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Network Storage – NAS (Network Attached Storage), Best NAS Devices of 2018, NAS vs SAN

Check: What is NAS and how does it work? Best NAS devices of 2018. The difference between NAS and SAN/DAS.

Talking about network storage, we generally think of NAS, SAN, and DAS network storage devices. This post will mainly introduce NAS (network-attached storage).

NAS (Network-attached Storage) Definition

NAS is short for Network Attached Storage. It is a file-level computer data storage server connected to a network to offer data storage services and data access for a group of client devices on this network.

How Does NAS Work?

NAS devices are ideal for providing multiple authorized network users remote access to vast files and data storage/sharing from a centralized location.

NAS is especially designed as a computer appliance specializing in serving files either by its hardware, software, or configuration.

It may contain more than one network storage drive arranging into logical, redundant storage containers or RAID.

The simplest NAS device has space for one internal hard drive, but more complex units can have two to eight or even more drives.
NAS HDD vs. NAS SSD >>

NAS is composed with a CPU, memory and OS. But NAS is not featured with a full computer operating system but a cut-down OS. NAS units usually don't have a keyboard or display, and are controlled and configured over the network, often using a browser. NAS operating systems' functions are focused on file storage, file transfer, user access and keeping NAS devices running well.

NAS puts no limit for clients to choose file-based protocols. They can be NFS, SMB/CIFS, AFP, NCP, etc.

NAS can be used to store your important files or steam media in your home network or small business network.

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15 Best NAS Devices 2018

NAS devices have become popular since mid-1990s. People are using it to share Office files with colleagues, backup laptops, serve 4K/HD 1080p movies videos over laptop/tablets/TVs simultaneously, store media files like vast number of photos/movies, etc. According to the network storage capacity you need, you can choose 1TB, 2TB, 6TB, 8TB, 10TB, etc. The larger the storage capacity is, the higher the price is. Normally a single 2TB hard drive NAS costs around $150. For a business group NAS, a high storage NAS may be needed. Below are top 15 recommended network storage NAS devices of 2018, including some inexpensive and expensive ones.

NAS Devices

WD My Cloud Personal ($159)
Seagate Personal Cloud 2-Bay ($358)
QNAP TS-251A ($299)
Buffalo LinkStation LS220D ($199.99)
Synology DiskStation DS412+ ($999)
WD My Cloud Mirror ($279)
Synology DiskStation DS216j 2 Bay Desktop Network Attached Storage ($169.99)
WD My Cloud EX2 Ultra ($317.99)
Western Digital DL4100 ($1687)
Apple AirPort Time Capsule ($342)
Buffalo TeraStation 5200DN (2TB) ($449.99)
QNAP TAS-168 ($199)
Synology DiskStation DS1515+ ($799.99)
Western Digital My Cloud Mirror Gen 2 (4TB) ($279)
Asustor AS3202T ($259)

NAS vs SAN – Differences

Much of the debate has focused on the merits of inexpensive NAS (network-attached storage) vs expensive but high-performance SAN (storage area network).

NAS provides both storage and a file system. This is often contrasted with SAN, which provides only block-based storage and leaves file system concerns on the "client" side. SAN protocols include Fibre Channel, iSCSI, ATA over Ethernet (AoE) and HyperSCSI.

NAS vs DAS – Differences
The key difference between direct-attached storage (DAS) and NAS is that DAS is simply an extension to an existing server and is not necessarily networked. NAS is designed as an easy and self-contained solution for sharing files over the network.

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