Synology Urges You To Be On Guard Against Ransomware

Ransomware is some of the nastiest pieces of software in existence and in theory, it could hit anyone. Some people naturally have a greater risk, through the kind of work and tasks they do with their systems. But in theory, anyone can be unlucky enough to be hit with this kind of evil doing through security holes in the software being used.

This warning and reminder isn’t based on a specific new kind of ransomware, it is more to raise awareness of this kind of threats. Encryption-based ransomware such as CryptoWall, CryptoLocker, or TorrentLocker are on the rise, and they don’t just target Windows-based systems as many belief, they have also begun targeting network-based storage devices. Because of its stealthy nature and disastrous effects, ransomware is commonly perceived as a sophisticated, highly destructive, and unstoppable malware threat.

An advanced user isn’t really afraid of ransomware as they usually make backups of everything onto their network connected devices – or work directly from there via permanent shares and iSCSI setups. In the case of an infection, they simply wipe their system and install it again, and that would be the end of that story. Creators of this kind of nasty software know that and they want a piece of that pie too, which is why they have started to attack other systems besides workstations.

Where there is a threat, there is a way to defend yourself against it, at least in 99.9 percent of situations.

  • Update your operating system. Most people are up-to-date on their Windows and OS X updates simply because you’re being told when they’re available. But when was the last time you updated your NAS OS? Most NAS systems have automatic update features available and you should at the very least enable this for critical updates.
  • Install security software. A good anti-virus software is a good place to start and you’ll find solutions such as Avast or Intel security in your NAS’ app features. It will take up some resources to have it running, but those are resources that you should be happy to give up. Especially if you use the automatic download features found in all NAS units.
  • Disable Remote Desktop Protocol. Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) is a very common target for malware, which is why you should disable it if you don’t absolutely need it.
  • Install Mobile Apps and use Push Notifications. Applications for your smartphone and tablet are another great way to stay on top of your headless systems. Together with the push notifications feature you get up-to-date statuses from your system right into your pocket.
  • Beware of your actions. The golden rule is as it always has been, beware of what you do. Take the one second extra to hover a link and check the destination in the status bar before you click it, turn off features such as Hide file extensions for known file types, and don’t trust anything until you have verified the authenticity.

This time, the warning came from Synology, but in theory, it could have come from any of the big manufacturers. The bigger a company and brand gets, the more likely it is that their systems will be actively searched for vulnerabilities. Luckily Synology and other NAS’ have even more features that will help you in case that you get hit by this kind of malware.

A multi-version backup of all your files is naturally the best defense. If everything is backed up, then the evil ones can take their ransom demand and stick it where the sun doesn’t shine. Backup all your vital files from your system and onto your NAS is the first step and from there on you should have at least one more backup step – this could be a cloud solution, another NAS, or external drives, for example. Synology’s new Cloud Station Backup app can do all this for you through a single app, so it is as easy as it’s ever been. Hyper Backup is another awesome tool that lets you enjoy a full range of multi-version backup destinations from local shared folders, expansion units, and external hard drives, to network shared folders, Rsync server, and public cloud services. It can also isolate data for further protection from internet threats.

If your system supports Snapshot Replication through Btrfs file system, then you got another level of protection right there. Snapshot Replication allows you to replicate data from a primary site to an offsite location up to every 5 minutes and 15 minutes for LUNs, ensuring all your critical data in shared folders or virtual machines in iSCSI LUNs can be recovered quickly in the event of a disaster.

Synology also put up a mini-site that summarizes all these information along with the step to follow if you should have been effected. The fact that this site even was made, speaks for the severity of these attacks and how far they’re spreading. So be aware, practice safe surfing, and show an evolved behavior.

Synology Releases DS416slim 2.5-Inch 4-Bay NAS

Synology released a new NAS that is a little different that what we’re used to seeing. First off it is very tiny and it is also a bit in reverse, but with good reason. The new Synology Diskstation DS416slim is a NAS for 2.5-inch hard disk drives and drives are plugged through the rear. With its measurements, 18.4 cm x 16.8 cm x 23.0 cm, and its low weight, 700 grams, the DS416slim is a ultra-small NAS that still packs quite a punch.

The Synology DiskStation DS416slim is built around an Armada 385 Dual Core 1.0GHz CPU and comes with 512 MB DDR3 memory. That is enough to allow this tiny unit to perform with up to 170MB/s read and 77MB/s write performance through a link aggregated windows connection. The CPU also features a dedicated hardware encryption engine.

As mentioned above, the DS416slim is capable of link aggregation and that is because it comes with two RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports on the rear panel. Whether you want to configure them for load balancing or failover protection is naturally your choice. The NAS also comes with two USB 3.0 ports for external storage and other devices, one on the front for easy access and one on the rear for more permanent connected devices.

The rear is also where you find the four drive bays that each can hold a 2.5-inch hard disk drive or solid state drive with a height up to 12.5mm. Without any real height limitation, the choice of drives to use is yours. The power consumption is rated at about 17 watts during access and just 11 watts during HDD hibernation, which also makes it a very power efficient NAS. The noise output is rated to 20.3 dBA.

As this is a Synology NAS, it naturally comes with their own impressive DSM operation system. The DSM system also just got a major overhaul and version 6.0 was just released as well. You get tons of streaming and backup options as well as mobile apps and security when you pick a DSM 6.0 powered NAS.

The new Synology DS416slim comes with a recommended retail price of £222.00 including VAT or €248.64 excluding VAT, and it is backed by a 2-year warranty.

Synology Officially Releases DiskStation Manager (DSM) 6.0

Synology released the final version of DiskStation Manager (DSM) 6.0 after six months of beta programs and it was well worth the wait. DSM 6.0 is a major leap in the development of DSM and introduces major enhancements in every aspect including Virtualisation, Cloud Solution, Collaboration, Security, Multimedia, Accessibility and much more. Loyal readers will also have seen our review on DSM 6.0 just a few weeks ago where we had a go with it ahead of time.

There are so many improvements in DSM 6.0 that it is hard to get them all mentioned in a post like this, but I’ll try to bring you the highlights. Should you want to check out more details on the individual new function before you upgrade, then you can visit the official minisite for DSM 6.0 and check up on all the details. One of the awesome new functions that you’ll barely notice except for its usability is the new powerful content indexing service. This effective feature allows you to quickly reach all your data with a full content search for more than 700 file formats including office documents and metadata from your media files. With this, you’ll quickly find the files you’re looking for, no matter where on your NAS they’re located.

The Cloud Station Suite also made file syncing a lot easier, no matter what device you’re using. It is now all in one place and easy to setup and configure. Whether you just want to use it for backups to your personal cloud or sync it with a host of cloud storage services too, the Cloud Station Suite makes it easy.

A lot of the really new features in DSM 6.0 focus on the enterprise users, but the home users were in no way forgotten. DSM 6.0 focused highly on optimizing the multimedia experience. The redesigned Video Station with offline transcoding allows you to watch movies anytime, anywhere. Multimedia mobile apps support multiple devices including the new Apple TV, Apple Watch, and Windows 10. Media storage and access are some of the main reasons for home users to get a NAS and with these improvements you can be sure to have a smooth experience, anytime, anywhere.

The advanced collaboration tools are equally useful for home and enterprise users alike. Whether you are calculating prices for customers or keep track of your household expenses, you can do it all on your own NAS without the need for any local software. Create Spreadsheets or use the advanced Note Station yourself or share, edit, and collaborate with friends, family, and coworkers.

The concept of electronic mail is as old as the internet itself. DiskStation Manager now also comes with the all-new MailPlus and MailPlus Server packages that allow you to set up a secure and reliable private mail server as well as use a modern email client for receiving and sending messages. Again, everything will run on your own server and you remain in full control and don’t need to rely on third-party services. While this mostly is relevant to enterprise users, there are quite a few enthusiasts such as myself that could benefit greatly from this system at home too.

DSM 6.0 also offers a much greater support for SSD cache that ensures a significant boost in performance for those that need more than the average. This is mainly for enterprise users and so is the newly added support for shared folders with over one petabyte of storage space. The Btrfs file system is now also supported on more NAS models than before, which in itself adds a row of great features such as data compression and data scrubbing.

DSM 6.0 also introduces Snapshot Replication to Synology’s NAS’ that offers near-continuous data protection as well as multi-site replication for an even better protection of your files. In addition, Synology’s Hyper Backup package can now perform multi-version backups of all types of destinations.

Consolidating physical servers with virtualization technology can increase server utilization and reduce business operating costs – and it’s also really cool. DSM 6.0 introduces two new features here with Docker DSM and Virtual DSM that enables users to build a reliable and multi-tenant environment on their Synology NAS.

Virtual DSM allows you to deploy multiple virtual instances of DiskStation Manager on the same unit. You can easily live migrate virtual machines to another Synology NAS and test out DSM upgrades in isolated virtual machines before you effectively install it. There is no need to worry about downtimes when upgrading with such a feature. It also adds another layer of security as it protects the physical machine from being affected if the virtual machine gets attached.

Docker DSM is a lightweight virtualization system with data protection where you don’t have to give up system performance. It can be containerized and run on a Btrfs shared folder with little performance impact, yet provide you with a lot of benefits. It only requires 256MB memory for each Docker DSM where Virtual DSM requires 1GB or more each and the only real difference is the whether you need the ability to use iSCSI LUN and targets.

