Features - more
As I analyzed what was going on, I saw that when the encryption option was turned off, the TS-209 would mount a remote SMB share and run rsync between the two specified directories. When encryption was turned on, rsync would be run in an SSH session so that the data would be encrypted over the network—which could be important if your destination is somewhere off your local LAN.
Note that the data is encrypted during the transfer, but is not encrypted on the final destination disk. The same is true for compression. As I was setting this up, I entered incorrect information a couple of times, and I was sent an email notifying me of a problem during the backup. Figure 6 shows the list of backup jobs and their current status.
Figure 6: Backup Jobs
This backup feature was well done, powerful, and is the kind of thing that I usually do myself by writing the appropriate scripts and job scheduling. Like the TS-101, the TS-209 also includes a software package to back up data from your PC to the TS-209. Check out my TS-101 review for a description of this package.
The TS-209 Pro advertises itself as a "12 in 1 server." This refers to the unit running a lot more services than the normal NAS device you'd pick up at your local big-box electronics store. Along with the standard web server, file-server and print server, the TS-209 optionally runs a UPnP multimedia server, an iTunes server, and two different database servers—MySQL and SQLite.
During this review, I got notice of a firmware update, so I re-flashed to the version "V1.1.1 build 0831," which had several bug fixes, and also includes a popular administration utility for MySQL, phpMyAdmin, which makes it easy to manage your database. Along with the utility, QNAP also provides an Application Note on their web site describing how to use phpMyAdmin to administer and install phpBB, a popular bulletin-board program, on your TS-209.
The TS-209 Pro is not your Grandmother's NAS. QNAP is clearly targeting sophisticated users. Speaking of sophisticated users, when I reviewed the TS-101, I had to perform an ugly hack to get root-level access to the unit. This is not the case with the TS-209. Figure 7 shows another new feature of the TS-209, the ability turn on either telnet or SSH.
Figure 7: Remote login configuration
Also note the ability to run these servers on non-standard ports for a little bit more protection. For power users like myself, this remote login access is much appreciated. Personally, I don't even consider using a NAS on which I can't get a command-line anymore.
For example, earlier in this review when I had a problem with NFS access and my Mac, I was able to fix it. Since I had command-line access, I was able to log in and change the NFS configuration file to be compatible with Apple's OS X. With most consumer NAS devices, I would have been out of luck and at the mercy of the manufacturer to release an update.
For PHP power users, the TS-209 has a new screen that allows the administrator to edit the PHP configuration file through the web browser (Figure 8), or to upload or save a complete configuration file.
Figure 8: PHP Maintenance
This, and the ability to load new PHP libraries via the command-line, should satisfy the needs of those who utilize PHP in the web server.