This article will explore the basics of network-attached storage (NAS) and what it means for your home or small business. You might be wondering why you should even care about NAS—after all, isn't that just for big companies? Let's start with understanding what NAS is and how it differs from DAS and SAN (also types of storage). Then we can talk about how easy it is to set up a cheap DIY NAS server using an old laptop or tablet as the host computer. Finally, we dig deeping into this topic with our Everything you Should Know About NAS blog.
NAS or Network Area Storage connects to a network, so you'll need a LAN or router.
While the NAS is a central storage device, it connects to a network. This means that you'll need a LAN or router. If your home network has only one computer and one hard drive, this isn't an issue because the PC can be connected directly to the NAS via an Ethernet cable. However, suppose you have multiple computers on your home network (such as two desktops and two laptops). In that case, they will need their dedicated Ethernet connection to communicate with each other and access files stored on the NAS.
Another thing worth mentioning here is that while some NAS units connect directly to wireless routers like Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station ($199), most devices will connect via ethernet, Thunderbolt, or USB.
Another option is buying a managed switch (such as TP-Link TL-SG1008D 8 Port Gigabit Desktop Switch). Managed switches offer auto-detection features that automatically detect whether connected devices are working correctly; this way, if something goes wrong within a few minutes, the installation process is completed successfully without any problems noticed during the installation process itself.
NAS is handy if you have lots of files you want to share.
If you're working on a project with many people, or if your family shares photos and videos via email, NAS can be an excellent way to ensure those files are backed up and easily accessible.
Consider NAS if you work in an environment where many people need access to the same large file (such as a group of photographers who don't live together). A computer with high-speed Internet access might be unable to handle the traffic created by multiple users accessing one large file simultaneously. In such cases, using your own NAS will allow everyone involved in the project access without making lag time or interruptions due to connection issues.
NAS can help keep track of your files—you'll know exactly where everything is stored—but it's also possible that using network storage could make things more complicated than they need to be! Consider how much effort it will take over time as new technology becomes available: Will upgrading your current system require buying expensive equipment that won't last long enough for its investment cost?
A NAS device can be the foundation of your backup plans.
You may think that you're safe with cloud storage, but if you want to be sure that all of your files are protected, nothing beats having a copy on physical media.
If you want to back up your data using other computers in the home, consider using a NAS as an intermediary between their hard drives and cloud services. Then, when one computer is backed up over the network, all of them will be updated at once—a time-saving feature if any family members use multiple devices.
A good RAID setup on a NAS can protect you from disk failure.
RAID is a way to combine multiple disks into a single volume, improving reliability and performance. RAID levels are 1-6, with six being the most secure. For example, in RAID level 5, one of your disks will be used as a parity disk while the others serve as data disks. If any disks fail or become corrupted, you can use that parity disk to recover your data!
If you're looking for good NAS options that provide RAID protection, here are some models we recommend:
DAS and SAN will offer better performance but are more complicated. DAS is a direct-attached storage system, meaning the data is stored directly on the computer's hard drive. So you can think of it as a large hard drive with lots of space. This is fine if you have one or two computers, but if you're working in an office with many employees who need to share your files, you'll have to buy multiple hard drives for each user.
SAN stands for storage area network, which means it's more like a server than an external hard drive: there are many different servers (each serving up data) connected by cables to many clients (each consuming data). SANs use fiber optic cables or copper wires instead of USB ports or other low-speed connections, offering much faster speeds when accessing information from afar. However, setting one up can be complicated because it involves networking hardware like switches and routers that aren't familiar territory for most users who don't work in IT departments at major corporations or universities.
NAS is easy to use and surprisingly powerful as long as you do minimal high-end video editing.
One of the best reasons to use NAS is that it's easy to set up and use. Once you've got your head around the difference between RAID and JBOD, it's simply a matter of picking out your device, installing it, and getting started.
This ease of use is why NAS has gained popularity over more traditional solutions like SAN or DAS (Direct-Attached Storage) in recent years. However, with these other solutions, there are often many more steps involved in setting them up—and they can also be expensive.
NAS devices have another advantage: they're inexpensive compared to other options like SANs or DASs while offering much power for applications such as video editing or music production.
We hope this article has helped you understand how NAS works and compares with DAS and SAN. We also hope we've inspired you to try out one for yourself! There's no doubt that NAS devices are making their way into the mainstream, largely thanks to their ease of use and surprisingly powerful performance. If you'd like to experiment with one, please ensure it's compatible with your operating system before buying anything.