 

So, it might be time to upgrade your Synology NAS. You can find a full list of applied models for each function and check out the full software specification too if you want to know more. As a user that already had the pleasure to play with DSM 6.0, I can highly recommend it.

Synology Releases DS216j Entry-Level 2-Bay NAS

If you haven’t invested in a NAS for your home yet, then it might be time to do so as it can make your digital life so much easier by being a centralized storage and media centre. Synology officially released the newest model of theirs and it might be the perfect unit as your first one. The new DS216j is built around Marvell’s Armada 385 dual-core 1 GHz CPU and it comes with 512MB DDR3 memory onboard.

The DiskStation DS216j is able to deliver a great performance despite the low-sounding specifications and can deliver an outstanding read/write performance of 112.75 MB/s in reading and over 97.6 MB/s in writing when connecting from a Windows environment. The system is equipped with a single RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet port and two USB 3.0 ports for high-speed storage and other USB devices .

The DS216j is focused on home and personal use where it allows you to build your own personal cloud or served as their centralised multimedia server effortlessly. Backup and sync files across NAS’, PCs, and mobile devices as easy as a few clicks to initialize a job after which everything runs on its own. You can also stream files to DLNA media players and devices, Chromecast, or Airplay with ease as well as attach USB speakers for direct playback from the NAS itself.

The DS216j is a budget and entry-level unit which shows in a few places. These aren’t bad things, just things that can cut production costs and provide you with a cheaper product such as fewer connection ports and the not having ejectable drive bays. Users can also adjust the LED indicators brightness based on four different settings as well as schedule it on demand.

Synology’s DiskStation DS216j is now available worldwide and comes with an RRP of just £126.00 including VAT or €145.00 excluding VAT. The DS216j NAS is backed with a 2-year limited warranty.

Synology DiskStation Manager (DSM) 6.0 Review

Introduction


It has been about six months since Synology launched the Beta program for the new DiskStation Manager (DSM) 6.0 and we’re so very close to an official release. Today I’m taking a closer look at just this new operating system and will show you the new improvements and features.

This review is a little special for me as my NAS reviews normally focus a lot more on the hardware side of things as well as the performance. It isn’t that I don’t show the user interface and features, but there isn’t room to dive as deep into the system as there is today where I’m focusing on the operating system and apps alone.

There are a lot of new great enhancements in DSM 6.0 and one of the best is one that you’ll barely notice as a normal user because it’s going on behind the curtains. The new OS has been upgraded to a 64-bit architecture on compatible models. This will not only allow for a better overall performance by utilizing the modern CPUs a lot better, it also supports over 4GB memory allocation for one single process to deploy large scale applications.

Synology also took some of the previous built-in features and modularized them into packages instead. This ensures better system maintenance and update flexibility. The Modularization in DSM 6.0 includes Storage Analyzer, Hyper Backup, PHP, Web Station and Text Editor, Log Center with basic built-in functions in DSM and extensive functions via package download, WebDAV, and Snapshot Replication.

DSM 6.0 brings a lot of enhancements for both home users and enterprises alike. The High Availability Manager server is now able to handle split-brain errors a lot better and it doesn’t require a full data replication anymore to get back up and running. This can save you from valuable downtime and thereby profit loss. It also comes with improved upgrade efficiency and cluster binding, and best of all, it also supports Docker DSM

Backup and replication got new features too and some things got moved around to accommodate the new add-on packages. Any existing setups will automatically be moved to the new locations upon upgrading, so that’s not something you need to worry about. CSP support got added to the security features in order to prevent XSS attacks while TLS and SSL profiles can be adjusted according to your browser capability and settings. Another nifty new security feature is that you can add and manage you most frequently used devices as trusted devices that don’t need a verification code every time you log in.

There are several new and pretty awesome features in DSM 6.0 beta, where on of them is the Docker DSM. Businesses can create a multi-tenant environment with flexible resource control and secure isolation. All Docker DSMs run independently from each other and provide additional features such as live migration. Synology’s multi-version backup provides snapshot and replication to one or more remote sites, up to every 5 minutes, and block-level incremental backup and cross-version deduplication is also included. You’re well covered here.

The SSD cache feature allows you to use up to 12 SSDs now, but that amount is naturally for the big enterprise models and the home-use NAS don’t come that kind of drive-bay amount. When SSD cache is enabled on a volume with advanced iSCSI LUNs, the performance can be improved up to 30%. You can now use different SSD models to create an SSD cache.

This is truly an upgrade that worth the shift from 5.x to 6.0 with the amount of features added, and I’ve only mentioned some of them up until now. The search feature won’t just search file and directory names now, it can also search the files actual content as well as meta tags to find just the thing you’re looking for. You can use 802.1X network authentication for wired networks and organize your firewall rules into different profiles.

There’s also a new Spreadsheet feature with co-editing, historical versions, tag, and file sharing link as part of Note Station. Offline editing, one-click email clipping, and instant table-chart conversion is also part of the deal. Apple Watch users can now enjoy the Note Station even more as it is now compatible with the Watch. Owners of an Apple Watch can now check notes directly on their wrist, or create new notes via voice input.

MailPlus server comes with active-active architecture, load balancing, and content filters and allows you to have a great mail solution running right from your own location. The clients are browser- and mobile-based and feature physical mailbox, virtual labels, auto-filter, and sticker.

Cloud Station Server and Cloud Sync now provide users with flexible synchronization of files within specified subfolders in addition to shared folders. Small file syncing has now become over 8 times faster than before which is great as those small files often come in big groups. Synology also revamped the Video station for this new version. It now supports offline transcoding, on-screen buttons, and Windows 10. DS Audio got Apple Watch support now too, to allow users to select songs, playlists, and broadcasts directly.

Synology Releases DiskStation DS216+ 2-Bay NAS

Synology officially released the DiskStation DS216+ which is the direct successor to the DS215+ and a NAS unit that I’m sure a lot of people have been looking forward to. The new DiskStation DS216+ has it all and looks like it is a solid server with great features.

The DiskStation DS216+ is built with an Intel Celeron N3050 dual-core CPU that has built-in AES-NI hardware encryption engine among other things. The CPU is backed by 1GB DDR3 memory and the system can provide excellent encrypted data transfer performance at over 113 MB/s reading and 109 MB/s writing. Another really cool feature is the real-time capabilities to transcode H.264 4K Ultra HD video. The DS216+ can handle one channel 4K transcoding or three channels with Full-HD transcoding at the same time. When coupled with the ability to utilize DVB-T/DVB-S sticks and the record function, you got everything you need in relation to media in one place. The Video, Audio, and Photo Stations offer all the media features you need and it also supports DLNA and AirPlay, and even Bluetooth and wireless transmission with the use of dongles.

The DiskStation DS216+ has most things when it comes to hardware and software. The LEDs on the front have an adjustable brightness as well as schedule abilities. There is a USB 3.0 port with one-touch copy button, two USB 2.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet connection, and a feature that I personally love to see, an eSATA port. The drives are hot-swappable and feature Synology’s screw and tool-less installation. The 92mm cooling fan located at the rear should also make sure that the NAS works as flawless under controlled temperatures and does so as silent as possible.

Besides the full setup of backup, restore, cloud, and other features that we love from Synology’s DiskStation Manager operating system, the DS216+ also introduces the Btrfs file system. Btrfs has advantages over EXT4 and comes with built-in data integrity check, more flexible Shared Folder/User Quota systems, advanced snapshot technology with a customizable backup schedule that allows for up to 64 copies of shared folder backups, and file or folder level data restoration. The Cloud Station with file versioning also reduces the storage consumption down to half when compared with the Ext4 file system.

So whether you need a full set of media capabilities, an easy backup solution, or business features such as Windows AD and LDAP, Windows ACL, Mail Server, VPN server, or Radius server, the DiskStation DS216+ has you covered. It is backed by a 2-year warranty and comes with an MSRP of £237.00 including VAT or €275.00 excluding VAT.

Feature Highlights

  • Dual-core CPU with AES-NI hardware encryption engine
  • Encryption performance at over 113 MB/s reading, 109 MB/s writing
  • Advanced Btrfs file system with built-in data integrity check
  • Single H.264 4K or triple Full HD video transcoding on the fly
  • Hot-swappable drive tray design for easy installation & maintenance
  • Brightness-adjustable front LED with schedule control
  • A versatile storage server for small offices

We can also spot a new feature within the product photos of this DS216+ NAS and while it is a feature that isn’t present yet, it should be on future models. At the first glance, the DS216+ looks like the previous  Synology 2-bay models. It does have the new power button and one-touch copy button with built-in LED feature, but there’s another thing hiding in plain sight on the front. There is an unused and covered slot on the front that judging from the size could be an SD Card slot. We’ve already seen Synology add an SD card slot to their RT1900ac router, so it wouldn’t be far-fetched that we could see that added to the NAS lineup too.

Synology Releases Affordable yet Powerful DS416j 4-Bay NAS

Synology has released quite a few new NAS lately and we’ve also reviewed multiple of them, but they got more waiting for customers that want to enter the world of NAS or upgrade their current solution. The newest member of the Synology family is the DS416j, a powerful yet affordable 4-bay NAS.

