What is a NAS Device?

I have talked about archiving photos in past posts, and I have been thinking about using a NAS device for archiving the photos. Last week I talked about beginning my adventures of online backups to the cloud.

Recently, however, I have been thinking about how I access my digital photos. I currently have a laptop and desktop, and would like to be able to view and edit the photos on either machine. This has got me thinking more about getting a NAS server. For those that don’t know what a NAS device is, I will explain what it is in this post.


The NAS Device

Many people are familiar with an external hard drive. These drives are usually connected to a computer using a USB port. Once the drive is powered on, the operating system will detect the drive and install the necessary drivers and assign a drive letter for that drive. Many external drives are used for backup purposes.

One of the drawbacks for an external drive is sharing it among different computers. If you have a laptop and desktop, you would usually disconnect the drive from one computer and connect it to the other to use the drive. It would be much easier to have a drive that connects to your network, such as through a router, that all computers can use.

This is where NAS devices come in. NAS is an acronym for Network-attached storage. It is a self-contained computer that is connected to a network. A NAS contains its own operating system that handles the functionality of data storage, file systems, and the access to the files. Unlike a regular computer, a NAS doesn’t include a monitor, keyboard or other peripherals.

A NAS device usually contains a motherboard, a processor, and RAM as well as one or more hard drives for storage. NAS devices can also include built-in RAID and clustering to help protect your data and possibly provide a performance increase.

Using a NAS Device at Home

As more people connect to the Internet using broadband connections, they are creating their individual home networks using routers and switches. A NAS can connect directly to a router since it will have its own network card. Once it is connected and powered on, the NAS device will received its own IP address from the router and act has a network storage device.

Once it has its own IP address, all other computers on the network can then connect to the NAS device and use its storage space. This will allow you to easily share data between the computers in your network. For me this will work great since I have both a laptop and desktop that I can then share digital photos between without having to download the photos on each computer.

Many NAS devices also include their own USB ports. You can use these ports to connect additional external hard drives so you can also share these hard drives using the NAS.

I will be looking into getting myself a NAS (Network-attached storage) device for backing up my digital photos. Since a NAS device is connected directly to the network, I can then view, and edit the photos from either my laptop or desktop.

5 Responses to “What is a NAS Device?”

  1. To Doug.

    A better option will be to take an old PC with network card or WIFI and place several HDDs in there. You won’t have the RAID. only the drives you got. Share them on the network. if you want you can add controller to add more HDDs for back up. This way it is more simple and if one HDD will go bad, and it won’t just simply die. you will recover most of the data anyway, compared to raid where you lose everything.

  2. Doug C says:

    I had 3 new Seagate (Maxtor) NAS 220 data storage servers on which the firmware has crashed in the last 9 months!!!! The problem with these data storage servers is that they may have two or more RAID drives that provide duplicate copies of the data but once the firmware crashes, the RAID drives are useless. Contrary to what you might expect, you can NOT just remove the RAID drive and install it in a new storage server unit to access the data. Recovery of the data off the RAID drives is very difficult if not impossible. Does anyone know of any NAS storage servers that allow you to remove the RAID drives if the firmare crashes and use the old RAID drive in a new unit?

  3. Apexto says:

    Thanks mate. Be glad to hear from you soon.

  4. Paul says:

    I don’t have any experience with NAS devices, however, I’m sure there is security you can enable for specific users.

    When I get a NAS, I’ll have a look and write a post about it.

  5. Apexto says:

    How convenient NAS has made multi-user sharing of storage. The question is how will this affect privacy of data in a multi-user accessed storage device?

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