Synology NAS is no cloud replacement nor a G Suite competitor

The short version: Synology does not care about the DSM apps (add-on packages) that come with their NAS. DSM apps that are supposed to replace cloud services are not stable enough to trust them with your data. And synology support is just abysmal.

For the past five years Synology has advertised their NAS as a means to get control of the cloud. You are supposed to use the DSM apps (add-on packages) that Synology offers for their NAS as an alternative for popular cloud services. But the sad truth about almost all cloud replacement apps is: they are in an unusable state.

The difference between Google G Suite and Synology Cloud apps is the G Suite works and Synology apps dont.

Note Station – the Evernote replacement

At the time of writing and 2 years after the release of Note Station it still has massive issues synchronizing notes from a mobile device that has been offline for some time. There is still no way to export notes to reuse them in other apps or migrate them to a another Synology NAS. There are still reports in the synology forum that data disappears after application updates.

I have nothing positive to say about Note Station. If you value your data do not use DS note.

Office – the Google Docs replacement

Office that has been out of beta since late 2016 has no way to set up documents for printing. There is no control of borders or of page margins. You can create documents but you cannot print them properly. The included download functionality only generates a docx files. You have to either use a cloud service to convert docx into pdf or have to have a locally installed office software to view (and probably print) the Synology Office file.

Google Docs may have many shortcomings with its limited functionality but it works way better; including print setup, pdf download work and document import.

You can create documents but you cannot print them properly.

MailPlus (Server) – the Gmail (Business mail domain) replacement

Synology Mail and MailPlus is nothing more than a fancy interface for either a remote mail server or a frontend for your own Synology Mail Server. The interface does work for the most part but you still have to rely on antispam filtering on the mail server. Synology Mail and MailPlus does not handle spam filtering on the level of Gmail or outlook.com does.
Setting up the Synology MailPlus server is not as easy as advertised. Fighting spam will be the biggest issue here and you will have to do everything by yourself. The app does not help you with useful presets. You need to have a deep understanding how mail servers and DNSBLs work.

This is in no way an alternative to what Google offers with their G Suite business mail domain and Gmail/Inbox.

Calender

Setup of the calendar app is straightforward. But using the calendar has similar issues as Note Station. Syncing dates does not always work as intended. And this is a much bigger issue than on a note taking application because it falls back on your reputation when being late multiple times because of the same “new” calendar app. Having experienced that a few times I moved to a more reliable alternative. There is also an unsolved issue (for over a year) of where to find the calendars on the file system to backup them for disaster recovery.

Sync issues are a no-go for any form of calendar. Just do not use Synology Calendar.

In the official forums there are quite a few threads about this and all of them end in resignation.

Cloud Station Server

Cloud station server works fine unless you have a large number of files to take care of. Ever since its release cloud station server desktop clients (Windows and Mac) have been having  issues with large file numbers. Large file numbers start in the tens of thousands. The client tends to eat up chunks of CPU. In the official forums there are quite a few threads about this and all of them end in resignation.

Cloud Station is one of the better apps and that makes it as good as dropbox was in its early days. Dropbox also used to have issues with large file numbers but they fixed the problem half a decade ago.

Conclusion

Synology NAS are great for local storage, home audio, home video, home surveillance and even docker testing. But if you are looking for a cloud replacement Synology NAS are not what your are looking for. Synology is strong when it comes to hardware and their main interface. But they are helpless when it comes to apps that should run on their NAS or as clients on Windows, Mac or mobile devices.

Synology seems to be stuck in the old mantra of storage solution instead of innovating to be a real competitor for cloud services providers like Google.

The difference between Google G Suite and Synology Cloud apps is the G Suite works and Synology apps dont. – Sadly 🙁

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