Support for old Synology NAS ends: You need to know this

DSM 7 (Disk Station Manager) is the operating system of Synology NAS. The latest version has been available for a few months now and it’s time to switch to it. Support for old Synology NAS that are not yet running on it will end in the short term. What should you know about an upgrade to DSM 7?

DSM 7 is the most recent version of Synology’s operating system for all NAS of this brand. That is quite special, because it makes you as a user feel just as at home on a large rack server as the cheapest home model.

Provided that it can handle version 7. And that’s where you need to pay close attention. If you still do not have an upgrade link available in the update section of your NAS, there is a good chance that DSM 7 is no longer available for your device. And then the clock starts ticking.

Synology has announced that support for version 6.2 will end from June 2023. You will no longer receive security updates from that moment on.

Nas with DSM 6.2 loses weight

The NAS’s that fall by the wayside can now be called old by IT standards. This usually concerns devices that are about ten years old. For example, a NAS such as the DS214+ will still receive an upgrade to DSM 7. Given that Synology only rolls out a major version upgrade once every few years, you’re in good shape for the time being.

It also applies that you can continue to use a NAS that runs on DSM 6.2x after June 2023. You only have to take it offline, insofar as you have made the device accessible via the internet. It is also better to turn off features such as backing up to online storage services.

If you ensure that your NAS is in no way accessible via the cloud and you also disable all cloud functionality, you can continue with it for a while. In that case, make sure you have a strong password and preferably 2-factor authorization. And from that moment on, only use the NAS for file storage and leave the extras for what they are.

The Synology DS214+ (from 2014) will not get an update to DMS 7.

It’s an idea anyway – if you’re using such a really old Synology – to look out for a new Synology NAS† DSM 7 will then immediately run on it and you can use it for many years to come. Especially if your old animal is a budget copy for home use, you will notice that file transfer and other things work a lot faster. With the more extensive NASs of the brand, the differences in that area will be less shocking.

USB printer sharing is no longer possible

Another reason for sticking to DSM 6 for now is because some useful or even essential functions have been lost in DSM 7 for some users. For example, if you have a USB printer attached to your NAS to share it via the network, that will no longer work in DSM 7. In fact, this feature was already phased out in DSM 6 for unknown reasons.

If you still want to keep your USB printer accessible via the network, then you need to buy a print server. Those things are affordable, but you can also assemble something yourself with a raspberry pi† It’s a matter of installing the command-line version of Debian or Ubuntu on it and configuring CUPS – its printer tool.

DSM 7 also feels right at home on this DS416Play.

UPS limited under DSM 7

You also need the same Raspberry Pi plus one of the operating systems mentioned if you use a UPS for emergency power. In version 6.x, almost every UPS brand worked seamlessly with Synology NAS. It was very important that the UPS also received a shutdown signal from your NAS after switching off the NAS.

That is a must, because it prevents the batteries in such a UPS from being completely drained. Not only bad for those batteries, but it also takes hours before they are fully charged to their maximum capacity. And during that ‘charging time’ you are not protected against power failures.

Synology has removed that disable feature in DSM 7 for reasons unknown. The trick only works with expensive models from a Chinese UPS manufacturer that is relatively unknown in the west. The only solution is to use a Raspberry Pi and then Install and configure NUT

The strange thing is that NUT is also present in DSM 7, but configured in such a way that it only works with those vague Chinese UPSs. On the Synology Forum you will find an alternative way to get the whole thing working under DSM 7, but here applies: warranty up to the door.

Pay extra attention if you have connected a UPS to your NAS.

CUPS and AirPrint

Strangely enough, CUPS also runs under DSM 7. Only Synology has removed the option to use USB printers. The fact that CUPS is still present is a blessing in disguise for owners of an older network printer.

If you want to use that printer to print via your Apple device, you can still add the network printer as a printer and activate the Airprint functionality on the NAS. The described method behind the link works almost the same under DSM 7.

You can still ‘share’ network printers via DSM 7 and at the same time provide them with an Airprint function.

USB-DAC support expired

What is also a thing of the past under DSM 7 (and actually phased out under the latest versions of DSM 6) is the option to use a USB DAC. In short: using your NAS as a music player connected to the living room stereo is no longer possible. The Raspberry also comes in handy here as a life preserver.

However, all these limitations mean that DSM 7 returns to the essence of a NAS: providing storage space for files plus various accompanying perks.

The flagships of Synology have remained, such as Photo Station, Office, the desktop user interface in the browser and a range of business tools such as cloud syncing.

Virtual machine as a life preserver

Finally, a tip: if you have a Synology NAS at home on which you can run virtual machines, you can also use a VM instead of the Raspberry to restore the lost functionality. Issue of something like the aforementioned installing Debian in command-line form, or a virtual version of volume if you are purely concerned with a capable media player.

However, if you want to become more independent from the ‘whims’ of Synology, a Raspberry provides the most user freedom and future security. Fortunately, many users will not be bothered by the missing things.

A UPS is not very common in our regions, certainly not for home use. Furthermore, there is less and less printing, so most people will probably get over that. Nevertheless, things to realize before you click on the upgrade button.

We have Debian running in command-line form as a VM on one of the UPSs here. With CUPS on it, with which you can still add any desired printer. Extra advantage: you can set a much better print quality here than what the standard Synology/DSM sharing function has to offer.

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