The QNAP TS-409 Pro Turbo has the potential to be a really useful storage system, both for business users who need secure data backup features, and for home users who may simply need extra storage for their ever-increasing collections of digital music, photo and video files.
However, QNAP needs to make more of an effort to improve the QNAP TS-409 Pro Turbo's ease of use for less technical users.
The QNAP TS-409 Pro Turbo is a network attached storage (NAS) device that can be connected to a home or office network so that its extra storage space can be shared by everyone on the network.
But rather than containing a single hard disk drive, this large, matte-black box can hold no fewer than four separate hard disks. Our review unit QNAP TS-409 Pro Turbo was priced at just under £740 and comes equipped with four 500GB drives to provide a total of 2TB of storage space. Other configurations are available, although the cost of these will depend on the manufacturer, speed and size of the drives that you choose.
The storage capacity of the drives inside the QNAP TS-409 Pro Turbo can be combined and treated as a single large disk, or you can use RAID software (which you'll need to supply yourself) to provide improved performance or data security by 'mirroring' the drives so that they store multiple backups of your important files.
The QNAP TS-409 Pro Turbo also functions as a file and print server, so it can be used to set up a network printer, store a central media library, or even run a website.
The only problem is that the manual provided with the QNAP TS-409 Pro Turbo assumes far too much knowledge of networking and doesn't really provide much help for non-technical users. It makes no effort to explain networking concepts such as 'shares' – the shared folders that can be set up for individual users on your network. And, like many NAS drives, the TS-409 is configured by using a web browser to connect to its own internal ‘home' web page. (This doesn't work with Apple's Safari.
Once it's set up, the TS-409 Pro works well and provides a very versatile storage system and file sharer. However, its cost, complex set-up procedure, and lack of compatibility with the main Mac web browser mean that it's mostly going to be suitable for business users who have knowledgeable IT staff on hand to install and maintain it properly.