Network Attached Storage

Written by Stephanie Bilberry
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Increasingly, file storage is becoming a major headache for network administrators everywhere. In addition to being expensive and prone to failure, methods of storage can affect a network's other functions. Often, network servers are overwhelmed with the many tasks they must perform, and the memory-intensive task of filing and storing can bring a network to its knees.

Effective Storage Solutions

There are solutions. The solution that's right for your organization will depend on your needs and how files are required to be accessed. Network attached storage, or NAS, is a server that is dedicated to the function of storage. It is readily accessible from a network, and it will do nothing else: no email, no Internet and no processing apart from the file storage process. NAS is a highly cost-effective and convenient way of storing files for both the corporate and home computer user.

The alternative to NAS is directly-attached storage, or DAS. One of the major advantages of NAS systems is that they can be readily supplemented: extra units of storage can just be hot-swapped into the system when they are needed. A NAS system can be totally adaptable, dealing with a small amount of data or huge databases.

NAS often consists of multi-disk RAID systems. There will also need to be software for configuring and mapping the storage system. NAS software can be designed to handle several different protocols. Clients usually access the NAS device through an Ethernet connection. One of the major benefits of having a dedicated server to handle your file storage needs is security.

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