What is a Network Attached Storage (NAS)
What is a NAS
A Network Attached Storage (NAS) is a centralized storage in which you can store all your data and access if from anywhere.
Imagine having a single 32 Terabyte Device Expandable to 64TB, that sits next to your TV, can take 2 hard drive failure without losing your data, downloads all your stuff and streams it to TV, backups your photos from mobile phones and lets you share these with family and friends effortlessly, lets you save files to and from on the go . That's a typical Entry level NAS. It does a lot more but you get the idea.
Lets take major points of a NAS one by one for a better understanding
A NAS is Network Connected
A NAS is Connected to Network. Which means its not tied to a single system, but is accessible to all the devices ( laptops, desktops, mobile phones , TVs, Network Cameras...) on the network. It can be backing up from one phone, streaming to your TV, downloading stuff from the internet, serving a work file to your desktop , and trans-coding a movie all at the same time. Its a Centralized storage + processing unit.
A NAS is Secured with Credentials.
Since your NAS is exposed to anyone who is on your network ( even to public if you enable cloud access) , NAS is always protected with usernames and passwords. You can have different usernames and passwords for different folders - Familygroup can read/write to family folder, read only from Movies folder and denied access to work folder for example. You are security logs on who accessed what and when, firewalling and many other security options depending on the OS that your NAS vendor offers.
A NAS is Almost Fail-proof and has Huge capacities.
A NAS combines multiple hard drives to make them look like a single large drive. That's why its common to see NAS of size 4 or 8 time bigger than the highest hard drive capacity available. Further these hard drives can be combined in a way that you can have 1, 2 or more hard drive failure protection ( its called a RAID). Say in a 4 bay machine you can have a RAID 6 setting so even if 2 hard drives fail, your data is still secure.
A NAS is always On. Always working.
A NAS is not only storage, its a mini Server with computing built in. Its always on and that's why it makes a great power efficient server. Many features like saving your ip camera footage, SQL server, websever etc are standard and easy to do from front end, you can actually do anything else you do with a server if you are tech savy. IOT applications are also very popular on NAS.
Your Own Cloud
Since a NAS is connected to network, as an IP address and is always on, it is your own cloud like dropbox. With little configuration you can have your cloud accessible anywhere in the world where you have the internet. access your files on your phone on the road, access them in the office , or in your hotel room when you are vacationing. All this is possible.
Hopefully you would have some understanding of what a NAS is and why its gained such a popularity as a product category for backup. End user, small businesses and Large enterprise, all of them use NAS to backup and protect their data. We sell the 2 most popular brands of NAS - QNAP and Synology and both offer great options with basic to advanced models for home users to Enterprise users.