What is a NAS and how does it work?

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What is a nas and how does it work

What is a NAS and how does it work?

What is a NAS and how does it work? In this article, we will review NAS devices, NAS Software and a quick comparison of NAS vs SAN. A NAS, or Network Attached Storage is a hardware device that contains one or more hard drives with a hardware board that controls its storage configuration for redundancy.

Network-attached storage abbreviated as NAS is dedicated file storage that enables multiple users and network devices to retrieve data from centralized disk storage. Users on a local area network (LAN) access the shared storage via a standard Ethernet connection. Most smartphones can now access network attached devices very similarly how accessing cloud storage folders.

Complete guide of questions about What is a NAS and how does it work?

What is a NAS and how does it work best?

Network-attached storage (NAS) is a file-level computer data storage server connected to a computer network providing data access to a client devices authorized on the network. NAS is specialized equipment made specifically for serving files. The components are optimized using either its hardware, software, or configuration.

How much does a NAS cost?

A NAS that deals with a lot of multimedia files will cost you at least $500, and that does not include the size of the hard drives, which can cost anywhere from $50-$200. We highly recommend reviewing the NAS device below by clicking on the Amazon link. Get detailed specifications, customer reviews and order one to have it shipped right to your door.

Do I need a NAS?

The majority of consumers probably do not realize the convenience of a network attached storage device. If you have any number of computers around, it is generally easier to use store all your files on a NAS for backups and then using the network sharing features in the NAS rather than using USB sticks to copy files around.

What is the difference between a NAS and a server?

Servers are more capable and offer more advanced controls over your network services and applications, but also require more management. The NAS offers less advanced functionality, but requires little to no maintenance or configuration.

What is a home NAS server?

Network Attached Storage (NAS) is a server that makes storage available on a network. Such a system will have one or more hard drives, an Ethernet adapter, and an operating system. When you access the data in any NAS device the connection can be done over a WiFi or a LAN cable. Either way it will use a Router which nowadays most internet modems have built in anyway. If you need to limit access to the NAS storage you might need to consider adding an additional router to segment the network.

Is a NAS drive worth it?

Network attached storage (NAS) drives are definitely worth a place in your home or office. NAS drives are hard drives that connect all devices to the data stored on them, as well, some offer connectivity over the web. They can now be treated like a personal cloud storage and can even serve applications or websites if configured correctly.

Highly Recommended NAS Devices

Check out more details, full specs and other customer reviews on the Amazon by clicking on the link below. You will find more in depth information, more images of the hard drive and many different customer opinions. We highly recommend heading over to Amazon if you and placing an order today.. Enjoy fast free shipping directly from Amazon with your Prime membership. What could be better than free delivery?

Common questions people ask about NAS Software

What is used as NAS Software for the operating system?

Very much like any other operating system, usually Linux based, it is the platform the device will boot up to. The platform, often customised by manufacturer is normally accessibly via a web browser through a secure login page. Very similar to an internet modem or router, the platform allows the administrator access to setup all features such as shared folders, user accounts, folder permissions and other features such as port forwarding for external access. Every manufacturer develops different features, some even have the ability to connect to a remote cloud storage provider to backup the NAS itself.

How do I turn my PC into a NAS?

Using an old desktop PC by installing FreeNAS. FreeNAS can simulate the software platform accessed through a browser to configure similar features such as shared folders, user accounts and folder permissions. FreeNAS is a free, open-source operating system that will convert old PCs into network-attached storage devices. Use your NAS as a central file storage or backup location for every PC on your network.

Can I make my own NAS?

Network Attached Storage (NAS) is simply a storage device that is attached to your home or office network, either through cables or wireless. It allows for all connected devices with correct permissions set to access files on internal drives. It’s possible to purchase a prebuilt NAS, but the prices can get out of hand, depending on requirements and features. Using FreeNAS and an old computer can usually achieve the same objective on a budget.

Considerations when building your own NAS device:

  • Benefit for a lower cost
  • Flexibility to upgrade
  • Simplify Maintenance
  • Works with any CPU and RAM

Components to take into consideration when building your own NAS device:

External Case

With building your own NAS system, it isn’t necessary to get a fancy case, especially for a home or small business use. Using a standard case will provide ample room to throw in several storage drives and capable components. Compared to a Thermaltake Core V21 SPCC Micro ATX Cube Computer Chassis CA-1D5-00S1WN-00,Black case which aim to keep the footprint small which is excellent for this. Sporting the option to fit up to three drives. There’s also the bonus addition of a side panel window to show off the insides. With this case, you’ll not only be able to build a compact system but also show it off with LED lighting and other case mods.


Intel has a wide range of processors that will do the job, depending on what tasks you want the NAS to perform. An Atom or Pentium processor will be more than enough for file and media storage, while a Core i3 chip will be better for streaming, Plex use, and multi-user optimization.

Power Supply

You won’t require anything more than 500W, so the EVGA 100- BR-0450-K1 450 BR, 80+ BRONZE 450W, 3 Year Warranty, Power SupplyWhat is a NAS and how does it work should be good for future upgrades and builds with a dedicated GPU.