Synology’s DS416j is equipped with an Armada 388 Dual Core processor with 1.3GHz and it comes with 512 MB DDR3 memory. The Armada 388 should deliver plenty of power for this NAS and it also comes with built-in hardware encryption engine. Thanks to the choice of hardware, the DS416j is capable of serving you files with 112.82 MB/s when reading and 101.2 MB/s when writing. Encryption naturally takes some resources, but the DS416j is still capable of a performance around 50MB/s when reading and 37MB/s when writing. That is an increase of 58% in encrypted file transfers compared to its predecessor model.

The DS416j NAS comes with adjustable LED indicators for status, network, and all four hard disk drives. You can switch between four levels of brightness and also put them on a schedule where you turn them off when they aren’t needed. You get a single Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 connection as well as a USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 port on the rear of the unit. It sadly doesn’t have a front USB port, but we also have to remember that this is a budget device and it most likely won’t be the deal breaker for anyone.

Naturally Synology added their well known and great operating system DSM that will provide you will all the features you want and a lot more on top of that. You get easy cross-platform file sharing and synchronizing, download features, apps for playback and streaming of all sorts of media to DLNA and smart devices, as well as comprehensive backup solutions.

Synology targets home and personal users who seeks to get a massive storage capacity where they can build their own personal cloud or serve as a multimedia server. At the same time it targets those who either don’t have a big budget or just don’t want to spend a lot on their next NAS. Four-bay NAS units tend to be quite expensive, but the DS416j comes with a recommended retail price of just £220, and that already includes the VAT.

Synology DiskStation DS416 4-bay High-Performance NAS Review

Introduction


I’ve taken a look at quite a few 2-bay NAS units lately and while they already allow for an impressive 16TB raw storage, that might not be enough for everyone. Today I’m taking Synology’s DiskStation DS416, a 4-bay feature-rich and high-performance NAS server, for a spin on my test bench. The Synology DiskStation DS416 is built around an Annapurna Labs Alpine AL-212 32-bit dual-core CPU with 1.4GHz, floating point unit, and hardware encryption engine. The CPU is backed by 1GB DDR3 memory that sadly isn’t upgradable.

The DS416 is a full-fledged NAS that comes with everything you’d want from a performance system. It features dual Gigabit Ethernet network that supports all types of failover and link aggregation, allowing you to keep your system connected under heavier load or when one connection should fail. The DS416 also features three USB 3.0 ports where one of them is conveniently placed on the front of the NAS for easy access.

With powerful hardware like that, the DS416 is able to deliver an average reading and writing speeds of 220 MB/s and 140 MB/s respectively while encrypted file transfers come in at an evenly impressive 146 MB/s reading and 65 MB/s writing. Those figures naturally depend on what hard disk drives you use as well as the method of data access and your network setup.

The drive bays feature a convenient tool-free drive installation for 3.5-inch drives where as you still need screws to mount 2.5-inch drives. The latter is a rare occurrence anyway and shouldn’t be anything to bother anyone. The drive bays are covered by a removable front plate that gives the NAS a cleaner overall look by hiding away the drives. The drive bays aren’t the only thing that you can swap out in this NAS, the fans are also redundant. The DS416 incorporates a passive cooling design on the actual components and only uses two 92mm fans on the rear to keep everything at an optimal temperature. When the system detects a fan failure, the built-in redundancy mechanism ensures continuous operation until the replacement fan arrives.

The DS416 is naturally powered by DiskStation Manager (DSM), the award-winning operating system from Synology. It has a beautiful and functional user interface and all the features you will need at home or in a small to medium-sized business. It offers all the network protocols you’d want including SMB2, AFP, NFS, WebDAV, and FTP. Server admins don’t need to worry about maintaining two set of user credentials either as the DS416 comes with both Windows AD and LDAP integration. An added convenience factor is the network recycle bin that is featured on AFP, CIFS, File Station, and WebDAV. All files deleted in a shared folder will be automatically moved into the Recycle Bin instead of being destroyed.

The DS416 isn’t just an all in one server when it comes to features, it also has the power to handle it. You can easily turn your DS416 into a mail server with webmail interface, set up a VPN server connect as a VPN client, create a print server for USB printers and much more such as Radius server, Proxy server, and Syslog server features.

Creating your own personal yet comprehensive cloud solutions is no problem either with the DS416 thanks to the Cloud Station package.It is the perfect package to sync files across multiple devices, perform offline edits and later synced them, and keep up to 32 historical versions for easy restoration. You also got all the normal backup features that you’ll want such as 2-way sync between different DiskSations as well as support for commercial cloud services such as Glacier Backup and HiDrive Backup.

The Synology DiskStation DS416 has a comprehensive security package, starting with AES 256-bit encryption but also more advanced setups like 2-step verification. It also comes with AppArmor that can block malicious programs from accessing unauthorized system resources and you can customize the trust level in the package center to only accept apps from certain publishers. The built-in firewall is another useful feature just as the Denial of Service (DoS) protection. Antivirus can also be downloaded and installed for that extra level of security. Overall, everything you need to keep your data safe from malicious code and people.

Synology also offers a row of mobile apps that you can use to easy connection and usage of your NAS from your mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. The apps include DS note, DS audio, DS video, DS photo+, DS cloud, DS file, DS download and DS cam.

Feature Highlights

  • Dual-core CPU with hardware encryption engine
  • Dual LAN with failover and link aggregation support
  • Over 221.05MB/s reading, 139.51MB/s writing
  • Effective backup solution for all desktop and mobile devices
  • Front USB 3.0 for fast easy access
  • Hot-swappable & tool-less hard drive tray design
  • Running on Synology DiskStation Manager (DSM)

Packaging and Accessories

The Synology DS416 comes in a simple brown package with a sticker for model inside. It has all the relevant features presented as well as an image of the unit that is inside.

The rear of the box has a second sticker with some of the hardware highlights.

Inside the box, next to the NAS itself, you’ll find an AC adapter with power cable for the region where you purchased it, two RJ45 LAN cables, screws for use with 2.5-inch drives, and a Welcome and Quick Installation Guide. Everything you need to get it setup and I like that Synology included two LAN cables so users can get port trunking up and running right away.

Synology Router RT1900ac High-Speed Wireless Router Review

Introduction


Synology has a long experience producing network attached storage and surveillance devices so it was just a matter of time before they expanded into more similar areas. They got the knowhow and the expertise to do so and today I’m taking a closer look at their first router, the Synology Router RT1900ac Wireless Gigabit Ethernet router.

Let us first have a look at the basic hardware specifications. The Synology RT1900ac is built around a powerful dual-core CPU with a 1GHz clock speed and it comes with 256MB DDR3 memory. The dual-band 802.11ac wireless router can transfer with up to 1300 Mbps on the 5GHz band and up to 600 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band. It is equipped with three external and replaceable MIMO omni-directional high-gain dipole antennas with 3.5 dBi for the 2.4GHz band and 4.6 dBi for the 5GHz band.

With a hardware base like that, you don’t need to worry about lags or bottlenecks. The RT1900ac has four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports and one Gigabit Ethernet WAN port, all located on the rear in-between the three antenna mounts. The RT1900ac features a power button which is a nice thing to see on a router and while it isn’t a feature that is used a lot, it is great to have when needed.

Both the wired and wireless network connections will benefit from Synology’s bandwidth prioritization and network traffic control system that allows you to prioritize the important traffic such as your games. After all, you will always want to have the lowest latency that will give you that extra edge on the virtual battlefield. But that doesn’t mean that the Synology RT1900ac only is good for gaming, it is also awesome for streaming. You can enjoy buffer-free playback of your 4K movies when streaming them to your media devices around the house.

You don’t even need other devices in order to stream your favourite movies, shows, or music to your smart TVs and audio systems as the RT1900ac is DLNA compatible and comes with both a USB 3.0 and an SD card slot. You can also use it to stream from other network storage locations should you not want to use the direct storage features.

The access to connected devices isn’t just limited to media streaming. You can share any files on a USB storage drive or SD card (SDXC) via the Synology RT1900ac and access the contents from anywhere as well as share files with family, friends, and coworkers. The RT1900 supports all the common protocols such as SMB, AFP, FTP, or WebDAV. Whether you use a Windows PC, a Mac, an Android, or an iOS device, you’ll have access to it all.

As mentioned, Synology has quite some experience within the network area and they naturally created a great operating system for their new router. The new operating system is called Synology Router Manager (SRM) and it includes both basic and advanced tools such as VPN support, RADIUS server, and more.

The operating system is very similar to DSM, Synology’s NAS operating system, and comes with the same user-friendly interface and multi-task abilities. You can also go beyond the basic and pre-installed features and download more functions through the Package Center. Transform your router into a personal VPN server, professional RADIUS authentication server, 24/7 download hub or make it into your multimedia hub. The choice is yours.

We have seen two out of four sides on the new Synology Router RT1900ac so far and below is the third side where we also find features to highlight – there is something everywhere on this router. On this side we find a button to turn the Wi-Fi completely off and back on again for when it isn’t needed. There is a growing concern among some people who fear that exposure to wireless signals of all sort can affect us and those people, and everyone else too, have the ability to easy switch the wireless signals on and off depending on when they are needed.

Next to the Wi-Fi on-off switch we find the WPS button for easy connectivity between the router and other devices. A simple touch of the button on both devices and they will pair with each other and establish a connection. No need to search for the correct Wi-Fi network among all the possible ones and no need to enter any complicated passwords.

