Network Attached Storage abbreviated as NAS is file level computer data storage providing an access to the other devices attached on the computer network. The merit of NAS server is, it’s just like a hard disk storage which setup its own network address than being attached to network workstation users. Since NAS unit is a computer connected to network, it is also possible to run other software on the unit technically. A NAS unit runs by stripped down Operating system (OS) and doesn’t require a fully featured OS. NAS unit holds the responsibility of file serving and thus aids to remove it from the server on the network available. It contains more than one hard disk, seldom arranged logically and thus allowing redundant storage containers to come in action. Since NAS unit prevents it clients with a single protocol but different Operating systems have different protocol attached to them. The Microsoft Windows OS uses SMB (Server message block) or CIFS (Common Internet file system), whilst the NFS is popular on the UNIX OS and AFP is used by the Apple Macintosh.
NAS holds a dominance over DAS ( Direct Attached Storage) in terms NAS books it own position on the network as its own entity and file sharing on NAS becomes easier and simpler as compares to DAS. Since DAS is only a simple extension on the available network. Moreover data availability is increased potentially on the NAS unit due to its clustering and redundant arrays of independent or inexpensive disks (RAID) capabilities. NAS increases the performance because file serving is mainly done by it and not by the network server which has other responsibilities too.
NAS unit offers flexible network based data storage to home consumer due to which NAS unit devices have seen great fall in prices in recent years as it takes the computer clients to a place with huge amounts of data available for them to choose from. Due to which NAS is more useful than a general centralized storage entity. The NAS market witnesses consumers flocked up towards the multi media data centre mainly. For NAS user there are devices available with single and multiple drives thus allowing higher data protection with greater capacities.
Storage area network (SAN) is often contrasted with NAS. NAS actually emphasizes on a system and storage while the SAN is mainly concerned with block based storage leaving the file system. But , a combo of NAS-SAN is actually aids by providing protocols of block level by SAN and file level by NAS from the same working system.
NAS unit uses are immensely useful since it’s a centralized management it aids by maintaining a back up over the network and the same data stored on NAS can be accessed by a large no. of client’s servers. Above all, with disk space management it reduces the time of client server administration.
Thus, NAS besides providing an instant access to the PCs’ with the same shared files it also aids to store and share all of your data securely by creating a central place for it.