Synology 2018 Event: DSM 6.2 With Windows/Linux Virtualization, 4K HDR10 & New NAS Ranges

Synology FS1018 NAS
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by Greg King on October 10, 2017 in Networking, Storage

The USA stop of Synology’s latest product tour took place last week in New York, and at the event, many new products and features were announced. Of those, some were expected, some we knew about already, and some caught us by pleasant surprise. Read on to learn about them all.

All companies like to get the word out about their products, but Synology takes things to another level by touring the world and giving as many people access to product launches and feature updates as possible. Its latest round of events can be found in 17 different countries, with the next, Netherlands, taking place on October 12. The festivities wrap up in South Korea on October 26.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at the most notable bits of information to come out of these events, to help you get a feel for what’s en route from one of our favorite NAS makers.

Hardware Refresh and New Products

On the NAS front, Synology announced a pair of “value” DiskStation products, the DS218 and DS418, which bring on-the-fly 4K transcoding capabilities to the ARM-based product line. Both of the NAS boxes continue Synology’s commitment to affordable and feature-rich offerings that cater to both home and small office users. Also new to this “value” class of products are Snapshot and Replication software that brings power data protection capabilities to an even broader group of users.

However, the DS418 has an extra trick up its sleeve: 4K H.265 10-bit transcoding, complete with HDR10 support. This feature is what sets it apart from the other NAS units on offer, as it’s the only one out of the new range that supports 10-bit. This means it can transcode 4K HDR10 content down to something a little more manageable for mobile devices, such as 1080p H.264 at 8-bits.

All of the new NAS units though will support the new media codec, H.265 (or HEVC if you prefer), as well as H.264. For a full breakdown of supported media codecs across the models, you can check Synology’s FAQ for details.

New to the “Plus” series is the DS218+, DS718+ and DS918+. All three have had the processing power increased when compared to last year’s lineup of comparable products. The upgraded CPUs in these units bring up to twice the video transcoding performance and upgrading RAM is as easy as ever should the user wish to do so.

Synology DS3018xs NAS

The DS918+ is Synology’s first DiskStation product to feature a built-in M.2 interface for NVMe SSD cache support, allowing users to enjoy markedly faster performance without the need to occupy the main storage trays with 2.5” SSDs.

These two M.2 slots are for cache only, and cannot be used for additional storage. In addition, you will need to populate both ports in order to cache read and write operations, as a single drive will only cache read data, which are the same limitations as before. We also have confirmation from Synology that these M.2 ports will only support NVMe drives, and will not support the older SATA transfer protocol (i.e. M.2 drives that use SATA instead of PCIe).

For storage professionals, video production studios, or businesses seeking higher performance network storage and application serving, Synology talked about the DiskStation DS3018xs as well as the upcoming FlashStation FS1018. DS3018xs is Synology’s first 6-bay tower NAS and scales to 30 drive bays with the help of two separate expansion enclosures. As the sequel to Synology’s all-flash NAS FS3017 and FS2017 models, the new FS1018 is a desktop tower NAS built to accommodate 12 SSDs and deliver top-notch performance for intense workloads.

A pair of updated NVR units were announced, giving home and business alike the ability to deploy intelligent yet completely private surveillance systems. The NVR1218 is a standalone video surveillance management and recording server that supports up to 12 simultaneous recording channels and features integration for point-of-sale systems, allowing shops and small businesses to create a private surveillance cloud.

VS960HD is a compact video decoder that features dual HDMI outputs supporting 4K and 1080p respectively, allowing for live HD monitoring of up to 96-channels on a single display without the need to install an expensive computer to view surveillance feeds.

Exciting News for Networks

Just as the protocol march from G to N to AC has pushed the wireless throughput closer and closer to wired gigabit speeds, the technology that allows our network devices to communicate with one another has evolved as well. The network paradigm we’ve become accustomed to has been a single device that provides routing, switching, and wireless connectivity, is slowly and mercifully being pushed to the side. While this has worked well, it’s had its limitations.

Wireless coverage in many homes has been less than stellar, depending on square footage and material used to build the home. Enterprise technology has finally made its way down into the home in the form of mesh.

Synology RT2600ac Router Three-Qurter View

With the new AC2200 tri-band mesh system, Synology has an answer to one of the suggestions we made in our own review of its excellent RT2600ac. Mesh will allow users to blanket their home or office in wireless connectivity using multiple nodes, and will include self-organizing, self-healing technologies for hassle-free management. The best part, current owners of either of Synology’s current RT1900ac and RT2600ac routers can use those same devices as nodes/access points throughout their home or office, to provide maximum coverage and optimal speeds.