There is one more thing that I haven’t shown you yet and that is located right on the front of the router, around the corner from the USB port and SD card slot, and it is the one button that I have been missing on every single device with these ports since they came into existence. A hardware eject button. Simply press the button and the operating system will safely unmount the drive and make it ready for safe ejection. This is so much easier than having to log into an administration interface just to press a button to eject the drive.

Now that we’ve seen what the Synology Router RT1900ac is all about, it is time to mount the antennas and get a closer look at them. The squared antennas look out of the norm and fit well with the router. Synology also added smart Beamforming technology that lets the RT1900ac focus wireless signals toward up to six simultaneous devices and thereby increase the range, reduce the latency, and economize the power consumption.

Synology packed the Router RT1900ac with quite a few great features such as application layer quality of service (QoS) that lets you see how much bandwidth is consumed by individual applications and devices and then lets you restrict the amount of bandwidth the device or application is allowed to use. It also comes with parental controls such as time scheduling for individual devices as well as intelligent and manual web filtering.

Synology also added support for their QuickConnect service which makes remote control and access as easy as the local. Just register a unique and customizable QuickConnect ID, and you’ll to be able to log in to Synology Router Manager, access connected storage devices, and do much more from anywhere with an Internet connection.

Packaging and Accessories

Synology packed the RT1900ac in a simple brown box which is all that is needed. It has a sticker on the front showcasing the router itself and its feature highlights.

The rear side of the box has another sticker with a few more details and the device’s specifications and usage scenario as well as what the package contains.

Inside the package is a power adapter with connection options for the region where you purchased the device, in this case there is a UK and a slim-EU plug included. There are also three high-gain antennas and the extra stand in case you should want to have it in an upright position.

Synology RT1900ac and More on Display @ CES 2016

CES 2016: We’re here at the Synology booth at Digital Experiences CES, and on display is their latest RT1900ac router. Equipped with super fast connectivity, dual band support, and 3×3 MiMO streams of up to 1900Mbps, the RT1900ac is a fantastic solution for the tech-loving household, as it’ll manage all the streaming media, NAS, gaming systems, mobile devices and more with ease!

It’s a pretty slick looking unit too, perhaps not the fanciest, but when it comes down to the practical aspects, it has all the features you are likely ever to need and no doubt even more.

Also on display, some of the latest Synology NAS setups, including their more affordable ranges, nothing particularly new, but when it comes to NAS, Synology make some of the best in the business, so it’s always nice to see them out on show.

We look forward to bringing you even more information on these products shortly, as well as full reviews of the products throughout the year.

Synology DiskStation DS216play 2-Bay Multimedia-Optimized NAS Review

Introduction


Synology’s 2-bay play series has been very popular among users due to its great features and functionality coupled with a low asking price. Today I’m taking a closer look at the newest model in this series, the DS216play, a NAS featuring a powerful dual-core CPU with hardware H.264 and H.265 transcoding support and floating point unit.

Let us dive right into the hardware on this little NAS. The CPU is an STM STiH412 32-bit dual-core processor with 1.5GHz and floating point unit. The hardware transcoding engine is capable of the H.265 (HEVC), MPEG-4 Part 2, MPEG-2, and VC-1 codecs and it can work with a maximum resolution of up to 4K (3840 x 2160 pixels) at up to 30 frames per second. It allows you to transcode 4K videos to 1080p, making them suitable for all screens and bandwidths whether they are local media players or remote mobile devices. In addition, you can also stream original 4K resolution videos to your multimedia player or 4K TV within a local network environment. The CPU is backed by 1GB DDR3 memory which should be sufficient for its area of operation.

With those hardware specifications, the DS216play is able to deliver an average speed of 107 MB/s when reading and 91 MB/s when writing on a RAID 1 configuration from a Windows environment. The built-in floating-point unit enhances the overall capability of the main CPU and it is particularly advantageous in speeding up thumbnail creations when uploading a lot of photos or videos.

One of the main features of a NAS like this is to stream media files to a whole lot of devices. The DS216play can act as a DLNA certified DMS (Digital Media Server), allowing you to stream multimedia contents, such as music, photos, and videos, to DLNA compliant devices. It can also stream to pretty much any other device such as mobile phones and tablets, TVs, and stereos. Synology also offers support for Samsung TV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast and Roku players.

Three of the official and very popular apps on the DS216play are the Photo Station, Video Station, and Audio Station. They provide a streamlined and sleek interface that turn your NAS into an entertainment hub. The Video Station allows you to browse and manage all your movies, TV shows, and home videos and build up a smart video library with those. The Photo Station is the same, just for still pictures, and it also allows you to create web albums or blogs to record and share the exciting moments of your lives with others. The Audio Station can create your own audio streaming service where you can build a personal music center and stream music directly from your Synology NAS to other devices. You can rate your songs and sort music into smart playlists according to the rating. Plus, sharing a playlist with others is as simple as creating a sharing link and sending it to your friends.

Thanks to Synology’s QuickConnect, you can easily access all the NAS functions no matter where in the world you are, as long as the NAS and you both have an internet connection. It is a very simple DDNS service that takes care of all the settings for you. All you need to do is log in. This allows you to create your own personal cloud service where you don’t need to rely on costly monthly plans or storage limits. You can still connect your NAS to public cloud offerings such as Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, Box, hubiC, and Baidu Cloud as well as Amazon S3, Glacier cloud service, Microsoft Azure, SFR, and hicloud.

The Synology DS216play supports plenty of backup methods for both Windows and Mac users with the use of Cloud Station. Whenever you modify a file, the changes are backed up to the DS216play automatically. Mac OS users can also use Apple Time Machine. Backups to and from another Synology NAS is also supported, just as rsync servers, external drives, and cloud services can be used as backup targets.

Speaking of external devices, the DS216play has one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 port for external storage devices, printers, or wireless adapters. There is one Gigabit Ethernet port for the network connectivty and the entire unit is cooled by a 92mm fan.

So far I have talked a lot about the media capabilities on the DS216play NAS, but we shouldn’t forget that NAS stands for network attached storage. The DS216play naturally supports everything it needs to here from Samba (SMB2) for Windows and Mac OS users as well as AFP and NFS. Should you use WebDAV for your credentials, then that is supported too. AFP, CIFS, File Station and WebDAV also support network recycle bins for extra safety. An FTP service is also included by default, one of the oldest and most universal file transfer protocls around.

The File Station is a fast and secure feature for sharing and managing your files stored on DS216play. Just drag and drop to upload data from Mac or PC. Advanced filters make it easy to search for documents, photos, or videos and it also has a built-in FTP and email client. IT lets you organize and share files through an advanced web application and you can even share files and folders with others by simply sending a link. Files can be reached on mobile devices via the companion mobile app DS file. Both HTTPS and SSL/TLS encryption are featured for secure transfers and you can even set link expiry dates.

Synology built the DS216play in the well-known two-piece chassis, this time in black. It is simple yet effective with the only downside of not having front-accessible drive bays. On the other hand, home users are the intended market for a NAS like this and it is not like they’re switching and swapping drives all the time.

Feature Highlights

  • 4K Ultra HD video transcoding on the fly
  • Powerful dual-core CPU with H.265 codec support
  • 107.7 MB/s Reading, 91.47 MB/s Writing
  • DLNA certified for media streaming
  • Powered by Synology DiskStation Manager (DSM)

Packaging and Accessories

The Synology DiskStation DS216play comes in a simple brown box with a sticker highlighting the NAS model and its features.

The physical characteristics are detailed a little bit more on the rear where it also lists the hardware specifications.

Inside the box, next to the NAS itself, we find a power cable and AC/DC converter, a LAN cable, screws for the drives and the chassis itself as well as a Quick Installation Guide to get you going.

Synology DS216se 2-Bay Entry-Level and Cloud NAS Review

Introduction


I’ve reviewed quite a few high-end NAS lately and that isn’t the right match for everyone, maybe because you just have a limited budget or you just don’t need more. Today I’m taking a closer look at the Synology DS216se, a budget friendly 2-bay NAS that allows you to set up your own personal cloud for your files and backups as well as serving as traditional NAS for file storage and media streaming.

The Synology DS216se isn’t just a budget-friendly NAS when you purchase it, it keeps being a cost-effective NAS thanks to the low power consumption of just 14 watts while accessing and 5 watts when the hard drives go into sleep mode. You can further lower the running costs with the new scheduled power on and off feature. After all, there is no need to have the NAS running when you don’t need it.

Synology built the DS216se with a 32-bit Marvell Armada 370 (88F6707) ARM v7-based SoC that comes with built-in floating point engine, 256K L2 cache, and running at 800MHz. Along with the CPU, the DS216se features 256MB DDR3 memory soldered onto the PCB.

The built-in floating-point unit enhances the overall performance of the CPU, but it is particularly advantageous in speeding up thumbnail creation when uploading large amounts of photos or videos. The DS216se can deliver an average speed of 102 MB/s while reading and over 59 MB/s while writing in a RAID 1 configuration from a Windows environment. The NAS also features two USB 2.0 ports for printers or storage and one Gigabit Ethernet port for connectivity.

Synology’s QuickConnect allows a DDNS setup with much less hassle than the traditional DDNS providers offer. You can skip your network configuration and eliminate the manual port forwarding, make it work for all your NAS users, and even use it without a public IP address. That makes it easy to access your data from anywhere, may you be away or at home and whether you use a stationary or a mobile device.

