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What Is Network Attached Storage?

QNAP NAS Recovery

What is Network Attached Storage and who needs it? NAS (network-attached-storage) devices are one of the best ways for individuals and businesses both large and small to store critical and important data. Like any other type of server, they can either be purchased pre-built or built on your own. They can also be customized based on an individual or company’s needs. If you have a lot of data that you need to protect, a NAS array may be the right solution for you.

What is a Network Attached Storage Device?

A NAS device is traditionally a server that contains a redundant array of hard drives. These hard drives store data which is accessed through a local-area network, often through a standard Ethernet connection. The NAS device uses a file-based storage system , which can be easily interfaced with. Because most NAS servers are connected to through a local-area network, they usually do not have any input or output devices (such as keyboards or monitors) attached. Instead, they are configured through a separate utility program. NAS devices are frequently used as backup solutions, which can protect from a loss of data or threats such as ransomware.

What Are the Advantages of NAS Data Storage?

  • NAS devices store redundant copies of data. When storing data NAS servers will write information to multiple hard drives, ensuring that even if one component fails the data is still available. Multiple redundancies can be configured depending on individual needs, to better improve stability.
  • NAS devices can be connected to by multiple clients. As long as clients are on the same network as the NAS device, they can access the NAS device’s data. Thus, the local area network can consolidate its data directly on the NAS server, rather than having to maintain data on multiple pieces of technology.
  • NAS devices are easy to manage. A NAS device operates very similarly to any other type of storage device or server. Even those who are not technologically inclined can usually setup and use a NAS server, making it accessible for those who are not within the tech sector.

Who Needs a NAS Data Storage Device?

  • Homeowners creating a centralized entertainment solution. NAS servers can be configured to store and serve multimedia files, such as movies, music, games, and more. In a private home, NAS devices are often used as a way of consolidating these multimedia files or for backing up important family information. NAS servers can also be used to consolidate Internet of Things components or smart home data.
  • Business owners backing up critical data. NAS arrays are ideal backup targets for important business information. With a NAS array, companies can rest assured that their backups are also backed up, and that no data is going to become corrupted or lost.
  • Companies looking to consolidate their information. As with homeowners, companies are also able to consolidate their documents and multimedia files through a single NAS server. A NAS device can be used to consolidate databases, documents, and other business files, in a way that all employees can access them.

How Can You Choose a NAS Device?

Iomega StorCenter IX4 NAS device data recoveryNAS devices are built to a wide variety of specifications. Enterprise-grade NAS servers will be far both far more expensive and far more capable than NAS servers developed for home use. When choosing a NAS device, both the machine’s performance and its capacity are important. Performance components (such as the CPU and memory) will impact how quickly data can be accessed, while its capacity (its hard drive array) will impact how much data can be stored. Levels of redundancy must also be chosen; a homeowner may only need one redundant copy of their data, but a business may want more resilient storage.

What Are Some Alternatives to a NAS?

  • SAN: A storage-area network (SAN) is a high-performance network containing multiple storage resources. Unlike a NAS, a SAN includes multiple devices rather than a single device, and connects to data blocks rather than individual files. SANs are often used for enterprise-level applications and resource-intensive platforms.
  • DAS: A direct-attached storage (DAS) is a storage device that is connected to another device, such as a dedicated server. DAS devices are less accessible, because they cannot be directly accessed through the network. However, they often provide better performance because they are directly attached. A DAS system is often used for small businesses and homeowners.

NAS data storage is the easiest and most direct storage for individuals, small businesses, and mid-sized businesses. Though it can have some limitations with high-grade, enterprise-level applications, it’s a straightforward method of consolidating and protecting critical data. For more information about NAS data storage and NAS recovery, contact the data recovery experts at Gillware Data Recovery.

Will Ascenzo
Will Ascenzo
Will is the lead blogger, copywriter, and copy editor for Gillware Data Recovery and Digital Forensics, and a staunch advocate against the abuse of innocent semicolons.