Network-attached storage or NAS is often referred to as NAS hard drives, but it is more than just that. A NAS is a small computer device that has a processor, an OS (operating system), and several hard drives.

NAS is connected to a router with the use of a cable or WiFi.

NAS provides shared storage that enables multiple users to gain viewing and editing access to company data and files. 

It runs a file system and manages access to media behind that. Although NAS boxes are initially designed as standalone devices, technology nowadays made it possible to link many NAS nodes into a cluster with a single file system. Technological advancement made way for new types of NAS options for business.

Types of Network Attached Storage Options

Types of NAS

Here the different NAS options for businesses:

Standalone NAS

If your business only needs a basic amount of storage, maybe a few several terabytes (TB), then a standalone NAS product would do nicely for you and your business. You can use a standalone NAS as your general file storage for company files, surveillance footage, and more.

You can find a wide range of standalone NAS products ranging from devices suitable for consumers or small to medium-sized businesses to large enterprises.

However, keep in mind that standalone NAS is very limited. Once you have used up all its storage space, all you can do is to either clean up and delete some of your existing files or buy a new one. The issue with standalone NAS is that you can end up with a pile of devices that distribute files between hardware instances.

Scale-Out NAS

Scale-out NAS is designed to avoid the limitations that standalone NAS has-- it uses discrete appliances that share the same file system called a parallel file system where you can add new hardware instances.

This type of NAS is suitable for larger SMEs and enterprises. Scale-Out NAS allows you to create larger volumes of shared storage capacity. They also have the potential to work across both on-premise and cloud deployments.

However, it is of course a little pricier than the basic standalone NAS. 

Distributed File Storage

Distributed File Storage is not exactly a type of NAS-- it is a filesystem. As the name suggests, this type of system distributes or scatter files across multiple devices. However, the files will all appear to be in a single location to end-users despite being saved in separate places.

This type of setup is best suitable for big data companies or industries that require massive storage,

Cloud File Storage

Cloud file storage is a type of storing data in the cloud. It enables servers and applications to access files and data through shared file systems. 

There are three main public cloud providers, namely, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). These public cloud server service providers offer native NAS storage services that you can use for your business.

Cloud file storage is suitable for big data analytics, web serving, content management, application development, database backups, and many more. 

NAS and Data Loss

NAS Storage

Although network-attached storage is a great tool for businesses-- it is not perfect. It has some vulnerabilities to data loss which is why you need to consider working on a backup strategy or set up a data recovery plan.

Although, you must note that enterprise-level and midmarket NAS are less prone to data loss versus their consumer-level NAS counterpart. 

You just need to check if your enterprise-level and mid-market NAS servers support fault-tolerant RAID configuration that will allow you to rebuild RAID in case of disk failures. 

You also need to explore some of the cloud storage backup options so that you have the means to restore data from the cloud backup if needed.

Although enterprise-level and mid-market NAS are designed to be less vulnerable to data loss, there ARE some things that hardware or software design cannot prevent such as human errors, mechanical faults, overheating of drives, sudden power cut, natural catastrophes, and many more.

Key Takeaway

Network Attached Storage or NAS is a user-friendly storage system that offers high-capacity AND affordable storage. Now, with cloud storage options available-- NAS can enable you to connect to offsite machines through cloud interfaces. 

On top of all that, NAS is not just a hardware or device-- it also provides a standard and simple file system that you can use for your business to create a distributed work environment for sharing files and folders. You can even create a private shared storage environment!

Depending on what type of NAS and setup that you decide to apply to your company-- NAS can be as scalable, flexible, and persistent as you want it to be for storing and sharing data.

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