This makes it extremely easy to create your personal cloud setup, freeing you up from costly monthly plans as well as the risk of large level data breaches. Store everything safely at home and access it securely via encrypted connections. The link expiry dates also ensure file sharing over the Internet is highly secure.

You can easily connect from Windows, Mac, and Linux systems with the use of FTP, SMB2, AFP, NFS and WebDAV with network recycle bin where supported. The Cloud Station is a simple way to back up everything to your NAS and it also supports Apple Time Machine for the Mac OS users. You can create backup jobs to and from the NAS, to other NAS, and to public cloud services such as Amazon S3, Amazon Glacier, Microsoft Azure, SFR, and Hicloud. You can also sync your NAS with Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, Box, hubiC, and Baidu Cloud. So no matter what type of backup and in what direction, this NAS can do it.

Backup and syncing are just one thing, but the main feature of a NAS is still to store files and serve these in various scenarios. Next to the normal file sharing for app common operating systems, the DS216se also supports streaming to Samsung TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, and Roku. The Photo Station, Video Station, and Audio Station apps allow you to build easy to navigate libraries and watch the content on pretty much any system, essentially turning your NAS into an entertainment hub.

The File Station app is a fast and secure feature for sharing and managing your files stored on DS216se. Just drag-n-drop data from a Mac or a PC to upload your files. Advanced filters make it easy to search for documents, photos, and videos and it also comes with a built-in FTP and email client. The DS216se also lets you organize and share files through an advanced web application where you can even share files and folders with others by simply sending a link. Files can be reached on mobile devices via the companion mobile app DS file while HTTPS and SSL/TLS encryption, as well as link expiry dates ensure file sharing over the Internet is as secure as it can be.

Synology got a long list of other mobile apps available for both your Android and iOS devices, such as the DS note, DS audio, DS video, DS photo+, DS cloud, DS file, DS download and DS cam apps. They allow you to access and manage the contents of your DS216se with smartphones and tablets. Thanks to the previously mentioned QuickConnect, it makes this just as easy while you’re on the road as when you’re at home and connected to the same local network.

The Synology DS216se is built-in a classic 2-piece design with a large fan at the rear that needs to be taken apart to install or switch hard disk drives. By default, the DS216se only supports 3.5-inch drives, but optional 2.5-inch adapters can be purchased should you want to use smaller HDD or SSDs.

Feature Highlights

  • Floating point unit enabled for multimedia processing
  • Affordable 2-Bay personal cloud for file sharing & backup
  • Consumes only 5.12W in hibernation
  • Scheduled power on/off further reduces energy consumption
  • DLNA®-Certified media server
  • Running on Synology DiskStation Manager (DSM)

Packaging and Accessories

The Synology DS216se package follows the simple and eco-friendly design and it comes without any fancy and unnecessary colourful print. Both the front and the back showcase a big Synology NAS logo, so there is no doubt what’s inside.

The side has a sticker showing you what is inside with a picture of the device itself, what hardware it has, and what content the box has inside.

Unpacking the box we find a Quick Installation guide to get you going, an RJ45 LAN cable for network connectivity as well as a power supply brick with connector cable for the region you purchased it in and screws for the drives and enclosure.

Synology Introduces the DiskStation DS216 2-Bay NAS

We’ve recently seen Synology release both the DS216se and DS216play, and now it is time for the DS216 to enter the market. Synology introduced the new 2-bay NAS and announced the immediate availability of the same. Synology’s DiskStation DS216 is the direct successor to the DS214 and it is quite an upgrade.

The DS216 is powered by a dual-core Marvell Armada 385 CPU that runs are 1.3GHz and is backed by 512MB DDR3 memory. The Marvel Armada 385 CPU comes with built-in hardware encryption engine that can increase the performance with encrypted files up to 49% while reading and 110% while writing compared to the DS214. Encryption becomes a thing more and more people want to utilize which makes this a great selling point. The CPU also features a floating point unit that especially speeds up the creation of thumbnails, but overall helps with the performance of the system.

With that hardware at its disposal, the DS216 can provide a read/write performance of 111.18 MB/s in writing and over 112.79 MB/s in reading.

Synology’s DS216 features one USB 2.0 port on the front where it also has a one-touch copy button and it has another two USB 3.0 ports on the rear next to the RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet port. Other than that, the DS216 doesn’t have any more connectivity, but what would you want more?

The two-bay NAS supports up to 16TB volumes with its two bays and 8TB drives, a storage amount that should be plenty for most people. The front panel is removable and behind it are two drive trays that support hot-swapping and easy tool-free installation.

A nice touch is that you can adjust the LED brightness on the front of the NAS, allowing you to tune it down where it otherwise would be too bright and just annoying. Perfect for living room placements where you don’t want a lot of blinking lights all the time. Other than that, the DS216 features all the other great functions that we know and love from the DSM operating system.

The DS216 is backed by a 2-year limited warranty and is available now worldwide for an MSRP of £204.00 and €240.00.

Synology RT1900ac Router Now Officially Available

It has been about five months since we first saw Synology’s take on a router during our visit at Computex and it already won the Computex Best Choice Golden Award at that time. This awesome little router can also be yours now as Synology announced the official release and global availability on the Router RT1900ac.

Synology has a long experience with network connected devices, so the move into the router market seems a logical one and it is also one that makes me hope that they’ll release smart switches for home users in the future. The RT1900ac Synology Router is equipped with a dual-core 1GHz processor and comes with 256MB DDR memory. The 3×3 MIMO omnidirectional antennas support both the 2.4GHz band with 3.5dBi and the 5GHz band with 4.dBi, quite a bit more than the average 5dBi combined antennes often found in routers. This should ensure great connectivity for wireless devices.

The RT1900ac has four Gigabit RJ45 LAN ports and one WAN port on the rear where it also features a power button, something that’s often forgotten on routers.

The WAN port supports Dynamic IP, Static IP, and PPPoE and the router is IPv6 ready for both the server and client side. IGMP snooping, UPnP, port triggers, DMZ, and VPN are all included so you’ll find all the features you want from a router.

On the right side, it features a USB 3.0 port and a SD card slot for direct storage attachment as well as a multitude of other options. The RT1900ac only features this one USB port, which could be to little for some people considering what you can use it for. First there naturally is the ability to connect external storage devices and share the content with everyone who has access to the router, but it can also be used for network connected printers as well as 3G/4G/LTE USB modems. With all these abilities, it seems a bit low with just one port.

A really nice feature added by Synology is the eject button located on the front. This is something that I have been missing on headless units such as routers and NAS devices for many years. Pressing the button will unmount the connected storage, USB or SD card, and allow for a secure removal of the storage.

The left side of the router features a Wi-Fi on and off switch as well as a WPS button for quick and easy connection of new devices to your wireless network.

Speaking of wireless network, the Synology RT1900ac features IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac connectivity with up to 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and up to 1300Mbps on the 5GHz band simultaneously. The router features beamforming, scheduled Wi-Fi access, and can maintain up to 70 connected devices and supports at least 40 connected devices that are concurrently transmitting data.

A new product series also needs a new operating system and Synology created the Synology Router Manager (SRM) that includes advanced traffic tools that surpass the common router. With the Network Center application, you can limit bandwidth consumption, block malicious content, and fine-tune how data travels through your home or office network.

You get a download station, media server, and radius server too along with more possibilities through add-ons, this router really seems to have it all.

The router and all connected devices are easily accessible from everywhere thanks to Synology’s quick connect DDNS feature and the mobile iOS and Android apps. It supports all common file formats, so it’s also compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac OS systems.

The Synology RT1900ac is currently listed for sale starting at €154.65, which is a really nice price for a router in this category and even more considering the functions, features, and abilities it brings along.

We currently have the Synology RT1900ac here in the network test area and will have a full review of the router available for you shortly.

 

Synology DS716+ Now Officially Available Worldwide

Synology officially announced the worldwide availability on the successor of the DiskStation DS713+ NAS, the brand new DS716+ with upgraded CPU and 4K video transcoding abilities.

The new Synology DS716+ is built with an Intel Celeron N3150 quad-core CPU running at 1.6GHz and has a burst speed up to 2.08GHz and that comes with a 256-bit AES-NI hardware encryption engine. Synology coupled that with 2GB DDR3 system memory, making the DS716+ a very capable 2-bay NAS unit for growing businesses. The DS716+ comes with excellent transfer speeds thanks to dual Gigabit Ethernet ports and support for both BTRFS and EXT4 file formats on the internal drives. It is able to perform with 223 MB/s while reading and 137 MB/s while writing unencrypted data and still maintain an impressive 218 MB/s when reading and 141 MB/s when writing encrypted data.

Synology added three USB 3.0 ports, one on the front and two on the back, for easy storage expansion as well as connectivity of printers and UPS devices. I am personally a big fan of eSATA ports and as such it pleases me that Synology also included that on the DS716+. USB is great, but it doesn’t hold up to a native SATA connection and makes expansion a lot easier. Speaking of expansion, the DS716+ 2-bay NAS can be expanded with the use of a Synology expansion unit DX513, allowing it to support up to 7 HDDs at ones and have 56TB raw storage. It is naturally also compatible with the smaller 2-bay expansion unit.

