Over the past few years I have taken particular interest in network-attached storage, or NAS for short. As sharing large amounts of data from a standard desktop computer became problematic, the move to NAS just made sense and today provides a central point to share and store data in our office on a daily basis.

Roughly two years ago the perfect solution for us presented in the form of the Synology Cube Station 407e. This NAS device supported four hard drives and was powered by a 266MHz processor and 64MB of RAM. At the time this was an impressive setup for a small office environment, though with limited horsepower there was only so much the CS407e could do.

Since then I have checked out a number of NAS devices, including Synology's own Disk Station DS-509+ which is designed for anything from office use to corporate data center-type work. This NAS device supports up to five hard drives and sports a 1.06GHz processor with 1GB of memory. The improved performance made the DS-509+ a temptation that I simply could not resist, and the CS407e was eventually replaced albeit the steep $1000 price tag.

Indeed, the DS-509+ is far from affordable and significantly more expensive than the $360 CS407e we used to run. Therefore, as we saw things, the ideal NAS device for todays SOHO users would be something that could deliver performance similar to that of the DS-509+, but at a price that was more in line with the CS407e.

Synology is attempting to deliver on this with their latest 09-series Disk Station models released last month. The Disk Station DS-409+ that we'll be reviewing today supports four hard drives with a powerful 1.06GHz processor and 512MB of RAM. These specifications are similar to those of the DS-509+, but with a $600 price tag that we feel is a more achievable target for consumers.

The DS-409+ is designed to appeal to small-and-medium business users seeking an affordable solution for efficient data sharing and backup. Besides the specifications detailed above, this new NAS device supports 2TB hard drives and therefore can be configured with up to 8TBs of storage.

Additionally, all the 09-series Disk Station models are shipping with the Disk Station Manager 2.1 software. This software uses an AJAX-based interface, adds integration for new mail server capabilities with the installation of the Mail Station add-on, enhances Synology Surveillance Station, storage management, user management, privilege management, and adds support for new languages.

Next up, a closer look at the Disk Station DS-409+ unit's hardware, software and performance metrics for your consumption.