It has been a busy few weeks in the world of high-capacity NAS (Network Attached Storage) devices, seeing launches from the likes of LaCie, Netgear and Thecus. Taiwan-based Synology has joined the party with its Disk Station DS209+, a solution that bring reasonable performance on a smaller scale to entry-level businesses and home-based enthusiasts. Let’s not get carried away though, the Disk Station DS209+ doesn’t have the build quality of Netgear’s ReadyNAS NV+, but it is packed with more features and runs faster. It’s not cheap at £399 without any hard drives, but once you add a couple of drives there is no stopping it.

The Disk Station DS209+ is the company’s latest two-bay Disk Station model and comes equipped with hardware that mirrors the high-end Disk Station DS508, including an 800MHz CPU and 512MB of RAM, as well as three USB ports, an eSATA port and a Gigabit Ethernet port. A neat touch is the Copy button on the front of the drive. Pressing it will cause the contents of an attached USB storage device to be copied to a predefined location on the appliance. In addition to acting as a data silo for multiple users on a network, the Disk Station DS209+ can also be used as a powerful file server.

That’s not all. The Disk Station DS209+ is equipped with an AJAX-based management interface, RAID 1 data protection, and is even designed to host up to 30 Web sites thanks to the Linux Virtual Host. Meanwhile, in order to meet the requirement of massive usage, the Disk Station DS209+ supports up to 256 concurrent connections and allows the creation of 2048 different user accounts. Compiling the Windows ADS Authentication design and the Batch Users function, the Disk Station DS209+ assures massive user account creation and management that answers most corporate needs.

Thanks to Synology’s Disk Station Manager 2.0 software, the drive is also easy to setup and manage – and impressively powerful! Disk Station Manager 2.0 adds a wide range of new features, including RAID 6 volume type, built-in NFS (Network File System), Link Aggregation, Virtual Host, as well as an extensive scope of function enhancements covering Download Station 2, File Station, Audio Station, Photo Station, Surveillance Station, and much more.

Browsing through the new features, RAID 6 volume type is now supported for advanced data protection elevating security level. In the meantime, apart from supporting S.M.A.R.T. function of the hard drives, the Disk Station Manager 2.0 also runs S.M.A.R.T. test which helps to monitor, detect, and report hard disk status on an automatic basis alerting possible hard drive failures and avoiding probable data loss. Large amount of manual costs can also be saved. The built-in NFS can now be easily enabled on management user interface along with privileges setup, sparing all previous manual procedures. And creating large amount of new users will no longer be a time-consuming process by applying the Batch User function.

Under the premise that the Web Station is activated, the Virtual Host settings give you access to host multiple Web sites on one single server. Moreover, the dual-port Link Aggregation offers users load sharing and failover supports to ensure a working environment free from interruption. Enhancement wise, Local Backup can now perform multiple backup tasks with a friendly Wizard guiding you along the way. The enhanced FTP server presents the advanced privileges of ‘write-only’ and limits the maximum connection from each IP. Furthermore, by supporting UTF-8, you will no longer face disordered coding issue and the language barrier is torn down. And a whole new Download Station 2 offers new channels like eMule and NZB while allowing partial file download from BitTorrent.

Synology’s Disk Station DS-209+ is a compact dual-drive box that doesn’t forget about performance. Indeed, this badboy is one of the fastest in its class. Offering top read and write speeds of over 42MB/s and 36MB/s respectively, the Disk Station DS-209 is perfect for enthusiasts chucking huge files across a Windows, Linux and Mac network. Tree huggers will also love its low power consumption, which only requires is a mere 32 watts, and the scheduled power on/off function. The newly introduced 3-speed smart fan design even adjusts its spinning rhythm automatically based on temperature detected, but even with the fan topping at maximum speed, the noise level is barely audible at a mere 25dB, which is quieter than colleagues sharing gossip in an open-plan office. Highly recommended.