Thanks to the new quad-core N3150 CPU, the DS716+ is capable of real-time H.264 4K Ultra HD video transcoding, providing a complete support to the latest multimedia file formats. The noise level is rated at just 18dBA and the silent NAS doesn’t consume much power either: only about 26W during access and 9W when the hard disks hibernate.

Synology fans will also notice a subtle little improvement on the old physical layout over previous models and I personally quite like it. We find a USB copy button on the front and both that button and the power button changed to feature an LED stripe.

Synology is backing the DS716+ with a 3-year warranty and it is available for a price starting at €451.92.

 

Synology Announces the Official Release of Surveillance Station 7.1

Following a successful beta phase, Synology announced the official release of Surveillance Station 7.1. The new version delivers a more thoughtful and efficient design, features Real-Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP), multicast support, and refined alerts and notifications for an even better management experience.

“In this version, we focus on optimising the mechanics and performance of Surveillance Station as well as developing the compatibility of ONVIF protocol, in order to provide the best and easy-to-use surveillance solution to our customers,” said Chad Chiang, Product Manager at Synology Inc. “We express our thanks to the users who spent time testing the beta version and working with Synology to ensure a better and more secure surveillance solution.”

With support for Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP), the video streaming performance is increased and provides a more fluent experience when watching feeds and it can also be used to easily integrate video streams into third-party systems. Multicast support now also means that video feeds can be streamed to multiple clients via a single transmission, thereby reducing the load on your Synology NVR or NAS, but tit does require your router to support IGMP.

The Advanced Live View Alerts and Notifications provide a more refined management for large-scale deployments. If you got hundreds of cameras to monitor, you can’t do it one-by-one. Live View Analytics alerts are displayed for cameras that are not included in the Live View layout and events can be directly highlighted on an E-map, allowing users to quickly see the camera and location of suspicious events.

Synology also made several under-the-hood modification that will allow for even better usage of the Surveillance Station. ONVIF Profile G is now supported and it brings more options to cameras that have rotation and focus features. The database structure has also been refined and a dedicated multipart link between host and recording servers was added.

Surveillance Station 7.1 is available now in the Package Center and comes with two camera licenses at no extra cost. It is supported by the following Synology models:

  • 16-series: RS18016xs+, RS2416(RP)+, DS416, DS216play, DS216se
  • 15-series: RC18015xs+, RS815(RP)+, RS815, DS3615xs, DS2415+, DS2015xs, DS1815+, DS1515+, DS1515, DS715, DS415+, DS415play, DS215+, DS215j, DS115, DS115j
  • 14-series: RS3614xs+, RS3614(RP)xs, RS2414(RP)+, RS814(RP)+, RS814, DS414, DS414slim, DS414j, DS214+, RS214, DS214, DS214play, DS214se, DS114
  • 13-series: RS10613xs+, RS3413xs+, DS2413+, DS1813+, DS1513+, DS713+, DS413, DS413j, DS213+, DS213, DS213j, DS213air
  • 12-series: DS3612xs, RS3412(RP)xs, RS2212(RP)+, DS1812+, DS1512+, RS812+, RS812, DS712+, DS412+, RS212, DS212+, DS212, DS212j, DS112+, DS112, DS112j
  • 11-series: DS3611xs, RS3411(RP)xs, DS2411+, RS2211(RP)+, DS1511+, RS411, DS411+II, DS411+, DS411, DS411j, DS411slim, DS211+, DS211, DS211j, DS111
  • 10-series: DS1010+, RS810(RP)+, DS410, DS410j, DS710+, DS210+, DS210j, DS110+, DS110j

Synology Announces DiskStation Manager 6.0 Beta

It has been a little while since Synology released the last major update for their award-winning NAS operating system, but now it is here, t least in its beta form. Synology officially announced the beta release of their DiskStation Manager, or DSM for short, as version 6.0 beta. The new system architecture will be much more efficient thanks to the upgrade to 64-bit architecture on compatible models as well as modularisation of a greater number of applications.

There are several new and pretty awesome features in DSM 6.0 beta, where on of them is the Docker DSM. Businesses can create a multi-tenant environment with flexible resource control and secured isolation. All Docker DSMs run independently from each other and provide additional features such as live migration. Synology’s multi-version backup provides snapshot and replication to one or more remote sites, up to every 5 minutes, and block-level incremental backup and cross-version deduplication is also included. You’re well covered here.

There’s also a new Spreadsheet feature with co-editing, historical versions, tag, and file sharing link as part of Note Station. Offline editing, one-click email clipping, and instant table-chart conversion is also part of the deal. Apple Watch users can now enjoy the Note Station even more as it is now compatible with the Watch. Owners of an Apple Watch can now check notes directly on their wrist, or create new notes via voice input.

MailPlus server comes with active-active architecture, load balancing, and content filters and allows you to have a great mail solution running right from your own location. The clients are browser- and mobile-based and feature physical mailbox, virtual labels, auto-filter, and sticker.

Cloud Station Server and Cloud Sync now provide users with flexible synchronization of files within specified subfolders in addition to shared folders. Small file syncing has now become over 8 times faster than before which is great as those small files often come in big groups. Synology also revamped the Video station for this new version. It now supports offline transcoding, on-screen buttons, and Windows 10. DS Audio got Apple Watch support now too, to allow users to select songs, playlists, and broadcasts directly.

These are just a few of the things that Synology’s DSM 6.0 beta has to offer. You can also check out the new mini-site, release notes, or just go ahead and download it if you can’t wait any longer.

Supported models:

  • 16-series: RS18016xs+, RS2416(RP)+
  • 15-series: RC18015xs+, RS815(RP)+, RS815, DS3615xs, DS2415+, DS2015xs, DS1815+, DS1515+, DS1515, DS715, DS415+, DS415play, DS215+, DS215j, DS115, DS115j
  • 14-series: RS3614xs+, RS3614(RP)xs, RS2414(RP)+, RS814(RP)+, RS814, RS214, DS414, DS414j, DS414slim, DS214+, DS214, DS214play, DS214se, DS114
  • 13-series: RS10613xs+, RS3413xs+, DS2413+, DS1813+, DS1513+, DS713+, DS413, DS413j, DS213+, DS213, DS213air, DS213j
  • 12-series: RS3412(RP)xs, RS2212(RP)+, RS812(RP)+, RS812, RS212, DS3612xs, DS1812+, DS1512+, DS712+, DS412+, DS212+, DS212, DS212j, DS112+, DS112, DS112j
  • 11-series: RS3411(RP)xs, RS2211(RP)+, RS411, DS3611xs, DS2411+, DS1511+, DS411+II, DS411+, DS411, DS411j, DS411slim, DS211+, DS211, DS211j, DS111

Oh, and don’t forget: Synology also rewards beta testers that provide valuable feedback. Three winners will be selected during each beta stage and they each win a Synology DS215j NAS. The winners will be chosen based on the significance of issues discovered and reported, time spent cooperating with Synology’s Support Team in solving the issues, as well as helpfulness of recommendations for making DSM 6.0 even better.

Synology Releases 3 New High-value NAS Servers for Homes and Businesses

Synology announced not one, not two, but three new NAS units that should provide plenty of features for a moderate price. Three three new NAS units are the DS216se 2-bay NAS, DS216play 2-bay NAS, and DS416 four-bay NAS.

Let’s start out with the biggest model, the DS416. It is the replacement for the DS414 NAS and the new DS4166 features a 1.4GHz dual-core processor (Annapurna Labs Alpine AL212) with hardware encryption engine and floating point unit. It comes with 1GB RAM and features dual Gigabit Ethernet with failover and link aggregation. You also get three USB 3.0 ports where one of them is on the front of the unit.

With Link Aggregation, the DS416 delivers over 221MB/s while reading from an RAID5 array, and over 139MB/s writing. The hardware encryption engine helps a lot when encryption is needed and the DS416 can still deliver up to 146MB/s reading and 65MB/s writing here. That is an easy 90% gain on encrypted file performance over the predecessor.

The cheapest of the three new Synology NAS is the DiskStation DS216se, a budget-friendly two-bay NAS device with the capability to host, share and protect data. This could be a great NAS for people who want to enter the world of NAS users without blowing their budget.

The DS216se features a Marvell Armada 370 800MHz with floating point unit that helps in a lot of scenarios, but especially when creating thumbnails and similar media related operations. However, the built-in floating-point unit generally enhances the overall capability of the CPU. The DS216se only features 256M DDR3 RAM, so you shouldn’t multitask too much with it. The DS216se delivers an average 102 MB/s reading speed under RAID 1 configuration and over 59 MB/s writing.

Two USB 2.0 ports on the rear allow the connection of portable storage drives for easy backup both ways. There is a single Gigabit Ethernet connection that should be plenty for most people’s home NAS needs. You can also connect it wirelessly with optional USB dongles if you should wish to do so.

With the DSM operating system at hand, you got a lot of useful features such as DLNA streaming, UPnP setup, and much more. A great feature for home users is the scheduled on and off times that help you to save electricity, live greener, and also extend the lifetime of the hardware.

The third and last new Synology NAS is the DiskStation DS216play, the successor to the highly popular entry-level DS214play NAS. The new DS216play features a better processor and comes with a dual-core 1.5GHz featuring hardware transcoding engine and 1GB RAM. The new processor in the DS216play allows for real-time transcoding of 4K Ultra HD source content (H.265) for a perfect multimedia experience on all devices. The CPU is an STM STiH412 dual-core with 1.5GHz that also features both hardware encryption and floating point unit.

