Server NAS software

NAS is the abbreviation for Network-attached storage and has gained popularity among enterprises and small businesses as a scalable, effective, low-cost, on-premises data storage solution. NAS servers serve as a central point for storing as well as retrieving data of organizations. Network-attached storage servers are special computers that have been built for holding one or multiple storage drives. NAS systems are essentially networked appliances. These have one or more storage drives, which are usually organized into logical, redundant storage containers, known as RAID (Random Array of Independent Disks). A RAID consists of multiple drives that have been integrated for the purpose of ensuring an improvement in the performance of a single drive. The various ways of configuring a RAID provide enhanced speed in some cases and better data protection in others. Some RAIDs are capable of delivering both simultaneously.

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With regard to NAS servers, the use of NAS technology delivers increased service of files as well as swifter access to data. Unlike block-level storage, Network-attached storage is a file-level data storage server which is connected to a network that provides a heterogeneous clients’ group access to data.  NAS is specialized for the purpose of serving files through either its hardware or configuration or software. NAS storage does away with the responsibility regarding file serving from a network’s other servers. It usually ensures access to files through protocols for network file sharing. A dedicated NAS offers the benefits of simple configuration, faster access to data, convenient administration. With every update, NAS is becoming more user-friendly and this helps users in managing their NAS. The latest development in NAS technology has to do with its increased scalability. This is required when NAS devices have either reached their capacity for real storage or their performance limits. 

Network-attached storage provides the framework for file-level storage and is capable of holding local storage for archival data, retention and compliance; assisting applications, databases as well as servers (physical or virtual) for data storage; sharing storage location that is accessible through LAN and allocating hot and cold tier data between cloud file storage and on-premises.

NAS Devices’ Classification

Based on the way NAS devices are made, these can be classified into the following three types:

Embedded system based NAS- An ARM or MIPS based architecture for processors along with an RTOS or an embedded OS are used in it for running a NAS server. Its functions suit most of the requirements of end-users. Its power consumption is fair.

Computer-based NAS- The functions of this NAS type are the most powerful but it consumes the most power among the three types of NAS.

ASIC based NAS-  It uses a single ASIC chip, file system and hardware for implementing TCP/IP. This chip doesn’t contain any OS. That’s because all the operations that have to do with performance are attained through hardware acceleration circuits. It provides limited functions and its power consumption is low.

Functioning of NAS Software

NAS devices are present in between network storage and network switches. Data is shared and retrieved from the NAS by the clients through data transfer protocols. Users are able to interact seamlessly with the resources of the NAS.

Despite NAS systems being lightweight and being capable of delivering minimal tasks with regard to files, the operating systems of NAS provide some essential applications, such as productivity tools, business and collaboration related applications etc.

The Main Features of NAS Software

NAS software includes certain features that protect data. These include backup, snapshot, replication and encryption.

Backups maintain a full copy of an organization’s or user’s data. Hence, it is important to keep regular backups. Snapshots, which are also known as versioning, provide a digital picture of one’s data. The difference between snapshots and full backups is that in snapshots the only data that is saved has to do with the changes that have taken place in the last snapshot. This minimizes space consumption. Replication refers to a solution wherein an updated backup is kept ready and can go live in the event that the source cluster goes offline. NAS systems provide encryption features with regard to full-disk software encryption as well as SED (Self-encrypting drives).

NAS Software Uses

NAS software is mostly used for the following purposes-

  • For sharing as well as for collaboration among clients

  • To configure a network’s specialized Internet settings

  • For accessing files while switching devices

  • For configuring protection with regard to data backup, encryption, replication etc.

  • For increasing the storage for new files

The Benefits and Drawbacks of NAS

The main benefits offered by NAS have to do with it being a fast and secure option for sharing files as well as it providing convenient in-network storage. Additionally, it is lightweight, doesn’t incur additional costs post setup and doesn’t require third party data managers. Remote access to NAS’ cloud is possible.

Its major drawbacks are that it requires power for operation, as well as technical skills for its set up and maintenance. There is data redundancy.

NAS vs. General Server Software

NAS OS are usually lightweight and are embedded in the hardware. Unlike other servers which are capable of managing many requests, NAS software can only send and receive requests for storing data and sharing files. NAS servers differ from most servers that have powerful hardware and can multitask. Moreover, general servers cost more than NAS as NAS units need to be bought and set up and post that these incur no additional costs from the NAS vendor.  NAS devices are smaller in size than the usual server modules.


Scalability along with data protection and near-instantaneous access to business-critical volumes of storage are ensured by Network-attached storage (NAS) software. NAS solutions aid in adequately storing and sharing data of businesses that opt for migrating to a cloud infrastructure or a hybrid infrastructure.

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