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Yes the Synology DSM 7.0 available in preview, how to install it, what's new? It has been almost two years since we waited for the new major version of the NAS interface from Synology. It is now available in Preview for certain models. We installed it to see what it brought in practice. The Synology has just passed two difficult years. In the midst of a strategic turn, dealing more and more with the "Pro" market and its high-end offer, the manufacturer has suffered from the onslaught of competition, especially QNAP: multiple upgrades of QTS, ZFS integration, "Cloud" version », AMD CPU, generalization of multi-Gig, etc.

Meanwhile, the industry leader only had minor upgrades on the schedule. And concerning its DSM interface, which remains its main asset, version 7.0 was slow to emerge. As a reminder, version 6.0 was finalized at the end of 2016, with two series of changes since: 6.1 (February 2017) then 6.2 (May 2018).

We are therefore far from the cycle of a major version every two years that prevailed before that. DSM 7.0 was presented at the end of 2018, then expected for the beginning of 2019. Since then, delays and silences have accumulated. Today, that cycle comes to an end as the company announced the opening of the public testing phase.

This is the start of a cycle that should then lead to beta, release candidate and then final versions. Which should take several months. In your comments, many of you told us that you were reluctant to test DSM 7.0 as is. No problem " we've got you covered " as they say. We installed it on a DS3018xs that the brand lent us in order to see how the migration phase is going and what DSM 7.0 brings for the moment, both in its interface and in its applications.

Synology DSM 7.0

Synology DSM 7.0 compatibility and installation

Let's start with a reminder: It is not recommended to try a non-final version of DSM on a NAS with important data. Lots of things can go wrong and if something goes wrong, you have no recourse. So do it on a secondary NAS or after backing up your files. Then there is the question of the compatibility of DSM 7.0 with your NAS. Good news, it is quite large. Many models are supported, from the 2013 series. Here is the complete list:

  • 2013 series : RS3413xs +, RS10613xs +, DS2413 +, DS1813 +, DS1513 +, DS713 +, DS213j
  • 2014 series : RS3614xs +, RS3614RPxs, RS3614xs, RS2414RP +, RS2414 +, RS814RP +, RS814 +, RS814, RS214, DS414slim, DS414, DS414j, DS214 +, DS214play, DS214, DS214se, DS114
  • 2015 series : RC18015xs +, DS3615xs, DS2415 +, DS2015xs, DS1815 +, DS1515 +, DS1515, RS815RP +, RS815 +, RS815, DS415 +, DS415play, DS715, DS215 +, DS215j, DS115, DS115j
  • 2016 series : RS18016xs +, RS2416RP +, RS2416 +, RS816, DS916 +, DS716 + II, DS716 +, DS416play, DS416slim, DS416, DS416j, DS216 + II, DS216 +, DS216play, DS216, DS216j, DS216se, DS116
  • 2017 series : FS3017, FS2017, RS18017xs +, RS4017xs +, RS3617xs +, RS3617RPxs, RS3617xs, RS217, DS3617xs, DS1817 +, DS1817, DS1517 +, DS1517
  • 2018 series : FS1018, RS2818RP +, RS3618xs, RS2418RP +, RS2418 +, RS818RP +, RS818 +, DS3018xs, DS1618 +, DS918 +, DS418play, DS418, DS418j, DS718 +, DS218 +, DS218play, DS218, DS218
  • 2019 series : RS1619xs +, RS1219 +, RS819, DS2419 +, DS1819 +, DS1019 +, DS419slim, DS119j
  • 2020 series : RS820RP +, RS820 +, DS620slim, DS420j, DS120j
  • FS range : FS3400, FS3017, FS2017, FS1018
  • SA range : SA3400
  • Others : VirtualDSM
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Please note, some cannot join the Preview yet, their support will be expected later: FS6400, FS3600, SA3600, SA3200D, RC18015xs +, DS1520 +, DS920 +, DS720 +, DS420 +, DS220 + and DS220j.

To access the preview, you must have a Synology Account and sign in here. Access seems for the moment reserved for those who had previously registered last January. This is what was planned. You will find a search engine listing the models linked to your account and those that can receive DSM 7.0.

