postheadericon Network Attached Storage Overview

Network storage was developed to address the challenges inherent in a server based infrastructure such as direct attached storage. Network attached storage, or NAS, is a special purpose device, comprised of both hard disks and management software, which is 100% dedicated to serving files over a network. Network attached storage relieves the server of storage and file serving responsibilities, and provides a lot more flexibility in data access by virtue of being independent.

NAS is an ideal choice for organizations looking for a simple and cost effective way to achieve fast data access for multiple clients at the file level. Implementers of network attached storage benefit from performance and productivity gains. First popularized as an entry-level or midrange solution, network attached storage still has its largest install base in the small to medium sized business sector. Yet the hallmarks of network attached storage which are simplicity and value are equally applicable for the enterprise market. Smaller companies find network attached storage to be a plug and play solution that is easy to install, deploy and manage, with or without IT staff at hand. Thanks to advances in disk drive technology, they also benefit from a lower cost of entry.

In recent years, network attached storage has developed more sophisticated functionality, leading to its growing adoption in enterprise departments and workgroups. It is not uncommon for network attached storage to go head to head with storage area networks in the buying decision, or become part of a NAS/SAN convergence scheme. High reliability features such as RAID and hot swappable drives and components are standard even in lower end network attached storage systems, while midrange offerings provide enterprise data protection features such as replication and mirroring for business continuance. Network attached storage also makes sense for enterprises looking to consolidate their direct attached storage resources for better utilization.

Since resources cannot be shared beyond a single server in DAS, systems may be using as little as half of their full capacity. With network attached storage, the utilization rate is high since storage is shared across multiple servers.

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