Firmware and Web-Interface Overview
Having advanced hardware capabilities, the DS209+ offers a rich selection of extra services that can rarely be found in other devices of its class. This functionality is supported by firmware, and the firmware image you can download from the manufacturer’s website is about 20 times the capacity of the NAS’s flash memory chip. It is because most of the firmware is written to the internal hard disk rather than into the flash memory. When booting up for the first time, the NAS creates a system partition, over 100MB large, for that purpose.
By the way, the source code of the firmware is only available at a special request and will cost you $20. Perhaps this is the reason why PC enthusiasts do not create their own versions of this firmware. At least we couldn’t find serious projects concerning Synology products on the Web. However, you can find some info about customizing Synology’s firmware, for example at http://oinkzwurgl.org/diskstation. Although that resource is focused on junior NAS models from Synology, some of its materials should be interesting for owners of the DS209+ as well.
Judging by the forum at the Synology website and by the Wiki-page the company supports, Synology has a favorable attitude towards hardware enthusiasts. The company is among the few manufacturers of home networking equipment who officially make their product accessible via Telnet and SSH. You had to install a patch to enable such access before, but this capability has been added into the web-interface since the second version of Disk Station Manager.
People at Synology do not wait for individual users to polish the official firmware off but do the job themselves. The services you will find available in the firmware of the DS209+ are going to satisfy most users. When we were writing our review of the DS207+, we had the second version of the Disk Station Manager software (it is the name of the web-interface of Synology’s NASes) that pushed the functionality of Synology products to a new level. And our tests of the DS209+ nearly coincided with the official release of Disk Station Manager version 2.1. This update doesn’t offer any dramatic innovations, but provides considerable improvements. We will discuss them during our description of the firmware.
So, DSM 2.1 is an AJAX-based interface. It is visual, beautiful and intuitive. The NAS’s functions are fully integrated within the interface.
It now has a Desktop, like Windows’ one, where icons of all the active services of the DS209+ are located.