Is storage about to become the hot product category for 2009? Probably not, but you might think so based on all the recent media sever-based NAS devices that are being announced. Just yesterday we told you about Iomega's Home Media Network Hard Drive
, and earlier today we reported on the Linksys by Cisco Media Hub
. Now comes word of yet another media serving NAS device; this time the updated Buffalo LinkStation Pro.
Two new LinkSation Pro models have just been announced: the 500GB LS-XH500L ($209.99) and the 1TB LS-XH1.0TL ($299.99). These new LinkStation Pro NAS devices are actually priced between that of the Iomega ($159.99 for the 500GB model) and the Cisco ($299.99 for the lower-end 500GB model) NAS devices. The new LinkStation Pro units use faster on-board processors than previous LinkStation models, which should speed up file transfers. The LinkStation Pro's new chassis design makes it look like a sleek and back glossy version of an Xbox 360.
These new models also support remote Internet access via Buffalo's Web Access 2.0 feature, so users can access files stored on the NAS devices over the Internet when away from home. In fact, Buffalo states that since the devices use Web 2.0 technology, even iPhones are capable of remotely accessing the LinkStation Pro devices. Presumably, any device that has Internet access and a robust enough browser should be able to remotely access the new LinkStation Pro models. Remote connections are established through the Buffalo Web Access portal
, which establishes a peer-to-peer connection between the client and the NAS device. You can set up user and folder-based permissions, and you can even remotely upload files to the NAS device. Unlike the Cisco device (which offers free remote access for only one year), Buffalo's remote access feature is always free to use.
The LinkStation Pro supports DLNA, includes an iTunes sever, an FTP server, and has a built-in BitTorrent client. The LinkStation Pro even comes with Memeo automatic backup software for both Windows PCs and Macs. The LinkStation Pro includes a single USB 2.0 port, which can be used for additional storage or as a print server. The units include a Gigabit Ethernet port and support CIFS/SMB, AFP, HTTP/HTTPs, FTP/FTPS, and NFS protocols. With AFP support and a Mac backup client, the LinkSation Pro appears to one of the more Mac-friendly NAS devices we've seen lately.