick your NAS. So, in summary, make sure you only install the DSM 7.2 Beta when it arrives if you have nothing to lose or have your data/configs all neatly backed up!
What New Features will be included in the Synology DSM 7.2 Beta?
When the Synology DSM 7.2 Beta does arrive, we are still unsure which features Synology detailed in their 2023 event last year will be available at launch. We detailed the improvements and new services in this article, but do not be surprised if these roll out more granularly as the beta rolls on. Most of these features and updates were discussed in a YouTube video featuring myself and Luka over on BlackVOID towards the end of last year HERE, otherwise here is the list of features you can expect in DSM 7.2 within the beta or when the RC version arrives:
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.
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 are 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 from 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.
That just about covers it. There were further improvements that were featured in Synology Secure sign-in and C2 Password services to improve the range of supported authentication methods, as well as improvements to their Synology C2 cloud platform access and implementation. However, as these are more to do with the individual services/applications, I will save this for the inevitable Synology DSM 7.2 Beta preview and included services. So, what do you think of the planned improvements coming to DSM 7.2? Would you have liked to have seen further updates to the more ‘everyman’ services, i.e upgrades to Synology Photos AI recognition to match that of Synology Moments? Or a little more parity between Windows and Mac OS compatibility? Let’s discuss it below. We pool the comments on this article and the videos that are featured in it to keep all the relevant comments in one place, so take a look and see if your POV is the same as everyone else’s.
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