What is a NAS, and how does it work?

Network Attached Storage

NAS stands for network attached storage. It is a self-contained computer that connects to a home, or business network. Its a rapidly growing choice for data storage, providing data access to different users on a network. A NAS consists of hard disk storage that includes a multi disk raid system. NAS removes the responsibility of file saving from other servers on the same network. In 2005, NAS devices gained popularity as it is a convenient way of sharing files between multiple computers, the benefits of doing this is users get faster access to data, as well as easier administration and simple to configuration.

Although a NAS can run software, they are usually not designed to be a general server as well. Due to this, they aren’t configured with a keyboard, mouse or monitor, and are controlled over a remote login portal which is usually a browser.

A full featured operating system is not needed on a NAS, as the functions are not needed. You can get many stripped down versions, like FreeNAS or NAS4Freewhich are both open source NAS solutions designed for the hardware, FreeBSD being the OS.

Before NAS, files were stored on discrete file servers, which meant they had to be maintained and handled individually. They were also separately configured, and if more storage space was required they would have to replace the servers entirely. Now, with a NAS, if more storage capacity is needed, the appliances can be expanded by inserting more disks, or by clustering the appliances to provide higher scalability levels. NAS vendors sometimes partner with cloud service providers as it gives customers another backup solution for their files.

A NAS can be used in the home, or big enterprises. In the home, they’re often used for multimedia storage, (family photos + videos) or to provide a central storage for smart TV’s, CCTV files and other components throughout the home.

In an enterprise, a NAS array is used as a backup and archiving appliance, as well as disaster recovery. For smaller businesses, it can be functioned as an email, multimedia or database server. Most NAS appliances can hold enough disks to support a RAID, for better backup and disaster recovery. RAID is where multiple hard disks are turned into one logical unit so it can provide better performance, higher availability and redundancy.

To summarize, if you would like all the users in your business, or people at home to have access and share files over the network, then do consider implementing a NAS to your network.

If you would like to know more about our NAS solutions that we provide please call us on 01256 782030 or email sales@fortunadata.com

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