Synology Disk Station DS209+ NAS box review

Synology serves up an appealing NAS storage unit for the small business user.

Uniquely, the DS209+ can be used as a security surveillance system since it can record video and still images from up to 10 IP cameras. Certain features, such tilting and panning, are only available with certain cameras though. More details can be found at Synology's list of supported cameras.

The DS209+ can also be used as a FTP and web server. It can even host fairly sophisticated websites incorporating PHP scripts and MySQL databases. Even if you don't have a static IP address or a registered domain, you can still access your site thanks to the built-in Dynamic DNS support. In the event of a power outage, the DS209+ can recognise that it's running off a UPS, alert you via email and safely shut down after a set duration.

As expected, there's support for Active Directory, while in addition to sharing the contents of USB and eSATA disks over your network, you can also share a USB printer, potentially saving the expense of a dedicated Ethernet or Wi-Fi -equipped network printer.

The included backup software supports scheduled backups, but you can use your own backup program with the DS209+ if you wish. You can add an extra layer of data redundancy by setting the DS209+ to back up the contents of its disks to another Synology NAS or to a USB or eSATA disk.

Since Synology uses almost identical firmware across all of its models, there's also a plethora of consumer-orientated features built into the DS209+. Some are genuinely useful such as being able to stream stored media to an UPnP network media player or downloading files over BitTorrent without the aid of a computer. A few seem a little redundant. Unless you're paranoid about security, the photo server doesn't offer anything over publicly available photo sharing services, such as Flickr. T

he interface for the streaming music player is clumsy and unintuitive compared to UPnP playback programs and the iTunes server just refused to work, though we have seen it working well on Synology's more expensive DS508 unit .

Despite this abundance of features, the DS209+ remained very quiet in use. It's not totally silent but it's one of the quietest NAS devices we've seen. It uses only 14W in standby and 31W when active, but you can schedule start up and shutdown times if you're determined to save even more on your energy bills.

Verdict

The DS209+ is an impressive NAS with a long list of generally well-implemented and useful features. However, since it doesn’t come fitted with any disks, we wish its price were lower. We’re also disappointed to see that the chassis is almost identical to Synology’s previous two disk NAS devices. A model with more easily accessible disks is long overdue. Nevertheless, the DS209+ is an excellent NAS that’s well worth buying if you can live with its few caveats.

Storage: 2 x SATA drive bays

Ports: 3x USB 2.0, 1x eSATA

RAID: RAID 0, RAID 1

Network: 1 x Gigabit Ethernet

Management: Web browser

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