Combined with our AMD Ryzen 5 3400G processor, the ASUS ROG Strix B450-IWhat is a NAS and how does it workis perfect for a NAS setup. This is an excellent Mini-ITX board with ample room for expansion, thanks to the PCI-Express slot, four SATA ports, a single M.2 port, gigabit LAN, and built-in wireless. Not only can we use an M.2 drive to install our OS and save space within the case for additional drives, but also take advantage of wireless connectivity if you’re unable to hook up the unit to a LAN using cables.


When it comes to RAM in a NAS, you only really need to pay attention to speed and capacity. We selected an Crucial 8GB Kit (4GBx2) DDR3/DDR3L 1600 MT/S (PC3-12800) Unbuffered SODIMM 204-Pin Memory – CT2KIT51264BF160B that should be more than enough for most NAS-related tasks, including some streaming. Just make sure you’re using RAM supported by the motherboard, and you’re good to go. Our motherboard in this collection has two slots, allowing us to upgrade the capacity to 16GB any time.


Storage options depend on how much space you wish to use. We’d recommend starting with 1TB or 2TB mechanical drives, with a 250GB M.2 SSD if your budget can stretch for a more efficient system drive. Brands like Western Digital and Seagate offer dedicated NAS solutions.For our reasonably-priced build, we selected Seagate BarraCuda 2TB Internal Hard Drive HDD – 3.5 Inch SATA 6Gb/s 7200 RPM 256MB Cache 3.5-Inch – Frustration Free Packaging (ST2000DM008). It’s always recommended to pair up hard drives in a RAID configuration, just in case something goes wrong, causing your drive to fail — you don’t want to lose everything stored on the NAS. Factoring this into account, two 2TB drives in a RAID configuration would offer 2TB of capacity.

What is the best NAS drive for home use?

The Best NAS for Most Home Users

We highly recommend the Synology DiskStation DS218+

Runner-up. QNAP TS-251B. Also a very good NAS for most home users. Upgrade pick. Synology DS418play. For extra data protection and storage.

Can I use a NAS drive in my PC?

NAS drives, as mentioned, are rated for 24×7 use, and also designed to push bigger workloads year round. For example, a standard Seagate BarraCuda drive is rated to handle 55TB of data a year, whereas a standard Seagate IronWolf (NAS) drive is rated to handle 180TB a year, bump up to the IronWolf Pro, and that is rated for 300TB per year. So how hard the drive is going to work does come into play as well. There is also the warranty to consider. A standard BarraCuda drive comes with a 2-year warranty, whereas a standard IronWolf drive comes with a 3 year warranty, and the IronWolf Pro comes with a 5 year warranty. One reason that some users prefer to buy NAS rated drives is that warranties can be longer for them.

NAS drives are also designed to handle more vibration than your standard desktop drives, the reason for this: Imagine a NAS enclosure with, say, 4-8 huge 8TB or 10TB drives all stored right next to each-other in that enclosed space. Hard drives used in this capacity tend to have the potential to “beat up” on each-other just with the raw force of all of those spinning platters and the operations taking place on them, causing performance and longevity issues. So the firmware on NAS drives is designed to account for, protect against issues with, and manage these vibration considerations. Some NAS drives actually have what are called RV (Rotational Vibration) Sensors on them as well for this same reason. If your priority is noise reduction, a NAS-optimized drive is probably not going to be your best option. They’re very good at what they do, but they are not exactly known for being the quietest type of drive around.

Why does FreeNAS need so much RAM?

All loads are different, and 8GB is average safe-side recommendation. There were rumors that somebody managed to run ZFS on 32-bit architecture with 256MB of RAM, but it does not mean you can run any serious server with that. FreeNAS itself uses not so much, depending on the number of enabled services. But ZFS requires RAM for caching, which is critical for performance. If memory is not enough to store all required metadata, then data access becomes slower. On systems with less than 4GB ZFS by default completely disables prefetch, that significantly reduces performance. Sequential file read in your example is hardly a serious load that requires or can really use much RAM, but there are other much more complicated loads.

FreeNAS will run fine on 6GB of RAM however 8GB is the default safe lower limit to avoid RAM shortages during heavy load.

How much RAM does a NAS need?

Computers store things in RAM that they use often so they don;t have to read it from the much slower Solid State Drives or Hard Disk Drives. We always recommend no less than 4 GB of ram but would highly suggest bumping up to 8GB.

Is it worth buying a NAS?

Network attached storage (NAS) drives are still worth a place in your home. Essentially, NAS drives are hard drives that connect to the web, making them extremely versatile and presenting a host of useful applications.

Is drobo a NAS?

Drobo 5N 5-Drive Network Attached Storage (NAS) Array, Gigabit Ethernet. Not only is the Drobo 5N fast, but also easy-to-use, expandable, and automatically protects against hard drive failure.

Can applications run from a NAS?

