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Long Term Review: Synology DS409

Over the past three years, my primary home NAS has been the Synology DS409; in this time, I’ve built my own NAS solutions as well and have trialled a number of home-build solutions but my core home NAS remains the DS409.

When I bought the DS409, I looked and considered a number of competing solutions; Drobo and QNAP boxes came highly recommended and there are still plenty of people who swear by them.

The build quality of the DS409 is excellent and still looks pretty much good as new but then again it is not as it I am kicking it across the room on a regular basis. I give it regular clean-out with compressed air, just to blow the dust out of the fans; it still runs quiet and cool.

It currently has 4x1Tb Western Digital drives in a RAID-5 format; it has an additional e-SATA drive attached to it to provide additional storage. These are carved up to provide NFS, SMB and iSCSI shares.

As well as providing traditional file-sharing capability, it is also the print server for the house and also works as a DNLA and an Airplay server. If I didn’t have a separate web-server, VPN server etc; it could also do that for me.

You can integrate into an Active Directory domain if you so wish and you have a variety of options for backing up; you can use an rsync-based back-up solution, back-up in to the s3 Cloud or simply back-up to a locally attached external disk.

Synology continue to support and update the DS409 with firmware and features; the feature-set is constantly being improved features like Synology Hybrid RAID which allows mixed sized drives to be used in a similar way to the Drobo; to CloudStation which enabled your Synology device to work as a private Cloud-storage device.

Synology are constantly improving their software and it is fairly admirable that they continue to update their software for products which they no longer sell. The user interface has improved significantly over time; it is simple and intuitive and if you need to, you can always drop back into the Linux command-line. Having access to the Linux command line means that there are a number of third party applications which can also be installed, it is a very hacker-friendly box.

The only thing it really lacks, is significant integration with VMware but most home-users and probably most small businesses will not miss this at all.

When the time comes to replace my home NAS, Synology will be top of my list.

Highly recommended.

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