This is the Review of the Synology DiskStation Manager 6.1 RC. Synology announced the availability of the DiskStation Manager (DSM) 6.1 beta late last year, also inviting adventurous Synology users to join the Synology Beta Program to test and provide their suggestions and comments on the new product.
DSM is the brain and heart of all Synology Network Attached Storage (NAS) product lines. According the Synology’s website, the latest DSM 6.1 has the follow key features,
- File self healing with Btrfs (pronounced as “Butter-FS) File System.
- Encryption of Shared Folders
- Active Directory Server (Add-on App)
- Improved Resource Monitor
- Enhanced Storage Manager
- Instant SMB server-side copy with Btrfs fast-clone
- Enhanced user account protection
- Multiple Time Machine Folders (YEH!)
- Flexible updates without need to restart
- and many many more … …
Since I have a Synology Disk Station 5-Bay DS1515+ with 2 x Seagate v NAS 3.5-Inch Internal Hard Drive (ST10000VN0004) laying around, thought I should give DSM 6.1 RC a try. The first task is to download the pat file for DSM6.1 RC which can be found at the Synology Beta Program. As usual, there is the IMPORTANT disclaimer that this beta firmware “should not be used for critical equipment or production environment“. Also this firmware is “not downgradable” so think properly before you load it into your Synology NAS.
To load the beta firmware, you will need to go to the current DSM Control Panel and click the “Manual DSM Update” to bring up the dialog box which will allow you to browse for the path to the DSM 6.1 RC pat file.
Although the various screens said that the update of the DSM will take about 10 minutes, on my Synology Disk Station 5-Bay DS1515+ took less than a minute to get into the “Restarting your DiskStation” screen.
Immediately after a successfuly login, immediately I noticed that there is an update. Seems that the DSM6.1-15022 has an Update 1 available. Nicely, this update makes use of the new Flexible Update available in DSM6.1 and was applied without the need for a reboot. Nicely done Synology!
For the packages, some how Virtual DSM Manager needs to be repaired and Universal Search to be updated. The rest of the packages I’ve installed in DSM6 all are intact and working fine.
The whole update process took less than 20 minutes to complete from start to end. Let’s now take a quick look at the key features that Synology has offered in the DSM 6.1 RC.
File and Folder Enhancements
The first item on my list is the enhancements made to the File and Folers capabilites. If you are to create a new Shared Folder, you will see that there is an new option to “Encrypt this shared folder”. But before using this feature, you will need to plug in an USB flash drive into the DiskStation which will be used to store the encryption keys. One thing to note is that the encryption option will not appear for existing Shared Folders. Hence, if you need to use this feature for existing Shared Folders, you may need to create a new folder and migrate the contents from the old folder over.
Upgrade Resource Monitor
The new Resource Monitor application in DSM6.1 RC comes with a new tab under the “Task Manager” category. This new “Services” tab will feature the list of services running with the DiskStation and you can even expand each service to see what are the exact components running within each.
New File Services
As per DSM6, Btrfs File System is also available on the DSM6.1 RC. However, new features of Btrfs File System are introduced in DSM6.1 RC. Once of which is the new self-healing feature of Brtfs File System. However, as have a perfect pair of Seagate v NAS 3.5-Inch Internal Hard Drive (ST10000VN0004), I was unable to reproduce this :p
For SMB, we can now enable the Btfs fast clone to allow server files to be copied very quickly within the DiskStation.
However, what really got me excited is the ability to have multiple Time Machine Shared Folders in DSM6.1 RC. Previously, there can be only Time Machine capable Shared Folder. With this new feature, I can create individual Shared Folder for each of the OSX machines that I have at home.
Power Up Security
Last but not least, let’s look at the new “Account Protection” tab under the Security features of DSM6.1 RC. To better protect our NAS, Synology has added the capability to lock accounts after repetitive login failures. It can even do different settings for both untrusted and trusted client devices.
Looking at the various features of the new DSM6.1, it does have some improvements that we as avid Synology users/supporters can look forward to. Even for a novice Synology user, I would think the enhanced Security as well as the Flexible Upgrade features are 2 key things we can look forward to in the new DSM6.1. Cant wait for the official version to be released. Are you feeling the same? 🙂