Synology’s VPN Plus application for running a VPN server directly on the company’s wireless router products, is also receiving several enhancements. The application now supports creating and managing site-to-site networks, which is useful for businesses with multiple offices. Also, by taking advantage of the new HTML5 remote desktop feature, IT administrators can offer employees remote access to internal Windows, Mac, or Linux systems, yet still retain granular control over user permissions and traffic monitoring.

New and Expanded Features

Virtualization is an area that Synology has long been a part of. Announcing a completely new application called Virtual Machine Manager, users can now run virtual instances of DiskstationManager (DSM) as well as Windows and Linux machines. The application is currently in public beta and will include features that maximize uptime like high availability architecture, storage migration between physical devices, and replication.

The latest version of Storage Manager includes a revamped interface that centralizes information related to storage management in one place, and a more intuitive experience when setting up storage pools. It also includes a new Smart Data Scrubbing feature that helps prevent bit rot and protects data, a more active feature of the new Btrfs file system.

Another exciting addition to DSM is the brand-new iSCSI Manager. It is a dedicated tool for configuring and monitoring the iSCSI service. With the addition of btrfs-based snapshotting for iSCSI LUNs, users can protect virtual machine data efficiently by taking snapshots in mere seconds, regardless of iSCSI LUN size.

Synology is also introducing a new performance mode that provides shorter response times for transaction heavy workloads, such as running mail servers or databases on Synology NAS. This could be through either keeping key data in memory, or by leveraging caching technologies.

For users with more than one NAS, Synology’s High Availability Manager is being updated to feature faster setup and initial synchronization, a simplified and more intuitive management experience, as well as monitoring tools that allow administrators to better understand the condition of the servers that make up the HA cluster.

A new suite of data protection tools from Synology were also included in the presentation. These tools give businesses the ability to make local, onsite backups of a plethora of devices and services, such as workstations, servers, virtual machines, and even data residing on public cloud storage services.

The brand new Active Backup for Business application for Synology NAS supports VMware virtual machines backup and the system image backup for Windows/Linux servers and PCs. Highlights include differential backup, granular recovery and global deduplication. System image backups can be converted to Windows/Linux virtual machines and run on Synology’s own Virtual Machine Manager, meaning the company now provides an all-in-one virtual machine backup solution.

Another recently released application, Active Backup for G Suite/Office 365, provides a gateway for businesses to back up data residing on G Suite and Office 365 directly to their onsite Synology NAS. The latest version will include features to backup email, calendars, and contacts while also supporting granular, self-service recovery and single-instancing to reduce storage consumption.

Moments is a brand-new photo backup and management application powered by deep-learning technology that automatically organizes photos into smart albums based on facial recognition, location information, and subjects and scenes in the photos. The deep learning feature runs on the user’s own Synology NAS, thus providing a modern tool for storing, sharing, and enjoying photos while maintaining complete control and privacy.

Synology’s application for organizing and streaming music files, Audio Station, now supports Amazon Alexa, so users can now stream music from their Synology NAS to Alexa-powered players with a few simple voice commands.

Regarding the event, Alex Wang, CEO of Synology America commented: “The innovations and new products displayed today were made possible not only by Synology, but also the enthusiastic feedback and support of our partners and users around the globe. We greatly appreciate the opportunity to connect with the attendees of today’s event, who always provide us with the motivation and inspiration to continue creating innovative technologies.

Seagate 12TB Internal Platters

Representatives from Seagate Technology were also in attendance at Synology 2018 New York, where they spoke about the availability of new Seagate IronWolf and IronWolf Pro 12TB NAS HDDs. These new drives are more than a density increase, as they will include new smart monitoring and diagnosis which will integrate with upcoming NAS units.

In today’s data-rich, mobile environments, our creative professionals and business customers crave the reliable, accessible storage they can access anywhere at any time with our line of IronWolf and IronWolf Pro drives for NAS,” said Matt Rutledge, senior vice president of Business Marketing at Seagate. “Our partnership with Synology has been an important collaboration as it helps us deliver the best possible storage experience to our valuable NAS customers.

Availability

Synology DSM 6.2 beta is free to download for users who own a DiskStation, RackStation, or FlashStation. For information on availability, compatibility and installation of DSM 6.2 and related packages, check the Synology beta site.