The DS216play features one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 port on the rear of the NAS as well as a single Gigabit Ethernet connection.

The name suggests play and that is in regards of media playback and not playing games and the DS216play could be a great solution for this. With its real-time transcoding abilities, support for DVB-T and DVB-S sticks and video recording as well as the general file serving options for pretty much all systems, including Windows, Linux, MacOS, iOS, and Android, there isn’t much that the NAS can’t do in that regards. DLNA support is also part of the deal.

 

All three NAS are backed by a two-year warranty. The DS216se has an MSRP of £98.40, the DS216play £186.00, and the DS416 has an MSRP of £330. Prices including VAT and all three NAS units should be available now.

Synology Announces RackStation RS2416+ and RS2416RP+ NAS

Synology unveiled their newest rackmounted NAS dubbed the RS2416+ and RS2416RP+ that features a redundant PSU. The 12-bay NAS can easily be expanded on the fly for up to 24 drives and should bring a good performance thanks to great hardware.

The Synology RS2416+ is equipped with a quad-core Atom C2538 CPU and comes with built-in AES-NI hardware encryption engine, and 2GB RAM that is expandable up to 6GB. The NAS comes with four Gigabit Ethernet ports that support failover and Link Aggregation as well as two USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports.

The RS2416+ supports the Btrfs file system and offers metadata mirroring and checksums that guarantee a higher level of data availability and survivability. Snapshots can be automatically captured as frequently as every five minutes, allowing businesses to go back in time and recover previous versions of files and folders. You can set it to retain up to 256 daily, weekly, or monthly snapshots when equipped with expanded memory.

 

“Small- and medium-sized enterprises need a storage solution that grows with them, while also ensuring past documents, records, and other important data are protected against human error or unforeseen hardware errors. With advanced data protection and integrity mechanisms, the new RS2416+/RS2416RP+ provides the ideal choice for storing a business’ crucial data,” said Michael Wang, Product Manager at Synology Inc.

Both the RS2416+ and the RS2416RP+ with redundant PSU are now shipping globally. The MSRP for the RS2416+ is set to £1290 inc VAT and €1380 before taxes. The RS2416RP+ UK MSRP is £1620 inc VAT and €1825 before taxes.

Synology DiskStation DS215+ 2-Bay NAS and All-In-One Server Review

Introduction


Last month I had the pleasure to take a look at the Synology DS715 [review here] 2-bay NAS and today I continue with Synology’s second recently released NAS, the Synology DiskStation DS215+.

The DS215+ is an all-in-one 2-bay NAS server that offers high performance while staying energy-efficient and providing a full set of business features. The dual-core CPU is powerful enough to handle multi-tasking applications and can help small and medium businesses to centralize their backups, protect critical assets, and share files quickly and efficiently – and that on a budget.

Inside the DiskStation DS215+, we find an Annapurna AL-212 dual core ARM processor with 1.4GHz with floating point unit and hardware encryption engine and 1GB DDR3 memory.

There are plenty of connection options on the DS215+ starting with the two Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 ports that allow you to set all modes of failover and link aggregation, including IEEE 802.3ad. The unit has two USB 3.0 ports for external drives and other devices as well as an eSATA port. Readers familiar with my reviews will know that I love it when they add the eSATA port as it is my preferred method of attaching external storage as it doesn’t have the same latency as USB does.

The hardware encryption engine coupled with the other improvements allow this unit to deliver twice the performance over the predecessor when dealing with encrypted storage.

Synology’s drive trays in these units are awesome and allow for a speedy setup as well as maintenance. The screw and tool-less design is as simple to use as pulling the sides off, inserting the drive and putting them back on. The trays are also lockable which is another bonus. You don’t eject them by accident and no false friend runs off with your drives that easy.

The software part is well covered by Synology’s DiskStation Manager (DSM), an operating system that has won a lot of rewards, and all well deserved. It comes with most basic and used features as standard and you’ll most likely find what is missing there in the add-on section. DSM is real easy to use and has great multi-tasking support.

One of the great features of DSM is the File station, a fast and secure way for sharing and managing your files stored on the DS215+. It has built-in FTP and email clients and allows drag and drop of files from both Windows and Mac OS systems. Mobile systems can do the same with the DS file app. HTTPS, SSL/TLS encryption, and link expiry dates also ensure file sharing over the Internet stays secure.

The basic file sharing on your network isn’t any problem for the DS215+ either as it supports it all. SMB2, FTP, NFS, WbDAV, windows AD and LDAP – you’ll find it all. Network recycle bin is also available on both AFP and CIFS shares.

The DS215+ allows for seamless account integration thanks to the User Home feature that automatically creates user folders to minimize effort while the Windows ACL support allows admins to fine-tune access controls and set up privileges through a familiar interface.

This is truly an all-in-one server as it is labeled with everything it supports. From file storage and media streaming over Mail servers and VPN servers, the DS215+ lets you do it all. It can also work as a print server with your USB printers and share them over the network as well as act as DNS server, Directory Server, RADIUS Server, DHCP Server, and Log Center. All that in one tiny box.

With the support of Windows AD, LDAP, and Domain Trust, DS215+ enables seamless account integration. The User Home feature can automatically create a “home” folder for every user account to minimize the administrator’s effort in repeatedly creating “home” folders for all accounts. Windows ACL support on DS215+ allows IT administrators to fine-tune access controls and set up privileges to files and folders on DS215+ through the familiar Windows user interface. With compatibility for major protocols, DS215+ can eliminate server configuration overhead and enhance IT administrators’ efficiency.

 

Backup and storage works in many ways and one very useful is the personal cloud the DS215+ allows you to set up. The Cloud Station allows you to sync files between devices in online and offline mode. The Cloud Station can remember up to 32 historical versions, encrypts the traffic, and can also sync between different NAS stations as well as mobile devices.

Security isn’t just well covered in the Cloud Station and Drives with the AES 256-bit encryption, the DS215+ also supports Antivirus and basic network security. You can also enable two-step verification for your users.

All of Synology’s mobile apps work great with this device, may they be DS note, DS audio, DS video, DS photo+, DS cloud, DS file, DS download, and DS cam. Everything right at your fingertips and on your smartphone or tablet.

 

That is a lot of functionality and features in one little device and one that saves both the environment and your wallet thanks to the low power consumption. When the HDDs hibernate, the DS215+ consumes just about 9W and less than 21 W when accessed. Thinking small can pay off in the long run.

Synology Releases Rackmounted NAS Scalable up to 1.4PB

If you can’t get enough storage space then Synology might have a good answer for you with their latest NAS and expansion units that together provide the biggest NAS that the company has produced so far.

The new RackStation RS18016xs+ and expansion unit RX1216sas can provide you with up to 1440 TB of raw storage using 8TB drives. That is a lot of storage right there at your disposal, but all that storage also has to be fast or it wouldn’t be of any use to anyone. The unit is capable of a performance over 3900MB/s throughput and 348K sequential IOPS in an RAID5 setup with VLAN.

The RS18016xs+ has four gigabit LAN ports as standard, but you can expand that with more gigabit or 10Gbit ports thanks to the two PCI 3.0 x8 expansion slots. You also get several USB 3.0, USB 2.0 and SAS ports.

It comes equipped with 8GB ECC RAM and is upgradable up to 32GB ECC RAM. The processor is an Intel Xeon E3 quad-core with 3.3GHz. The Both the NAS and the extension units have 12 ports for SATA or SAS drives.

Redundant power supplies and an amplitude of business features will make sure that these units perform the task they should and consistently. Synology’s DSM system also offers backup and fail-over solutions that should meet any companies needs.

Neither the NAS nor the expansion unit are cheap when you look at the price, but I honestly think it’s a fair price all things considered. The RS18016xs+ was a recommended price of £4398.00 including VAT or €4765.00 before tax and the RX1216sas will set you back £1992.00 including VAT or €2160.00 before tax.

Synology DiskStation DS715 2-Bay Value NAS Review

Introduction


It has been a while since I had the pleasure to review a Synology NAS which makes it even more of a pleasure to take the brand new Synology DiskStation DS715 2-bay NAS for a spin. And while it does look ordinary on the first glance, I can tell you it isn’t.

The DS715 is an expandable NAS server, equipped with a powerful quad-core processor with hardware encryption engine and the ability to expand up to 7 drives thanks to the optional expansion unit. You can’t just expand it with extra bays, you can also connect it with Synology’s High Availability (SHA) technology that combines active and passive servers into one cluster.

The DS715 looks to be a perfect balance between performance, features, and value – so let us take a closer look at it.

The Synology DS715 is built around the Annapurna Labs Alpine AL-314 quad-core processor with 1.4GHz. We’ve previously seen a great performance from just this chip in the DS1515 NAS. The CPU has both hardware encryption engine and floating point unit.

The DS715 comes with 2GB DDR3 memory and the drive bays support hot swapping as it has to be. The unit is rated for 16TB raw capacity on its own, but that limitation only exists based on the drives currently available. Nothing should block you from using 10TB or bigger drives ones they become available.

If that still isn’t enough for you, then you’ll just expand the NAS with the DX513 five-bay expansion unit. It gives additional storage on the fly while being supported as if they were internal drives. You can easily expand your overall raw capacity to 56TB with 8TB drives.

