NAS, or Network-Attached Storage, is a type of computer file storage. It is connected to a network of computers that allow data access to a network of clients.
History of the NAS
In 1983, NAS was introduced as an early file-sharing system for a particular server operating system and an NCP protocol. The following year, Sun Microsystems, Inc. released the NFS, which allowed the sharing of storage space among clients within a network server.
Microsoft, together with 3Com, then developed the LAN Manager Protocol and software. More companies followed in creating file servers. By 2000, several start-ups emerged in an effort to offer alternatives for single files. This was when NAS was introduced.
What is a Network-Attached Storage?
A unit of NAS is basically a self-contained computer that is connected to a network. Its single purpose is to provide file-based data storage for other devices within a network. Within the NAS units are operating systems and other software that enable storage functionality. There are also management procedures for these functionalities.
NAS does not perform computing tasks, but users can run software in it. Also, a NAS lacks keyboard and display. It can only be configured and controlled through the network by connecting a browser to a network address.
If you do not have NAS in your network, you can use the computer as a file server. A file server works the same as a NAS unit. The difference is a file server has a keyboard, display, and an operating system. This makes it possible to store data and run other tasks as well. However, NAS is preferred for storage because file servers are also being developed for other functions, such as e-mail and database services, among others.
Pros and Cons
If you have a built-in RAD and clustering, then you can increase available data while using NAS. You can also increase the performance of a NAS when it is also used as a file server. There are also other factors to consider, such as the speed and amount of traffic within a network. Remember that NAS may have a server in it, with components similar to those of a PC.
NAS has quite a few limitations as compared to other storage systems like DAS/FC. These limitations are the result of a reduced operating system and CPU layer, too many users in the network, or extremely demanding processing power.
For more information on Network attached storage read: