Introduction to NAS – Network Attached Storage.
NAS challenges the traditional file server approach by creating systems designed specifically for data storage. Instead of starting with a general-purpose computer and configuring or removing features from that base, NAS designs begin with the bare-bones components necessary to support file transfers and add features “from the bottom up.”
Like traditional file servers, NAS follows a client/server design. A single hardware device, often called the NAS box or NAS head, acts as the interface between the NAS and network clients. These NAS devices require no monitor, keyboard or mouse. They generally run an embedded operating system rather than a full-featured NOS. One or more disk (and possibly tape) drives can be attached to many NAS systems to increase total capacity. Clients always connect to the NAS head, however, rather than to the individual storage devices.
Clients generally access a NAS over an Ethernet connection. The NAS appears on the network as a single “node” that is the IP address of the head device.
A NAS can store any data that appears in the form of files, such as email boxes, Web content, remote system backups, and so on. Overall, the uses of a NAS parallel those of traditional file servers.
NAS systems strive for reliable operation and easy administration. They often include built-in features such as disk space quotas, secure authentication, or the automatic sending of email alerts should an error be detected.
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