Ultimate Guide to Network Attached Storage (NAS)

A network attached storage device is a great way to store data on your your desktop or laptop and retrieve it using any device within that network. The increasing sales of NAS drives speak volumes of the popularity of this innovative technology. If you are using a single disk external hard-drive for storing all your critical business data, the HDD will fail one day causing data loss. Every business needs to be adept to technological changes and upgrading your storage units with NAS technology is essential for businesses to stay ahead of competition.

NAS technology takes the traditional file server approach to a whole new super advanced level by creating systems designed specifically for data storage. Instead of relying on a general-purpose computer and configuring or removing features from that base, NAS designs start with the bare-bones components necessary to support file transfers and add features “from the bottom up.” In essence, NAS systems aim for reliable operation and easy administration of your storage data. They often include built-in features such as disk space quotas, secure authentication, or the automatic sending of email alerts should an error be detected.

What is NAS technology?

For the uninitiated, NAS provides a central hard drive on which you can store, share and back up all files from multiple computers in the household. The NAS drive connects via an Ethernet cable to a wireless home-network router, which enables laptops and other devices equipped with Wi-Fi networking to use the drive wirelessly. Thus Network attached storage is an innovative concept of file level data storage technique with its own network address, enabling heterogeneous group of clients to access the data in an efficient and quick manner.

The dedicated NAS drive contains one of more hard drives and provides file based data services. Though it works as a file server, it does not have a keyword, mouse or a display and works similar to a network device. In addition, full featured OS is not required on this server. NAS drives comprise of multiple hard drives arranged using RAID configuration for data security and faster access.

Types of NAS devices

The increasing popularity of network attached storage technology has given rise to several types of NAS drives with innovative features. However, they can be classified into three major categories. A dedicated computer based file server is the most powerful NAS device and is used for business networks as well as home networks. The maximum data transfer capacity is determined by the speed of the CPU and RAM. The second type of NAS devices use the embedded technology.

These devices use ARM or MIPS protocols and the power consumption is fair. The data transfer speed ranges from 20 MB/s to 120MB/s. The third type of NAS devices uses a single ASIC chip and work on the TCP/IP protocol. The maximum data transfer speed is 40 MB per sec. The power consumption is very low and this device supports limited functions.

Benefits of NAS technology

The network attached storage technology allows you to connect a network hard drive for all computers within that network and access the data from anywhere within that entity. Some of the drives can be accessed through the Internet. The centralized data storage optimizes your work space and increases the efficiency of your business procedures.

In addition, multiple hard drives are arranged using RAID configuration, securing your data and allowing a faster access to it. This file server can act as a media server to transfer streaming audio and video. As there are several NAS devices available in the market, it is important to identify your storage requirements and choose the best one for your network.

Computer manufacturer and retailer Dell provide a range of computing solutions, from laptops, desktops and tablets, to data storage solutions with a wide range of network attached storage products. Visit www.dell.com for more details.

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