Synology DiskStation DS1522+

Synology to allow M.2 SSDs to store data

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Synology has quietly revealed plans to start allowing the use of M.2 SSDs for storing data. Previously, such drives were only able to be used as caching drives. With the launch of the Synology DiskStation DS923+, it seems the company is wanting to bring its NAS offerings up to par with its competition. The caveat is that only the DS923+ is currently listed as supported.

Why is M.2 SSD storage a big deal?

M.2 slots are found on numerous Synology NAS enclosures but the company has only allowed one to use SSDs installed in them for caching. This isn’t the same approach other manufacturers have taken, including ASUSTOR. Some of the best NAS allows you to use M.2 drives for storing data.

2.5-inch drives are considerably faster than mechanical drives, but M.2 drives can often come rocking even higher bandwidth. This can make all the difference in transferring larger files. Not everyone wants to use M.2 slots for caching, which leaves them empty without storage support.

This is all set to change for Synology fans … so long as you own the new Synology DiskStation DS923+. It has been spotted on the DS923+ product page that Synology will allow the M.2 slots to be used for caching and storing data.

Will my Synology NAS support M.2 SSD storage?

Synology DiskStation DS1522+
Synology DiskStation DS1522+ has M.2 slots but isn’t listed as supporting M.2 SSD storage. (Source: NAS Master)

That depends. For now, Synology’s website lists only the DiskStation DS923+ as fully supporting such storage. It’s not clear whether the company plans to change this policy moving forward or we’re only going to see new NAS enclosures arrive with such support.

We’d lean toward the latter since it would be strange for Synology to hold back such functionality only to roll it out now to existing enclosures. We could (and hope to) be wrong here, but I wouldn’t hold your breath for backward compatibility.

How will M.2 SSD storage work?

We’ll have to get our hands on the DiskStation DS923+ soon to figure this out, but we imagine it’ll work similarly to how one adds and manages mechanical and solid-state drives within DSM using the drive bays. Synology’s website (linked above) lists a few disclaimers:

  • Only use Synology M.2 SSDs that are compatible with your NAS model. These SSDs have been thoroughly tested to ensure they can operate in storage pools and remain within the operating temperature range.
  • The M. 2 form factor is not hot-pluggable. Note the following when using an M.2 SSD storage pool:
    • Make sure to power off the system before you insert or remove any M.2 SSDs.
    • Set aside time for maintenance actions, such as drive replacement, storage expansion, RAID-type conversion, and storage pool repair. These actions often involve the insertion/removal of M.2 SSDs and therefore require powering off the system.
  • Synology High Availability (SHA) does not support storage pools created using M.2 SSDs.

If you’re looking for an M.2 SSD for storing data on your Synology NAS, we’ve got you covered with our collection of the best NAS SSDs.

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