The two Gigabit Ethernet ports ensure the connectivity to your network. You can set seven modes of failover and link aggregation depending on your switching setup and need for redundancy and increased throughput. 802.3ad dynamic setup is just one of the available, but probably the most important of the modes.

The addition of an eSATA port is something I love to see and it is my personal preferred method of connecting external storage. It is also the method of connecting the aforementioned DX513 expansion unit. The two USB 3.0 ports allows you to connect other storage drives, printers, or cameras.

The drive trays are tool and screwless, at least for 3.5-inch drives. If you wish to use the NAS with 2.5-inch drives, then you’ll need the included screws to mount them. Otherwise you just pull off the sides on the tray, place the hard disk inside and put them back. All done. Slide the trays back into your NAS and get started. Plug and Play.

Synology’s operating system is called DiskStationa Manager (DSM) and it is now in version 5.2. It is a really robust system that is easy to use and one that brings plenty of features. It also has built-in NVR server, capable of hosting up to 30 IP cameras (900 FPS @ 720p). Two camera licenses are included and more will have to be purchased separately.

Windows AD, LDAP, and Domain Trust allow for seamless account integration with the rest of your equipment and also feature user home folders and Windows ACL. It doesn’t really matter how you want to connect it, you can.

The DS715 also comes with support for Synology Central Management System (CMS). CMS offers both flexibility and convenience for administrators, allowing them to manage all systems from a single point.

File sharing works with all major system, may it be Linux, Windows, or Mac OS. Included protocols are FTP, SMB2, AFP, NFS and WebDAV among others.

The Cloud Station allows for easy backup from all your system to the DS715 NAS and it also supports Rsync, backup to external drives, other NAS devices, or public cloud offerings.

A minor thing, but one that I love, is that Synology included two RJ45 LAN cables with this unit. An LAN cable doesn’t cost much and it is really annoying to get a unit as cool as this and then have to head out again to get an LAN cable so you can setup your link aggregation. Not so here, everything you need to get started, except the hard drives, is included.

Synology Officially Announce VisualStation VS360HD

We already had a sneak peek at the VS360HD during Computex earlier this month and now it is official, Synology officially announced the VisualStation VS360HD. It is a compact, durable, and high-performance surveillance companion that supports showing video feeds from up to 36 network cameras within a network when each camera is configured at 720p/10FPS, and also comes with dual Full HD mirrored display output via HDMI and VGA.

If one device shouldn’t satisfy the needs, you just set up more. You can connect multiple VS360HD to a KVM switch and provide a cost-efficient and easy scalable TV wall. Thanks to its fan-less design, VS360HD is completely silent and requires only 4.76W when operating with 36 channels and even lowers power usage down to only 3.61W when idle.

 

The palm-sized system is VESA mount compliant, so finding a way to mount it shouldn’t be any problem, that is if you don’t want it on your desk. It comes with an easy to use interface thanks to the Surveillance Station and has both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports.

The three USB ports on the VS360HD allows users to connect a mouse, keyboard, and even a joystick to easily operate specific IP cameras with PTZ (Pan-TiltZoom) control.

Synology’s new VisualStation VS360HD is backed with a 3-year limited warranty and comes with a recommended retail price of £360 including VAT.

Synology Released Three New NAS Units

 

Synology has just released not one and not two new NAS, they went for a while three while at it. The first new unit is a refresh of an older model and the DS215+ replaces the DS214+ with a new and improved dual-core processor and hardware encryption for up to 80% faster reading and 50% faster writing operations. The DS215+ comes with two Gigabit ethernet LAN ports and 1GB RAM.

The DS715 on the other hand is a brand new unit, and what a unit it is. It is packed in the same beautiful packaging as the DS215+ but has another interior design. The DS715 is equipped with a quad-core CPU with hardware encryption and comes with 2GB RAM. Two gigabit ethernet ports connect the unit to your network and you can expand it with the DX513 unit for up to 7 drives.

The DS715 also supports Synology High Availability (SHA) which ensures a seamless transition between clustered servers in the event of a server failure.

Both the DS215+ and DS715 are backed by a two-year limited warranty and are available now for an MSRP of £252 and £306 respectively. We will have a review of both these units ready for you very shortly, so check back for more. You won’t be disappointed.

The third new unit is designed for enterprises and it is a beauty. The RC1801xs+ together with the RXD1215sas expansion unit provide a great base for your company’s storage needs.

“For today’s businesses, maintaining server uptime is the key to ensuring maximum productivity and minimised costs. The high-availability cluster design of RC18015xs+ and RXD1215sas is the ideal storage solution for enterprises seeking nonstop business continuity, scalability, and comprehensive data protection tools,” said Michael Wang, Product Manager at Synology Inc.

The high availability cluster design combines two computing servers and multiple storage units into a single high-availability cluster. You can scale the unit up to 180 drives and a maximum raw storage capacity beyond 1PB with superior performance. With over 2.270MB/s throughput, 355K IOPS, 8GB ECC RAM (upgradeable), PCIe slot for a 10GbE card and more, you get an impressive system.

Synology RC18015xs+ and RXD1215sas are now shipping globally. While they are separate units, they aren’t intended to work alone but as a high-availability cluster. Two RC18015xs+ and at least one RXD1215sas expansion unit are required to operate normally.

The RC18015xs+ comes with an MSRP of £2802 and the RXD1215sas with £2400, so it won’t be a cheap setup – but it is one that will be worth it.

Synology Encourages Users to Update Their NAS

Synology is encouraging users of their NAS devices to upgrade to the latest DiskStation Manager 5.2, as well as their installed apps, to address security concerns associated with Photo Station as well as other vulnerabilities.

Synology worked closely with technical experts to identify and resolve the issues before it affected customers, and they succeeded. Back on May 12th they released DSM 5.2 with added security enhancements and the company released another update with more safeguards on May 21. But not everyone has updated and those who haven’t are at risk.

Synology Technical Marketing Manager Franklin Hua said, “To date, we haven’t seen suspicious activity reported by our customers. Still, we’re encouraging them to update their OS and add-on packages immediately – if they haven’t done so, already. Security updates can easily be applied within the DSM for the latest security releases for the OS. For greater convenience, automatic updates can be enabled to allow the DSM to update itself – in the background – without user intervention.”

On May 25 an independent consulting firm identified the possible vulnerabilities in Photo Station, but Synology was already on top of things and it was fixed before the article even ran.

It is great to see companies take security as serious as Synology does. Don’t be a fool, upgrade your headless units regularly or enable automatic updating if it exists, as it does in DSM.

Synology also has their Product Security Advisory where you can read more about the above-mentioned issues.

Synology Shows off NVR Devices and Surveillance Station 7.0 at Computex

Computex 2015 – Synology released their new Surveillance Station back in February and you can’t just use it on their NAS devices. Synology also has a long list of NVR devices specialized for network video recording and surveillance and they brought them all long too.

Among the devices is the NVR716, a two-bay unit for small and midsize business. Ther NVR716 features 1080p local display capabilities as well as a CMS designed for retail businesses. The two bays can be extended up to 7 with Synology’s optional expansion unit.

The VisualStation VS360HD is a compact unit for PC-less monitoring for surveillance of all scales. With dual output over HDMI and VGA, it is as easy to hook up as it is to use and allows for easy monitoring of up to 36 channels of simultaneous HD viewing in 720p.

The durable, compact and last but not least fanless design allows for easy deployment and you can hook up as pretty much as many as you want.

Surveillance Station 7.0 is Synology’s new and revamped centre for monitoring and recording your video surveillance with easy multi-tasking and efficient task automation with action rules.

As you can see on the photos we’ve taken, there is barely any limit on how many cameras you can hook up to your security system, allowing you to monitor everything from small offices with a single room to full complexes and manufacturing plants.

Synology Displays New NAS Units at Computex

Computex 2015 – We’ve seen the new Router from Synology already, but it wouldn’t be an NAS manufacturer if they didn’t bring those devices along too.

On display is the DS216se, a budget friendly NAS server perfect for home and personal use. The two-bay NAS unit allows for easy drive mirroring, network sharing and it is also DLNA certified for streaming to your TV, consoles and set-top boxes.

Moving up the scale a bit and we get to the DS215+, an NAS unit designed for Small and Medium Businesses. It delivers great performance up to 209MB/s reading and 139MB/s writing thanks to the dual-core CPU and dual-LAN ports with link aggregation and failover support.

You also get USB 3.0 and eSATA ports along to connect extra external storage including the Synology DX513 expansion unit.

The DiskSTation DS715 is a completely new unit and doesn’t succeed any previous units. It is built around a powerful quad-core 1.4GHz CPU that offers hardware encryption engine.

The DS715 SMB NAS comes with 2GB RAM and can deliver a great performance with up to 205.5MB/s reading and 77.62MB/s writing.

The dual LAN ports support failover and link aggregation as they’re supposed to and you can expand the unit with 5 more drives using Synology’s DX513 expansion unit.

Enterprise users are also covered well by Synology’s lineup, especially with their rack units. The RC18015xs+ for example brings a quad-core processor, up to 32GB RAM as well as advanced snapshot technology for flexible point-in-time data backup and recovery.

The RXD1215sas is a high-redundancy expansion unit offering dual high-speed 6Gb/s SAS modules and allows for stacking with up to 15 units for a total of 180 drives.