Network Attached Storage
Network Attached Storage is networked file level data storage, which provides data access to heterogeneous clients. This network storage has the apt hardware, software and configurations, to act as a file server. NAS is specialized in such a way, for not only storing files, but is also built to act as a file server. Popularity of this level storage is growing day to day as file sharing among multiple computers, paves way for simple administration, faster access to data and effortless configuration.
The NAS network structure acts as a logical storage, where an array of hard drives are arranged in such a way, that they appear as a logical unit and the file access is operable, through protocols such as NFS, SMB/CIFS or AFP.
Network Attached Storage Architecture
NAS follows the Client /Server platform, which is also observed in the file servers. In this way of storage, the single hardware device, which is called as a NAS box or the NAS head, is termed as an interface in between the NAS server and its NAS clients.
The working feature of a NAS box is such that, it doesn’t need a monitor, keyboard or a mouse and has an embedded operating system, rather than the network operating system. Disk drives or tapes are connected to the NAS systems, which will increase the capacity on the whole. Clients connect to the NAS head, instead of an individual storage device.
A Client will operate a NAS device with the help of an Ethernet connection and the NAS drive appears on the network as a single node, with an IP address of a head device. Typical storage includes email boxes, web content, remote system back up and all in the form of files. This all working framework is similar to that of a file server.
Moreover, the NAS is equipped with features such as disk space quotas, secure authentication, automatic sending of email alerts and an ability to detect errors.
Network attached storage works with the NAS head and that too on a TCP/IP protocol. This level of storage uses the seven layers of protocols, mentioned in the open system interconnection model.
Network File system of SUN and Common Internet File System CIFS are the both application protocols, which are associated with the NAS. Both these protocols operate in a Client / server fashion. Initially, NFS was meant for UNIX operating system, but then it was later implemented on non- Unix OS platforms as well.
Server Message Block or the SMB is the initial name of a CIFS, which was developed by IBM and Microsoft for DOS operating system file sharing. However, the protocol became widely used in windows and so the name was changed to CIFS. Even today, the same protocol is offered in the Samba package. NAS also supports hypertext Transfer protocol or HTTP and the files can be downloaded through a web browser, by the Network attached storage.
For further information check Data Storage