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Definition: NAS


(1) See network access server.

(2) (Network Audio Server) See digital media server.

(3) (Network Attached Storage) A file server that connects to the network. A NAS contains the file sharing components of a server and also runs NAS-related programs such as backup, cloud synchronization, streaming and surveillance. NAS units generally run a Linux OS, and they process I/O requests by supporting the popular file sharing protocols, primarily CIFS for Windows and NFS for Mac, Unix and Linux. See file server, CIFS and NFS.

Just Plug It In
Unlike a storage area network (SAN), which is an enterprise-class storage system, a NAS can be quickly added to a home or local network by plugging it into a switch or router. See SAN, NAS gateway, direct attached storage and NetApp Filer.




A Raft of QNAP Apps
QNAP makes a variety of popular NAS products from personal storage to enterprise use (top unit). Its QTS operating system supports more than 150 apps covering the categories itemized above.








Network vs. Channel Attached
Data in a NAS are accessed via the network, whereas storage area networks (SANs) have high-speed connections to huge storage arrays.






Industrial Strength NAS
Network Appliance popularized the enterprise NAS device. Sophisticated units like this can hold many terabytes of storage and provide mission critical reliability for large enterprises. (Image courtesy of Network Appliance, Inc.)






The Early 2000s
In 2002, Iomega introduced a line of economical RAID-based NAS units for personal and SOHO use. This model included a hot spare ready to replace a failed disk drive. Iomega was later acquired by Lenovo. (Image courtesy of Iomega Corporation.)