NAS devices can also be used to host applications. They provide many of the same services as an application server, but with more basic settings and less customization. They also offer fewer choices in terms of the applications that users can run.

Can I use SSD in NAS?

Since SSDs have no moving parts, they run silent, so the only sound from your NAS will be the internal fan. SSDs also use less power than mechanical disks.

Do you need NAS drives for a NAS?

With greater reliability, NAS drives are particularly suitable for a NAS environment. A NAS HDD is designed to run for weeks on end without shutting down, while a desktop HDD can only read and write data for hours at a time. A NAS HDD is also built specifically for RAID setup.

Can I use NAS HDD for gaming?

NAS is perfectly suitable for everyday gaming or small-scale LAN parties, provided that you have enough bandwidth. It is entirely possible to set up a NAS device and install a Steam-like library of games, so you can save valuable space on your hard disk drive or solid-state drive.

What is a good NAS for home use?

The Synology 2 bay NAS DiskStation DS218 (Diskless) is the best two-bay home NAS for most home or small office use.

Is Nas faster than USB?

Basically, a NAS server speed varies between the speed of USB 2.0 and the speed of USB 3.0, and is much slower than the speed of Thunderbolt. Which gets up to about 700MBps. Note that 130MBps is in no way slow; in fact it’s very fast, even faster than the real-world speed of many internal drives.

What is the difference between NAS and external hard drive?

While external hard drives can hold files, media, and other documents just as well as a network attached storage will, NAS is more flexible and does a whole lot more. In fact, NAS is sometimes referred to as a hard drive with a brain. NAS are more or less a server without the complicated configurations.

Can I use a NAS as a web server?

There is no reason why NAS cannot be used to provide storage to a Web server. Firstly, take into account the kind of traffic a Web server generates. Typically these will be random requests for Web pages, which will vary from a few bytes to a few kilobytes in size. As pages are requested they will be loaded by the Web server with multiple threads. Depending on the configuration of the Web server. It is likely that the more common pages will be served directly from the Web server cache. For those sites that aren’t, the NAS appliance will cache access to those pages itself using the NAS read cache. Other file requests will be served on demand on a random basis.

There are some other issues to consider. If the Web server is to be used to provide access for large file downloads, it may be sensible to consider placing those files on higher performing disk devices under the NAS appliance. This applies equally for areas to be used for FTP upload and download (assuming that is a permitted operation).

Using NAS as the storage for Web servers can also provide some additional benefits. Most NAS products provide snapshot or cloning tools. This can be used to replicate web server data for testing, update distribution or to create additional servers for load balancing. Finally, NAS provides storage that can be accessed by multiple web servers concurrently, allowing simple web server clusters to be implemented.

Does a NAS have to be connected to a router?

While most NAS devices require an Ethernet connection to your network router, some models offer built-in Wi-Fi wireless connectivity and don’t need to be physically connected to a router.

What are the advantages of NAS?

The key benefits of network-attached storage are mainly speed and convenience. Instead of a hard drive connecting to your computer, NAS connects to your wireless router – enabling multiple users from multiple devices to access the files on the network.

Is Nas a good backup solution?

NAS backups are very secure. NAS devices are best suited for infrastructures which need onsite backup because of data security and fast, reliable access to data. The main benefit of NAS backups is the ability to use remote cloud backup storage providers such as Amazon S3 Glacier. On the off chance a NAS fails, data restores can be done very quickly while solving the off-site storage requirement.

Can you access a NAS from anywhere?

A Network attached storage (NAS) device is a great way to share files in your home and provide always-on storage. If you’re just using your device inside your home, though, you’re missing out. Another benefit of having a NAS device that’s always on is that you can access it from wherever you have an internet connection. There are several ways you can get access. Synology NAS devices are a great option for this requirement.

A NAS device isn’t just useful for local storage. It can also give you access to your files wherever you are in the world.

What is SAN Storage?

A storage area network (SAN) is a dedicated high-speed network or subnetwork that interconnects and presents shared pools of storage devices to multiple servers. A SAN moves storage resources off the common user network and reorganizes them into an independent, high-performance network.

What is SAN storage used for?

A Storage Area Network (SAN) is a specialized, high-speed network that provides block-level network access to storage. SANs are typically composed of hosts, switches, storage elements, and storage devices that are interconnected using a variety of technologies, topologies, and protocols.


SAN and network-attached storage (NAS) are both network-based storage solutions. A SAN typically uses Fibre Channel connectivity, while NAS typically ties in to the network through a standard Ethernet connection. A SAN stores data at the block level, while NAS accesses data as files.

Which is better NAS or SAN?

Although a high-end NAS will cost more than an entry-level SAN, in general NAS is less expensive to purchase and maintain. NAS devices are considered appliances and have fewer hardware and software management components than a storage area network.

What is the purpose of a SAN?

Short for storage area network, SAN is a high-speed network of storage devices that also connects those storage devices with servers. It provides block-level storage that can be accessed by the applications running on any networked servers.

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