Storage SolutionsNetwork Attached Storage
What is a NAS?
So what exactly is a NAS? NAS stands for Network Attached Storage and began as simply that, a storage volume that was accessible over a network. Over the years, NAS has evolved into having all of the features of a common PC-based server. In fact, just one NAS box in your business can play the role of what used to require several pieces of hardware, saving both time and money. Here is a short list of the features a NAS can provide:
Additional features you’ll find with Network Attached Storage:
Photo and Video Sharing with UPnP and DLNA Compliance
iTunes server, iPhone Apps, and Time Machine Support
A NAS device wears many hats; providing a centralized file and print server, backup for Mac/PC/Linux, remote access, and website hosting.
Advantages of Using a NAS
Adding Storage Space
One of the primary reasons people choose to add a Network Attached Server to their home or office is to simply add more storage to their computer’s capacity. NAS servers can range in storage capacity from 100-250 gigabytes (GB), all the way up to 8 or more terabytes (TB). With this wide range of storage options, nearly any need can be met, from storage of huge program or video files for groups of people, or just creating a central server, giving multiple users a little extra hard drive space.
Storage space is important, especially for those thinking about their future needs, and a NAS server addresses that need for a group of users working in a small office. This is a much more efficient way to provide storage for people, and resists the need to purchase extra individual hard drives for each computer on the network.
Efficient Data Transfer and Reliable Network Access
A Network Attached Server provides the area or group of computers attached to it with a method for efficient data transfer, and also ensures reliable network access. If one computer dies, or has an unexpected outage, a NAS will continue running and still allow the other computers on the network to access shared data. Also, NAS servers create a central hub for a group of computers that allow people to share folders and large files with little to no effort. Simply dragging and dropping a sizable file into the shared network folder will allow any other computer connected to the network server access to that data. Computers in one shared network can connect to the main NAS server either wirelessly or through an ethernet cable. This can change the speed with which data is transferred. Also, the added storage space and compartmentalizing of data can add overall speed to the network of computers, which is another great benefit.
Ease of Accessibility from Multiple Locations
Along the same lines of transferring data, Network Attached Servers make information and files accessible from multiple different locations. This can be extremely efficient and helpful in a small office setting, when multiple people need to consult a single document, or even edit it as a team. Many programs have a feature that allow multiple users accessing data from different channels to edit a document together at the same time, but this can only be done through a NAS server. This can also be helpful for accessing a printer. Many offices or homes only have one printer attached to one computer that can print. Implementing a Network Attached Server allows users to have a file on their base computer, that they can also access from the printing computer. There are many more situations in which this same type of accessibility is made fast and easy with a NAS server.
One of the reasons many homeowners consider implementing a Network Attached Server in their house, is to share entertainment capabilities from room to room. If one person in a home has a CD on their computer, but they want to listen to it on the family computer in the living room, a NAS server allows for this functionality. This same capability applies to sharing videos with each other, or viewing a movie in one room that is originating in a file on a computer in another room. Creating a hub where multiple people can access and share media files like music, movies, images, and more, is an efficient addition to the entertainment setup in any home. NAS servers also allow a group of people in one home to access one game, so for those who want to participate in online gaming with a group of visiting friends, a NAS server would allow them to share their gaming experience, as well.
Protecting Small Networks of Data
A NAS server often features encryption software, and is a good way to protect smaller networks of data, as they are more difficult to breach than the average computer. Also, anything stored on the Network Attached Server is kept safe from not only outside attacks, but also from corruption of files in a computer or hardware malfunctions. On the off chance that a computer gets dropped or has water spilled on it, the data on the computer will not be lost as it has been safely stored on the NAS. While an external computer can manipulate a file, the file itself is stored on the NAS, not on the external computer.
Automatic Backing Up of Files
Many NAS servers come with configurations that allow for the automatic backing up of files. A copied folder can exist both on an individual computer, and on the server hard drive, and when an individual file within the folder is changed on the computer, the copy too can be changed on the server hard drive. This can be done either through a connective ethernet cable, or in some cases wirelessly as well. The automatic backing up of files is a huge benefit of owning a NAS server, and adds a great deal of functionality, security, and peace of mind. This idea goes along with the previous step, but is an important distinction, because there are few external memory options that provide automatic back-up capabilities, and none accomplish backing up of files automatically throughout a network of many different computers in one location.
Separate Storage From Your Server
By moving the data storage from a physical server to a NAS, you can manage the data separately and more efficiently. Instead of having several servers with their own RAID system, you can now manage the data as one large storage pool. Making upgrades quicker and easier. When combined with virtualization, server resources can be moved from one server to another in a matter of seconds – something unheard of when utilizing stand alone physical servers.
Also, separating storage from the server frees up the computing resources on the servers for other tasks not related to storage.
Fast Configuration with Little Complications
One of the major benefits that many consumers enjoy about a Network Attached Server, is that they take very little technological knowledge to set up and use. Even though they may seem to be complicated and different than anything the average computer user has been involved with in the past, they are fairly simple to configure and use. Most NAS servers do not have their own screen or keyboard, and most are set up and managed through an online, web browser-based software application. This allows the users of the server to configure things like running time, power usage, bandwidth usage, password protection, encryption, allowed users, and more.
Give us a call to see how your business could benefit from a Network Attached Storage solution.
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