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NAS Getting Started Guide (I): What is NAS?

In our daily life and work, we have a lot of photos, videos, documents, and other data to store, especially with the development of technology, these data become more and more abundant and large, which also leads to the inherent storage space of some computing devices (such as smartphones, computers) can no longer meet our needs.

As a result, various data storage solutions have emerged. Among them, online cloud drives were popular for a while, sprouting up like a mushroom, and then fell into a fierce melee due to too many brands.

Although the cloud can be used to a certain extent to get rid of the limitations of physical storage space, if you want to enjoy greater capacity and upload and download speed must spend money every year to open a membership, in addition, all personal data will be saved to the cloud may also lead to privacy leaks and other issues.

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In this case, a storage solution that existed long before cloud drives are gaining more and more attention, and it is NAS.


The concept of the NAS

NAS (Network Attached Storage), literally, is a device that connects to a network and has data storage capabilities. In a broad sense, it can be called NAS from a large enterprise professional storage server to a small computer with a shared folder or even a USB drive plugged into a router.

But for the average consumer, a home-grade NAS is generally an all-in-one device with network storage capabilities. Simply put, a NAS can be connected to your home or office network to create a secure and easy-to-manage shared space to centrally manage, share and synchronize data across multiple devices.

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In layman’s terms, NAS is a tiny desktop host with a lot of disks in it, this host is very power efficient and does not heat up, as long as there is a network, you can connect to this host inside. Store your data in, take out the data you need and use it, and how much capacity you need as long as you buy the hard disk plus it.


The principle of the NAS

The pre-configured storage software will be installed on dedicated hardware. This hardware is called a NAS chassis, NAS appliance, and NAS server, and is essentially just a server containing storage disks or drives, a processor, and random access memory (RAM).

The main difference between NAS and general-purpose server storage is the software. NAS software is deployed on a lightweight operating system (OS), while the latter is usually embedded in hardware. While general-purpose servers have full operating systems that send and receive thousands of requests per second, NAS enclosures send and receive only two types of requests: data storage and file sharing.

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The NAS will format the data according to the data transfer protocols in order to send data between devices in the appropriate standard way. Clients can access these protocols through the switch. The switch then acts as a central server that can be used to connect all devices and route requests.

The NAS itself is capable of supporting multiple protocols (e.g. NFS, CIFS, FTP, HTTP, etc.) and can support a variety of operating systems. NAS can be managed intuitively and easily from any workstation using a device such as a browser or a smartphone.


The advantages of the NAS

NAS storage positioning determines that NAS configuration on the server side will be greatly simplified. NAS does not require a complex operating system for traditional service systems but uses a simple operating system designed for individual users and dedicated to data storage, with a built-in network connection protocol for simpler system management and setup.

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Thus, NAS has the following advantages:

  • NAS is a device directly connected to the network media to achieve data storage, its operation, and maintenance costs are much lower than traditional storage servers, and NAS private cloud storage is for personal and home users, user needs and use scenarios are more uniform, the corresponding NAS data management functions are more targeted and data application efficiency is high.
  • NAS storage solutions can be built with just one set of storage hardware and a simple operating system, making personal and home NAS very easy to deploy.
  • Data sharing is more convenient. Since NAS devices come with an exclusive IP address, users can access the IP address to achieve file management, so NAS can achieve data sharing anywhere, anytime. As long as there is a network, data access can be done without the restrictions of long-distance and LAN mode, and mobile storage and off-site storage can be done easily.
  • NAS storage, as a form of private cloud storage application, is also more secure than the public cloud, as NAS is generally deployed behind a firewall and the access portal is private, so it is not vulnerable to attack.

The purpose of the NAS

Based on the features and benefits of NAS, there are many things we can do with it.

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First, many people form a NAS to create a home data and AV center. For example, those who have a high demand for movie watching, usually download movie resources from Blu-ray or original discs online to their hard drives for viewing. These resources can easily be tens of gigabytes, and over time, these movies can take up a lot of hard drive space, and a NAS that can be expanded horizontally is a good way to meet this demand. With internet access, these movies can be viewed on TV, computer, cell phone, tablet, and other large and small screens.

Secondly, NAS also allows for file backup and synchronization sharing. Smartphones have become an important tool for everyone to carry around, but with the increase in usage time, the space is getting smaller and smaller, and it is filled with a lot of pictures, documents, and other information. With NAS, we can set up synchronized folders on the phone and computer, and put pictures and documents into NAS while the computer side can download and organize them as well as edit them.

Finally, NAS has some advanced ways to play, such as a built-in database, Web services, building a personal web server, code repository management, etc.


Thanks for your reading, and please leave your comments if any queries,

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