When thinking of network storage, most people imagine file servers, desktop NAS drives, and other devices that are capable of providing storage space to their home or office PCs. However, there are other storage devices that are designed to work with a network. And we’re talking about a network that can reach your other devices using your Internet connection, like a wireless network or wired network.
Network-attached storage, or NAS, allows you to store files on your home network and access those files from anywhere on your network or from a computer on a different network. Whether your primary interest is in backing up your computer, saving your data, or storing media, NAS can give you many benefits.
Basic Information About NAS
Network-attached storage is not a new thing. In fact, it was quite popular in the late ’90s and early ’00s, when most of the market was using SCSI (Small Computer System Interface). The majority of NAS products were built around ATA (Advanced Technology Attachment) storage. But it’s definitely made a comeback, with some great products available – ranging from basic file and print servers to full-blown home servers. Let’s take a look at the most popular network-attached storage solutions and discuss their pros and cons.
What is NAS? To understand NAS meaning, it’s first important to know how it works. The simplest form of networking is a direct, single-network connection. Networking is defined by two or more devices communicating directly with each other. Communication usually comes in the form of computer software that runs on one device and translates the software into instructions for the other device. In other words, a network functions as an extension to your computer. The actual connection can be in the form of a modem, cable modem, wireless, ethernet, or any of a number of protocols.
NAS is an extremely high-speed network utility that offers an alternate method of access to your PC’s storage capacity. It’s simple. When you attach a NAS free device to your network, it appears to the rest of the network as a hard drive that you’ve set up to access from a specific network location. You can then access files on this NAS hard drive.
Operating Principle of How a NAS Device Works
Most network attached storage (NAS) systems run in client-server mode. The server computer has a mass-storage hard disk drive and is capable of handling file-level operations, such as creating, modifying, and deleting files and directories. The client computer or network clients connect to the server and access files through the server. The server can either be directly connected to a network, or a local area network (LAN) cable can connect the server to the client computer or to a router.
A NAS server can provide file-level network-attached storage (NAS) solution and can serve as an addition to a file server or to a storage area network (SAN). A NAS server can also be used as a device for serving video and audio information. A network-attached storage server can provide various different types of data services. The data services provided by a NAS server may depend on the functions of the server and the features offered by the server. The most commonly offered data services include a file server, data replication, file backup, and other data-replication services.
There are two types of NAS on the market today – internal and external – both of which are connected to the network and offer access to data and files. But before you get too excited about NAS, it’s important to understand the two types and their applications. This will help you understand the options available.
Benefits of Network-Attached Storage
Network-attached storage devices come with a whole pack of advantages. They’re easy to install, relatively inexpensive, and give your network more speed and functionality. The most important feature of a NAS storage, however, is the fact that it makes it easier for you to have the same files available anywhere in the world.
With a network-attached hard drive, you’re instantly able to access all of your files, whether you’re at home, at work, or traveling. Here are some of the key benefits:
- Flexibility – Depending on the product, you can customize the software to offer a number of user-friendly benefits. Many NAS devices allow you to store media, automatically backup your computer, and create a backup schedule. Other products offer file sharing, software control, and remote access;
- Accessibility – Depending on the manufacturer, NAS devices offer portability and access from anywhere. You can add or remove drives to different locations easily. Many even offer multiple drives to work from, allowing you to install your NAS at a friend’s house, at work, or even at school and have all of your files available there;
- Affordability – The cost of most NAS devices is very competitive. Many cost under $500, making them affordable, high-capacity storage devices.
NAS devices are extremely scalable. Because of the wide variety of software options, you can configure a NAS device to offer almost any functionality you want. For example, you can set up a NAS device to be accessed from anywhere, automatically back up your files, work with multiple users, and much more. Many NAS devices also offer various networking features, such as remote access, website sharing, and portability. The fact that they are network devices makes them easy to install and use in a variety of situations. These are some of the things making users go for network-attached storage systems and solutions.