In recent years, cloud services have opened up countless new possibilities for businesses’ IT deployment strategies - in particular those of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).
The unlimited scalability, built-in disaster recovery facilities and the multitude of cloud applications on offer have led many business owners to dive headfirst into the cloud.
Nevertheless, the high Internet bandwidth required to transfer bulky files, the costs cloud providers charge when a company wants to take out its data and the low level of management and control still make on-premise solutions a preferred choice for a lot of companies.
With this in mind, many SMBs have introduced network-attached storage (NAS) to replace their file or backup servers, especially considering its cost-effectiveness and a rich and growing feature set.
In March 2016, TechTarget (NASDAQ: TTGT) Storage Magazine published the results of its 10th Quality Awards survey, in which NAS vendor Synology receives the highest overall ranking in the mid-range NAS category, with highest scores in ‘product features’ and ‘initial product quality’, outscoring other established enterprise-level storage vendors.
Source: Storage Magazine, March 2016
Now with the release of its DiskStation Manager (DSM) 6.0 operating system, Synology seeks to take one step further and bring applications that have been most commonly offered by cloud service providers back to companies’ own premises - providing them with the best of both worlds.
One of the highlights of DSM 6.0 is MailPlus, a brand new, advanced email solution. The MailPlus Server comes with an -active high availability and load balancing design which minimises the risk of unexpected email outage and optimises the performance. The intuitive, web-based client makes sure no matter what platform employees use, they can just open a browser and start processing emails right away, with a very low learning curve. And to take advantage of today’s mobile workforce, a dedicated MailPlus mobile app helps them always stay on top of things.
Compared with other traditional on-premise email software, MailPlus is extremely easy to set up, more modern in terms of functionality and user interface and is often a more affordable solution for growing and expanding businesses.
Similarly, to boost everyday productivity, DSM 6.0 presents a new SpreadSheet app that allows employees to collaborate simultaneously. Stored on a company’s own Synology NAS, they have full control of their data privacy and security, and the accounts and permissions are easily managed within their existing Windows AD or LDAP infrastructure. Employees no longer have to register for an account from a third-party service themselves, with IT administrators having virtually no control when a person leaves the company. Like other cloud-service-like apps on Synology NAS, such as Cloud Station and Note Station, SpreadSheet enables businesses to make the most of the massive storage of their NAS, and saves them money from purchasing premium plans from cloud providers.
Larger enterprises with multiple business units or large departments do not have to purchase a NAS drive for every unit. Virtualisation technologies in DSM 6.0, including Virtual DSM and Docker DSM, provide two different ways to create multiple virtual Synology NAS on one physical hardware, realising a multi-tenant environment. Each virtualised DSM can be managed independently by each department and run different applications. Resources like storage space, CPU or memory can also be allocated flexibly from the physical hardware, which in turn maximises the overall IT efficiency.
Finally, for disaster recovery purposes, IT administrators can use the advanced Snapshot Replication feature to take snapshots of shared folders or iSCSI LUNs up to every 5 minutes, and then replicate them to one or more off-site Synology NAS. This approach gives them the ability to achieve nearly instant point-in-time recovery when disaster strikes.
Alternatively, businesses lacking a suitable off-site location or only wishing to keep an off-site archive as cost-effective as possible can use Hyper Backup to encrypt and back up data to public clouds such as Amazon S3, Microsoft Azure, IBM SoftLayer, RackSpace and other OpenStack Swift compatible servers.