Select the one you want to update, then the download page for the OS and its packages will be displayed. You will find the individual links and release notes. Synology specifies that the update must be done from version 6.2. The downloaded PAT file with size 317 MB.

Note some important points: USB devices are no longer supported and will not be recognized after the update. No more than the creation of SSD caches on LUNs (block type storage). The existing ones will nevertheless continue to function. Docker DSM is incompatible with DSM 7.0. Python 3 is now part of the system, several DDNS services have been removed. If your SSL/TLS profile was modern, it will go to intermediate for compatibility issues. You can of course change this setting afterwards.

Once the PAT file has been retrieved, connect to your NAS and go to Control Panel. Here, go for the manual update procedure. Indicate the location of the update, validate, follow the instructions wait. In our case, the procedure for migrating the OS and the packages took 8 minutes.

Before confirming, a warning will show some information like Synology packages temporarily disabled because they need to be adapted to DSM 7.0, Active Backup for Business in our case. We also learn that " WebDAV Server no longer supports Calendar and DS File [...] If you are connected to DS File via the WebDAV port, be sure to switch to the DSM port instead ". A help page is available here.

Finally, be aware that packages provided by third parties are not usable in DSM 7.0 at this time.

New look, better performance, but not only

Once the installation is complete, we arrive on the new home screen. It asks for your username, the password comes to the next screen. A two-step operation that seems less convenient, especially for those who use a password manager, but this may change over time.

The home page is basically unchanged, but a closer look shows the graphic improvements. Synology has told us in the past that it has revised the entire technical layer of its web application to make it more lightweight and responsive. We will see in use. For the moment, we especially notice the modified color code, the icons and the more modern effects. Overall, it is pleasant without being overwhelming.

On the application side, it's a bit the same thing. We generally find the same experience but with a touch more pleasing to the eye. One of the publisher's keywords for this new version was “consolidate”. Understand that certain elements that were a little exploded here and there have been reunited, placed under clearer names.

This is the case of the iSCSI manager which becomes SAN Manager, integrating the management of LUNs, iSCSI targets, Fiber Channel, their snapshots, but can also act as a host capable of connecting to initiators. This was not the case before, unlike QNAP. Some wizards appear here and there, for example to prompt you to install the Storage Console management application on your PC. Welcome developments.

We also feel a desire from Synology to make certain steps simpler, with a redesign in the on-boarding phase (after the first installation). While Python 3 has been integrated, SMB file service is now seen as an individually updatable package. Modularity that undoubtedly makes it easier to find a security breach. The DHCP server for its part becomes an application.

The disk manager is also intended to be clearer, better suited to solutions integrating the cache with clickable interface elements representing the disks. Western Digital Device Analytics (WDDA) is also in the game. The repair of the RAID is possible automatically, the performance in RAID 6 improved, even in degraded mode (up to 70/80%). Same thing for Btrfs.

Note that the Linux kernel is version 4.4, which is nothing very recent. The integrated applications have also been updated, like OpenSSL (1.1.1g) which did not show any improvement in its performance during our tests.

A few rare new features, including ActiveInsight

The bulk of the settings continue to go through the Control Panel which is still a fairly central organ of DSM. Despite the modularization of certain elements, their parameters remain managed from this application. There is also the Synology account management becoming a place where more things will happen now. For example, setting up the ActiveInsight service and authorizing information collection. As a reminder, this is a new global management panel for your NAS, accessible free of charge but which will offer paid services. It is currently one of the few complete new features in DSM 7.0.

There is Synology Photos, having to reconcile the old application with Moments to avoid again having two services for the same thing. Or Hybrid Share which is one of our strategic company disappointments. Indeed, the tool offers hybrid access between your NAS and a Cloud service, but limits it to its own C2 solution. Where QNAP has opened up its Hybrid Mount to a whole galaxy of third-party solutions.

In any case, we will have the opportunity to talk about these applications in more detail throughout the testing phase of DSM 7.0, but also to follow their evolution. Do not hesitate to ask us your questions in comments. We will respond to them as this file evolves.

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