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Synology to release Lion-friendly NAS firmware, add features

NAS maker Synology announces new firmware, available as a beta July 19, that supports Lion and offers a host of improvements and new features.

The robust and comprehensive DiskStation Manager firmware is what makes Synology NAS servers among the best on the market.
The robust and comprehensive DiskStation Manager firmware is what makes Synology NAS servers among the best on the market. Dong Ngo/CNET

Mac users with a NAS server should probably wait a bit before upgrading to OS X 10.7 Lion, due for release later this month.

According to Synology, maker of the highest-rated NAS servers on the market, its DiskStation servers will not work well with Lion, or at least the support for the Time Machine. This is because with Lion, Apple has changed the way Mac file service works, and it uses the new version of Netatalk for Time Machine. This means most, if not all, NAS servers that currently support Mac 10.6 will not be fully compatible with Mac OS 10.7, until there's a firmware update.

Synology itself has been working on version 3.2 of its DiskStation Manager, the robust and comprehensive operating system (or firmware) used in all of its NAS servers. In addition to support for Lion, the new version will offer a host of improvements and new features. For example, the new Photo Station takes much less time to generate thumbnails. Slow thumbnail generation is one of a very few issues found in DiskStation NAS servers, even excellent ones such as the DS1511+.

There's also Google Cloud Print support, so you can print to your home or office printer from any computer or smartphone over the Internet without driver installation. Also, the new firmware will reduce the time needed to create a Synology Hybrid RAID volume by 95 percent. SHR offers RAID 5-like functions and features but works with hard drives of different capacities and enables you to scale up storage space without having to rebuild the RAID from scratch. There's support for VPN and for ISO mounting, and there's a new Package Center, through which you can install more "apps" that add functions to the server. Also coming in the update are better support for routers and for IP cameras, a much improved self-download feature, better compatibility with more browsers and platforms, improved mobile apps, and much more.

DiskStation Manager 3.2 will be released by the end of August. However, a beta version will be available tomorrow. Like previous version, the version 3.2 will be available as a free download and will work with all existing DiskStation NAS servers released in 2008 or later.