Why I’m not happy with Syno branded HDDs or SSDs strategy

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Why I’m not happy with Syno branded HDDs or SSDs strategy

Synology, TrueNAS
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  2. Windows
In recent months, Synology has demonstrated how they want to fight for the enterprise segment:
- new DSM7 demo and Beta
- new enterprise level branded SSDs
- same for HDDs

let’s come clean. When any storage vendor wants to enter into enterprise segment, there is necessary to secure these domains, mandatory:

1. Product HW
- enterprise class performance based on scalable architecture

How Syno treats such wording:
- storage expansion boxes for a scale out or scale up storage pools nodes. In Syno based on single lane eSATA bus, what is insufficient for a Volumes share between boxes.
- single PCI 3.0 x8 - what is enough for 10Gbps slot, but in case of share this slot with NVMe cache it’s lean in a mine fields. But Ok, XS+/SA/FS models come with two 10Gbs NICs naturally.
- SFP+ for a fiber environment. Doesn’t exist in Syno upgrades.
- OFC RAM upgrade ability does exist.
Enough for Small enterprise class, no way for mid sized or higher floors.

2. Product SW
- core of the storage operation

How Syno treats such wording:
- there doesn’t exist clear backup/recovery of entire DSM include all data/setup of the subsystems. In case of the lose primary disk pool you will lose all mentioned.
- insufficient support of UPS, missing integration of safe shutdown services
- block level SCSI storage. Doesn’t exist in Syno from 2019.
- no way to allocate resources for a specific processes (e.g. more RAM or CPU power for a backup)
- single DSM for “smart external storage box” (Syno j-class) and same for the enterprise level storage. Simplified GUI for a easy going newbies and lost customization defined by CLI in case of each new DSM upgrades.
- Docker containers management. No need to continue.
Enough for Small enterprise class, no way for mid sized or higher floors.

3. Support
- in case of any troubles you will find some for a help

How Syno treats such wording:
- no enterprise level support. Yes, based on defined cost. But available in defined SLA with expected pro-grade level skills at Syno side
- there is only single level support. Again same for newbies and enterprise requesters. Yes it’s free, then the quality is adequate.
- no second tier level available

So. I can’t imagine why Syno try to purchase attention of the enterprise segment with such pointless steps as enterprise (mid range) level of branded SSDs or HDDs. When they have long to do list out of their interest. Is it a kind of corruption?
“Look we have our own branded disk drives?”
For some madmans with purchase order rights?
When low cost doesn’t mean quality
and when Syno likes fight in the enterprise battleground they needs to know that:
- they never win by technical specifications (everyone will beat them)
- they can win just by TCO. But clear mind will stop this kind of comparison, because all the mentions above

And with the low cost strategy they have just one choice:
- sell more boxes for more customers = retail
Then Syno needs solve this paranoia = more low cost or more enterprise reliable. With current DSM, HW expansion and single level of the Support = good for retail and small companies.
My guess is they are going for selling themself to some larger player. Even though they are lacking ent elements (considering they never aimed that high), they might get a deal, and in the end, sell their business to a more ent oriented company.

Not something I think is going to happen but it might in some scenarios. Also, all of these features are enough for a mid-range setup, and as much as there are some ent elements missing, still for a small price of their HW compared to some mid to high-end ent solutions out there, you get a lot out of these boxes.
we can refuse the HW insufficiency.
All power (home, small business) users can live w/o SFP+, include the eSATA lines for the expansions,... but it’s about standards in the enterprise env.

But the SW and Support are aligned to every kind of power user daily jobs. And it’s a shame, that Syno knows about it more than year and doesn’t solve it. Even in the new DSM7 it’s out of the care.

For me was the “silent” step away from block level SCSI a kind of cheat. No official announcement there from Syno.
For me was the “silent” step away from block level SCSI a kind of cheat
How about the fact that Syno NAS can be an ISCSI initiator as well? This works but as a heavy under the hood/cli operation only. This was something that worked just fine in DSM5 and before and then they "removed" it from UI but kept it in cli mode (unofficially).

