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EMC Glossary

Network-Attached Storage

Network-attached storage (NAS) is an IP-based file-sharing device attached to a local area network. NAS serves a mix of clients and servers over and IP network. A NAS device uses its own operating system and integrated hardware and software components to meet a variety of file service needs.

Network-attached storage enables server consolidation by eliminating the need for multiple file servers and storage consolidation through file-level data access and sharing. NAS typically uses multiple protocols to perform filing and storage functions. These include TCP/IP for data transfer; SMB (CIFS) and NFS for remote file service; and NFS, SMB and FTP for data sharing.

Who uses network-attached storage, and why

Organizations across a wide range of industries use network attached storage (NAS) to:

  • Consolidate server and storage infrastructure
  • Streamline data access and file sharing across a heterogeneous client and server environment
  • Simplify management and increase efficiency
  • Increase scalability
  • Strengthen data protection and security

How network-attached storage works

A NAS device is an open-system computer system with storage capacity connected to a network that provides file-based data storage services to other devices on the network. NAS uses standard file protocols such as SMB (Server Message Block) and Network File System (NFS) to allow Microsoft Windows, Linux, and UNIX clients to access files, file systems, and databases over the IP network.

Benefits of network-attached storage

Network-Attached Storage allows organizations to:

  • Provide comprehensive data access and file sharing
  • Increase efficiency with centralized storage
  • Gain flexibility to support UNIX and Windows clients
  • Simplify management
  • Scale storage capacity and performance
  • Increase availability with efficient data replication and recovery options
  • Secure data with user authentication and file locking