|At a Glance|
|Product||Synology DSM 5.0 NAS OS [Website]|
|Summary||NAS operating system with broad feature set and installable apps.|
|Pros||• Real time transcoding
• Easy remote access with no port forwarding or dynamic DNS required
• Good set of iOS, Android and Windows Phone apps
• TV Streaming support for Samsung Smart TV devices, Apple TV and Roku
|Cons||• Long image processing time with high CPU utilization for large quantities of .JPG images|
It's been almost four years (!) since we did a full review of Synology's DSM 3.0 NAS OS So when in mid-March, Synology released the latest version of its NAS operating system, DSM 5.0, we figured it was time for another full review.
Quite a few of DSM 5's new features focus on a simplified user interface. But there are also some "under the hood" improvements to improve the UI's responsiveness using HTTPS connections, as well as memory compression to make the overall UI more responsive. The new UI is also designed to be "touch-friendly" for tablet and touch screen laptop users.
QuickConnect, another new feature, is sure to please a lot of people - including me. It simplifies connecting to your Synology NAS from virtually anywhere without the hassle of setting up DDNS (cynamic DNS) or router port forwarding. The table below taken from Synology's website neatly summarizes the advantages of QuickConnect versus conventional DDNS/port forwarding schemes. We'll be taking a look at how easy it is to set up, as we test the suite of upgraded mobile apps.
Synology Quick Connect Advantages
DSM 5.0 also adds a Central Management System (CMS) feature. CMS enables the management of "hundreds" of NASes through a single user interface. Since we have only a single review unit, we won't be covering that feature. Synology provided a few screenshots to give you a feel for how CMS works.
Synology DSM 5.0 CMS - Summary Overview of all servers managed
Central management of multiple NASes isn't unique to Synology, however. QNAP added its IT Management Station in QTS 4.1 (more info).
Synology DSM 5.0 CMS - access individual servers
For this look at DSM 5.0, I'll be using the recently reviewed DS415play. In addition to all of the standard features found in DSM 5.0, the DS415play NAS features a hardware video transcoding engine.
If you are a long-time Synology owner, you may find that your NAS, while still perfectly serviceable (like mine), can no longer be upgraded. Still, Synology provides a good upgrade path for most products starting with the "10-series" Here's a list of models that support DSM 5.0:
- 14-series: RS3614xs+, RS2414+, RS2414RP+, RS814+, RS814RP+, DS214+, DS214play, RS814, DS214, RS214, DS414, DS114, DS214se
- 13-series: RS10613xs+, RS3413xs+, DS2413+, DS1813+, DS1513+, DS713+, DS413, DS413j, DS213+, DS213, DS213air, DS213j
- 12-series: RS3412xs, RS3412RPxs, RS812+, RS812RP+, RS2212+, RS2212RP+, RS812, RS212, DS3612xs, DS1812+, DS1512+, DS712+, DS412+, DS212+, DS212, DS212j, DS112+, DS112, DS112j
- 11-series: RS3411xs, RS3411RPxs, RS2211+, RS2211RP+, RS411, DS3611xs, DS2411+, DS1511+, DS411+II, DS411+, DS411, DS411j, DS411slim, DS211+, DS211, DS211j, DS111
- 10-series: RS810+, RS810RP+, DS1010+, DS410, DS410j, DS710+, DS210+, DS210j, DS110+, DS110j
Though the physical setup of the DiskStation doesn't relate directly to DSM 5.0, it's worth a mention. It's quite simple to install the hard disks - you don't even need any tools. Just remove the front panel, remove the individual trays and install the disks. Plastic tabs along each side lock the disks into the trays. I was able to install all four disks in just a couple of minutes.
Once the DiskStation boots, the disk lights will be illuminated and the status light will be yellow. At this point, you merely point your browser to either http://find.synology.com or http://diskstation:5000. I chose the second option. You'll land at the first page shown in the setup gallery below. During the setup process, you will be prompted to set up and enable QuickConnect. You just enter an email address, configure and confirm a password and select a User ID. That's it. Just click on the link in the confirmation email that you receive and your QuickConnect ID will be activated.
By default your DiskStation desktop is fairly sparsely populated . Once you finish the setup wizard, you are dropped off at the Package Center where you can download and install additional applications that add features to your DiskStation. I Installed most of the recommended packages including Audio Station, Photo Station, Video Station, Cloud Station, Cloud Sync, iTunes Server, Media Server, RADIUS Server, Antivirus Essentials and the VPN server. Currently, there are 59 packages available for installation.