Synology NAS OS 4.0 gone beta, Cloud Station revealed

Synology showed off the latest built of its well-known Disk Station Manager operating system for NAS server at CES 2012.

Synology demoing DSM 4.0 at CES 2012.
Synology demoing DSM 4.0 at CES 2012. Dong Ngo/CNET

LAS VEGAS -- Synology, the makers of the most robust and feature-rich NAS servers on the market, now looks to the sky, too.

Despite the fact that by the end of 2011, most NAS vendors used the "Cloud" designation for certain features of their products , Synology has refused to use it for its NAS servers which in fact have many Internet-based features. The company changed its mind today at CES 2012.

It showed off that the show the latest build of its Linux-based operating system for its DiskStation NAS servers, called Disk Station Manager (DSM). Version 3.2 of the firmware was released just a while ago with many improvements (including the support for OS X Lion). Synology says version 4.0 (currently in beta) will offer even more, including a brand new features called "Cloud Station".

According to the company, the Cloud Station allows users to instantly sync files from any device, via the local network or the Internet. Not only does it keep a folder in perfect sync among any number of devices, something similar to the service of Dropbox, but leaves a copy on your DiskStation for backup purposes.

The good news about the Cloud Station is the fact that thew version also include a new features called QuickConnect that allows users to gain access to the server via the Internet, wihtout the complication of port forwarding, which only savvy/advanced users can set up.

Other than the new Cloud Station, other major improvements of the version 4.0 include:

The new version of the DSM 4.0 for Synology NAS server will include a brand-new Cloud Station and many other features and improvements.
The new version of the DSM 4.0 for Synology NAS server will include a brand-new Cloud Station and many other features and improvements. Synology
  • Built-in iSCSI LUN backup software with no licensing fee required
  • Enhanced ADS/ACL support- edit and audit ACLs quickly and easily within DSM, regardless of OS
  • Flexible notification system, allowing granular control of alerts and delivery methods (email, IM, push notifications)
  • Improved Apple support with added support for Airport Express/Extreme and integration with iCloud saves time in configuration
  • Scheduled SMART scans to keep admins in the know before problems arise
  • Revamped GUI with robust tools to improve work flow for both novice and advanced users
  • Improved Package Management  with most applications (ie. Photo Station, Surveillance Station, etc.) being now packages, that can be added or removed any times
  • Antivirus package is now included as the free antivirus scanning for the DiskStation
  • Enhanced mobile support with updated apps for iOS, Android (including tablets), and Amazon Kindle Fire

Similar to the previous version of the firmware, Synology also offers a DSM 4.0 Beta Reward Program in which it will reward a DiskStation to three beta testers who provide the most valuable assistance and feedback during the program. If you wan to join the testing, the beta firmware can be downloaded here.

The final version of the DSM 4.0 will be available in the fist quarter of the year. All DiskStation NAS servers released in 2008 or later can be upgraded to the new operating system for free.

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