Data storage through centralized systems have many advantages over decentralized ones. For companies, centralized databases allow employees to collaborate on single versions of files. It also helps in making more efficient backups to keep data safe. Network Attached Storage (NAS) systems are among those centralized systems allowing many features.
Companies of all sizes need to store files, which are stored on file servers, SAN (Storage Area Network) or on a NAS (Network Attached Storage). NAS storage systems are now becoming more used due to a number of features they offer. Unlike file servers and SANs, NAS systems are totally flexible that they can be used at homes beside enterprises.
A Network Attached Storage device is just a normal computer used for storage. It has a CPU and RAM working on a motherboard. It supports interface like LAN, USB and WLAN and it may have hard drives or solid state drives for storage. To control the storage devices, a RAID controller exists to make them a signed virtual one.
Network Attached Storage devices are sold as standalone devices ready for immediate use. A large number of manufacturers offer these devices with software that facilitate their control and setting.
Network Attached Storage also allows separate data of multiple users to be stored separately while still being on the same storage drive. This has many benefits including allowing coworkers to work in groups and not separately.
The devices also have lower cost compared to alternative systems, while their features extend to being highly secure, more energy efficient and less complicated.
NAS systems are easier to operate than their alternatives including file servers. Setting up and using a Network Attached Storage system needs less knowledge in IT compared to other systems while the settings can be edited through a web browser and with a graphical interface.
The systems are also widely compatible with PCs whether desktops or laptops. While software is available to facilitate using them, no programs are needed to get them working, just like hard drives and solid state drives.
Other devices like smartphones and smart TVs can also access the photos and videos stored on a Network Attached Storage through software, making the system a centralized media storage hub for the home to access media anywhere.
One of the reasons NAS systems are considered is because they offer great reliability considering the number of storage devices they can support. While many people consider a drive or two for their home office system, business oriented solutions support up to twelve storage devices slots making the system big enough for huge data amounts.
These systems with multiple drives can still operate efficiently and with the needed reliability. The RAID controllers ensure that systems are working and available even if one of the drives stops.
There are many manufacturers of Network Attached Storage systems and there are many choices in the market. The prices of the systems start at as low as 100 dollars which in many cases becomes a great investment that pays for itself. When buying a system, you don't need to start big as you can add more storage devices later in the free slots.
Also, one of the greatest features of these systems is their lower power consumption compared to traditional servers. That is especially with the modern Network Attached Storage systems available now. A choice of switching the network to a standby mode allows reducing energy consumption even more while keeping the system idle. The system can be even started again through the network with the Wake-on-Lan function.
Network Attached Storage systems are scalable, so starting with one hard drive or solid state drive and buying more with time as you need is always a great choice. And beside being scalable, some devices also allow additional features like using the device as a print server and remote access. Remote access feature means the device can be used as a web server, FTP server or e-mail server.
Backing up data is sometimes essential, especially for businesses. With Network Attached Storage systems it is possible to back data up from a device to another through a VPN internet connection. This ensures that if a device that keeps valuable data is damaged for some reason, the data will be already available on the other device as it can be periodically backed up.
There is an alternative to using multiple Network Attached Storage devices to keep data backed up, which is cloud backup. Network Attached Storage devices allow you to periodically back up data to cloud services such as Amazon S3. The cloud service providers offer reliable enough solutions to keep your data safe and with this choice there is no hassle with a VPN configuration.
Security is one of the biggest concerns when it comes to data storage, and Network Attached Storage systems live up to the highest security standards. So if you are storing confidential data on them, consider using SSL for protection. Other protocols like SSH would be an excellent addition as well.
Many NAS devices now support remote access, which means that you can access your securely stored data from anywhere in the world with leaving your PC running at home or office. This feature also works without any complicated software or hard setup as it just takes a few minutes to get it working with your login username and password.
The speed with this feature isn't going to be very high but it will be enough to get your work done. If you want to buy a device supporting this feature, you need to consider it and remember it as not all devices have it.
Most of us now rely on cloud services like Google Drive or Dropbox for storing important files, but Network Attached Storage systems can do the same job, and without a monthly subscription fee. Also with your own device, you own all your data and you consume nothing of your internet bandwidth with data transfer.