UPDATE: 22/12/2020 - added an image of HS from the web browser in the section - "How do I get to my files?"

Back in April of 2020, I have written about his feature as a follow up on attending one of Synology webinars on the upcoming DSM7. One of the top 3 features that come with DSM7 (on selected models) is Hybrid Share. Let's see what HS is and how it can help you get more out of your Synology setup.

Hybrid Share - on-premise Synology NAS with a touch of Synology C2 cloud magic

So what is HS? Well, it is a new feature that is an integrated part of DSM7. It will allow you to use your C2 cloud plan and space to have cloud-stored data accessible on your NAS but it will live in the cloud.

It will offer immediate access to files in the cloud storage upon mounting a C2 HS folder on your NAS. This is done using the Control Panel > Shared folder options. On top of this, you will be able to achieve multi-site file access by mounting that same C2 HS folder on multiple NAS devices at the same time! Now that is cool.
As a result, this will reduce local storage and bandwidth usage by having certain data stored in the C2 cloud. To make things "feel" fast and quick HS will cache active file locally for low-latency file access. Also, the whole process is encrypted end to end with AES-256 bit encryption.

What happens if you delete your local HS mount? Well, considering that each NAS can have one active mount point at a time, you could be tempted to delete your existing one and mount another one.

In case you do that keep in mind that the data on C2 that was already synced up will remain in the C2. Also, if you want to reconnect to your C2 HS destination just start the process again, and enter your encryption key. DSM will automatically connect your NAS and your local storage folder with the destination. Simple.

Do we all get it?

TL;DR - no.

Hybrid Share does have some requirements and limitations. To use HS you will need:

  • Synology NAS with 2GB of RAM or more
  • Synology VDSM (Virtual DSM) is not supported, so a bare-metal device is a must
  • Synology NAS with BTRFS volume where HS share will live
  • Synology NAS with DSM 7 or above (DSM 6.x will not support HS)
  • Synology Account with an active C2 plan
  • You can have only one (1) mounted HS folder

Not unreasonable IMHO and almost all of Synology's mid range lineup will be able to use this feature no matter how old they are.

How to setup HS?

The following steps will show you how to configure and use the HS feature with your NAS

Open up Control Panel > Shared Folder and follow the steps:

Begining of creation of HS folder
As stated you will need a HS plan. Will this be a part of your C2 backup plan? We will see
You can't move forward until you agree to to terms. 1TB space during preview/beta period
Setup your encryption key. It will download later to your local machine. SAVE IT!
Nothing more to say here, it is all there.
After all the C2 elements, you can name your HS folder like any other local one
Add permissions to it
You are done!

Once you have created a folder it will be visible in your File Station or any device using supported file protocols. Simply copy the data into it and the upload will start.

Example of upload status towards HS folder on C2
You can see your network utilization when upload is in progress
Upload report and folder content

How do I limit the upload speed?

In case you have a problem with your upload speed (slow upload) you might get into a bit of trouble when HS starts to push data. To get away from this you can limit uploads to off-hours only (setting up a task that will move your data to the HS folder during the night) and on top of this, you can use Traffic Control.

If you open up Control Panel > Network and then go to the Traffic Control tab. There you will be able to select HS as a service and limit its speed.

This will help you with a low upload speed so that your Internet link will not choke up completely.

Traffic Control, use it to limit speed of any of your NAS service

How do I get to my files?

Please keep in mind that the beta rules and limitations will change once the function will roll out following the official DSM 7 release.

At the moment the only way to access your content is using a mounted share inside your NAS or using the desktop client (macOS, Linux, Win) for a one-way download of the latest version of files from C2.

Access via a web browser (like you can access your Hyper Backup tasks that you have in C2) will be added at some point in time, but for now, NAS and client access are the only ones.

UPDATE 22/12/2020 - At the moment using the web UI of C2, you are able to access your Hyper Backup tasks as well as Hybrid Share (beta) section.

Hybrid Share overview inside C2

Unlike HB, HS only offers list of connected devices and time when they were mounted to your HS share as well as a progress bar of how much spare is taken.

One last thing that you can do is delete the data, but you can't access it. Again, this is the current state and it might change in the future.

Option to delete you HS data from the C2 web UI

Once this feature goes live you will be able to use the C2 web portal to access your HS content on top of your HB backup task files.

Accessing your files using the desktop Download Tool

After you install the client on your macOS, Linux, or Windows OS start it up and follow the instructions.

Login to C2 Hybrid Share with your synology.com account
Enter your C2 credentials
Enter or import your HS encryption key
Select and download, done!

One thing to note here is that you can download your files one by one or multiple files at the same time, but you can only Shift select, not Control select, meaning that you cant select random files, just as a single block. Too bad, maybe this will be added later on.

Hybrid Share feature list

So alongside the limitations/requirements from before, here are the features that HS will support.

Protocols that we will be able to use in order to get to our HS data are :

  • SMB/CIFS
  • AFP
  • NFS
  • FTP
  • WebDAV

Anyone using Synology NAS for a while will notice that these are all the default protocols that DSM supports (apart from FTP, SFTP, and FTPS).

Also, a number of DSM apps will also be able to take advantage of HS folders. Here is the list (might change over time):

  • File Station
  • Hyper Backup - (A C2 Hybrid Share folder can only be set as the source folder)
  • Cloud Sync
  • Web Station
  • USB Copy
  • Presto File Server
  • Synology Universal Search
  • Document/PDF Viewer
  • Log Center

Among these apps here are some other specifications and limitations that might also change over time, but are in effect right now.

Allows setting a maximum storage size on a Btrfs volume as the local cache, which stores frequently accessed cloud data. Please note the following:

  • The local cache size cannot be smaller than the Btrfs volume's available capacity or the storage size of the C2 Hybrid Share folder
    
  • The local cache size cannot be larger than 150 GB or 5% of the storage size of the C2 Hybrid Share folder
    

Evicts the least recently used (LRU) data from the mounted C2 Hybrid Share folder's local cache when it reaches the system-defined threshold

Sends notifications when specific Hybrid Share Service events or errors occur, such as when the local cache is full or the mounted C2 Hybrid Share folder disconnects from Synology C2

So to conclude, HS will allow you to use remote C2 space in a combination with your NAS and remote backups across multiple apps and file services. There is no doubt that anyone who is using C2, and on top of this has multiple NAS units will be able to save some local space by migrating data to the cloud and simply connecting to it from any NAS at any given time.

As time goes by we will all see how this feature will evolve but at the moment it is great to see a feature that will bring your on-prem NAS and C2 closed together while still keeping you inside the Synology eco-system.

How do you like the idea of HS? Have you tried it already, or maybe using it daily? Let me know in the comments below.