Synology as a business system solution

Get a free Techzine subscription!

Synology aims to provide the ultimate system solution for businesses. A single system to facilitate different solutions. Whether it’s backups, storage of projects, video surveillance, running virtual machines with critical business applications or single sign-on: Synology wants to be at the core of your strategy.

Synology’s ambitions are clear. It wants a larger market share in businesses worldwide. Recently, we spoke with Victor Wang, director at Synology in Western Europe. He told us the company is aware that they have become big in the consumer and SMB markets. Now, Synology wants to move into larger organizations — even the enterprise market. For that, the company offers a total solution for different purposes.

How Synology wants to be more attractive to businesses

In the last few years, the company has looked closely at ways in which it can become a better partner for businesses. One of the things Synology has done is develop its own hard drives. Both HDDs and SSDs are now available under the Synology label. You can even buy a NAS that is pre-filled with storage. According to Synology, these drives are not standard white-label products. Synology developed the HDDs and SSDs for optimized use with a NAS. Furthermore, the firmware of the drives is actively maintained by Synology, and from within DSM, the firmware can be easily updated when updates are available.

Synology has also expanded its portfolio of NAS servers to provide a suitable server for every type of business. For SMBs, there’s a wide selection of 6-, 8- and 12-bay NAS servers that can be placed in any office environment. Important considerations when choosing a model are the amount of storage capacity and the purpose of the server. To perform backups, you need a lot of storage capacity, but not so much processing power. If you want to run virtual machines with Synology Virtual Machine Manager on your NAS, you do need a model with the necessary processing power.

A NAS for every business

Synology offers a wide range of NAS servers for business customers. There are models with Intel Celeron, AMD Ryzen or Intel Xeon processors. Currently, Synology chooses Intel Xeon processors for their high-end models. These processors are also recommended if you want to run VMs.

Furthermore, the random access memory of high-end models can be expanded. The Synology DS1621xs+ is a well-built, functional model for most office environments. Businesses that require backup storage capacity instead of performance might like the Synology DS1821+.

For serious power users, Synology has a broad portfolio of rack servers. For example, racks with all-flash drives that use only SSDs and offer high I/O performance. On an all-flash drive, data can be processed at lightning speed. Also, Synology still carries regular rack drives. Ultimately, you can still get more capacity per dollar with an HDD.

Finally, Synology provides the SA series. These are scalable servers. Multiple models are easily tied together to create more data capacity and offer faster performance. For example, you can use the SA series in conjunction with a data warehouse. All Synology rack servers are equipped with Intel Xeon processors.

Our advice is to not skimp on the configuration, even if you only plan to use backup solutions. If you want to use the NAS-server for more services in the future, having some performance power is very welcome. In such cases, the DS1621xs+ is a good model. While AMD chips aren’t bad, the models Synology uses simply lack the power for virtualization. We also strongly advise against models with 2 or 4 bays. These models typically use Intel Celeron or ARM-based chips and they cannot compete with the Intel Xeon processors.

The software makes (or breaks) the NAS

Ultimately, the software makes the NAS. Since the introduction of DSM 7.0, Synology has had a serious focus on the business market. The company has said goodbye to the childish theme. The visual interface is now more business-oriented and looks a lot cleaner. In addition, Synology has noticeably shifted the focus of its developers to the business market.

Backups were once the primary job of a NAS. Despite the fact that a NAS can do much more nowadays, Synology has done a good job of that primary job. More and more applications can be backed up with a Synology NAS. Whether it’s PC’s, servers or cloud environments like Office 365: there is a solution for every backup target.

Furthermore, we see Synology putting a lot of effort into its Surveillance solution. Previously, you were simply able to record, store and review cameras. Now, you can apply Deep Learning to the images. For example, you can use a ‘dumb’ camera and make it smart with a Synology NAS. The NAS analyzes the images and can recognize people or vehicles. This can be used as intrusion protection or to register data on people entering a building. It is even possible to do face recognization so that it can actively check whether someone is supposed to have access to a location or not.

The big advantage of Synology remains the one-time investment. For making backups of solutions such as Office 365, you do not need to take out a subscription. The same is true for Deep Learning within Surveillance Station: a scalable and affordable solution.

Cloud as an extension of your NAS

Synology has taken first steps into the cloud in recent years. Now, its initial services are slowly becoming available. Synology seems to be fully committed to the hybrid cloud world, where businesses place a Synology NAS on premise or in their local data center. In these situations the cloud can act as an extension of the NAS.

For example, it is possible to make backups to the Synology Cloud (C2) from the NAS, which gives customers an additional location to storage their backups. In addition to backups, businesses can provide file shares to users through the C2 cloud so that users around the world can quickly access the files in a designated share. The capacity of the NAS is extended through the cloud in this example. Furthermore, Synology plans to launch its own Active Directory cloud service to increase the accessibility of user management, cloud authentication, and single sign-on for a broader number of businesses.

Synology made the cloud tool Active Insights available earlier this year, with Active Insights you can monitor and update Synology servers. This eliminates the need to log into each server individually. In addition, you can respond to problems and overview servers much faster.

Convincing customers

In our conversations with Synology, we notice the organization has a realistic view of the market. It understands its limitations. Synology can’t just break through every business market. The organization has to do their best to convince every customer. As such, Synology is focusing mainly on industries where it is doing well. Think of the education sector and government agencies like healthcare.

Ultimately, Synology believes that its complete system is the strongest argument of all. Because Synology provides both the hardware and the software, it’s able to offer an optimal system. Ultimately, that’s what sets Synology apart from many other storage vendors in the market: a proprietary, comprehensive software and hardware platform.