All power (home, small business) users can live w/o SFP+
yes and no, but I hear you

Even in the new DSM7 it’s out of the care.
Big bite, smallmouth. Maybe they are on their way to reconstructing themselves. Years back Syno support was way worse than it is now and atm it still depends on the region you are in and the response team you get connected with. In my personal case (lately) most tickets were addressed within 12h. In my book for a non-paid support account, this is acceptable.
Did you mean block level setup by iscsiadm? No way to setup the block level there. But maybe I'm wrong.
I agree, Synology seems got the Apple poison, but with big differences, they have not such outstanding halo poduct apple has.
If this sifts down to the home user level, I'll take it as an opportunity to build my own NAS whatchamacallit. No way will I lock into Synology hardware.
back to pragmatic layer:
- my consideration was about the specific enterprise HW/SW and enterprise Support
- then we can’t compare current free of charge general support for retail with SLA based (ofc paid) for enterprise. No doubt.
- measure of the support quality isn’t a time of first response, but competence or capability to solve the ticket. Second important KPI is the time. When general support is prepared for request like “how I can shutdown my XXXj NAS”, then the competence for “deep dive” request is terrible - as was seen many times by some of us.

Regarding Syno decision to lock their “enterprise” boxes with their branded drives. So market will give them a response. This isn’t a correct way how to “purchase” the enterprise market. Especially when they would like to fight with exist Enterprise supply chain and their heavy relationship with customers. People from NetApp and similar companies must be positively surprised from such Syno strategy.
another trouble of the enterprise market “lock” is based on SATA HDD only.
But the enterprise env needs SAS (also SATA) more than SATA only.

and how in Free/TrueNAS understands topic of the enterprise support:

last point:
Synology in 2020 dropped from Gartner MQ for Enterprise Primary Storage Arrays.
In 2019 there was defined simple cautions about the Syno by Gartner:
- limited enterprise delivery and support channels
- lack of scale out capabilities (mentioned by me above)
- lack of reduction technologies (internal dedupe technologies for the primary storage operation)

Jus to be sure in this Gartner report was evaluated only FS and XS/XS+ series in categories:
- SSA - Solid state arrays (FS)
- HSA - Hybrid storage arrayes (XS+/XS)

... this is the first market answer
Syno needs understand that there is no way to create single DSM for all. And any investment to branded SSDs or HDDs can’t open doors to this market, when they have unsolved more important DSM services.

Yes, there is a business space for small companies. But they don’t care about branded drives.



Yes, there is a business space for small companies. But they don’t care about branded drives.
I agree. I think this is where Synology is now. Enthusiast consumers (like us) and small companies.

By forcing this new policy they’ll be hurting themselves with the small companies that adapted their solutions and I don’t think it’ll be the ticket that gets them into the Fortune 500 space. It needs much, much more than that to enter the exclusive club.

Lots of “streamlining” references in their marketing material won’t cut it :)

In the complicated Storage market each single vendor needs to decide what market they will cover by what kind of solution. There are too different needs or expectations, operation models, risks perception, ... and of course cost level segmentation.
Reason why we don’t have Hitachi NASes for home usage, ...

It’s not a shame to provide solutions for multi billion retail/SMB market. And in this area is Syno really one of strong players, together with QNAP and Free/TrueNAS. Then there is heavy gap, and another vendors continue to cover such segment (ASUS, Buffalo, ...).

What about to invest an energy to keep the position? Or repair old bugs?
Better than shoot into dark and call it “enterprise solution for ...”
No, Synology isn’t ready for the enterprise market.
maybe here is another kind of “Nokia Trojan Horse” example/reason in the Syno management, responsible for such company strategy. :rolleyes:
Or just a bad day in decision making. Then several bad days in row.
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The prior comments about Synology’s market penetration strategy are interesting. But, maybe the situation is considerably more straightforward. What if the company’s primary motivation for introducing the HAT5300 is actually what they claim it to be: namely, enhancing product reliability? This is the motivation described in their introductory blog post (In Pursuit of Reliability).

I suspect that “reliability” is the single most important product attribute from a marketing and sales perspective, and it makes sense that Synology can achieve better competitive differentiation by improving reliability through increased vertical integration of components (as has been done by Apple, for example).
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Synology coding concerns me... If their firmware is as reliable as their software, interesting times are ahead.


UPDATE: It appears that Synology has backed down on drive-locking (somewhat).
Enterprise-drives not on the compatibility list will be permitted... with the following caveat...

"Synology will not provide technical support if your device is not on the Synology Products Compatibility List."

That is still a major obstacle for enterprise users, as it is not as simple as switching memory cards.

Ref: here and here

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