NAS stands for network-attached storage and is a dedicated file storage system, sometimes containing multiple hard disc drives that connect to a network and provide file access services to computer systems.
NAS devices are typically characterized and defined by their high capacity, relatively low cost, and ease of access. They are also competent and have their own processor, memory, and storage operating system.
While NAS devices typically don’t have a keyboard or display, they provide users with the infrastructure to consolidate storage into one convenient place and also support various tasks such as archiving.
These devices provide an infrastructure to multiple users, who can use this network storage to retrieve data from centralized disc capacities on which various data is stored. This storage device is usually accessed through the use of a local area network (LAN) and can be used with a standard internet connection to access the shared storage. Each NAS is defined by a unique IP address and resides on the LAN as an independent network node.
Why Invest in a NAS System?
NAS systems are becoming increasingly popular, and according to a recent study, the global NAS market is projected to reach approximately 44.96 Billion USD by 2023. Many individuals and businesses invest in NAS systems because, while they may sound complicated at first, they are straightforward to operate, install, and configure, meaning that IT professionals are not generally required when it comes to setting one up.
They are also a cost-effective way to add some storage-space and reduce wasted space over other storage technologies, offering much more flexibility. They are also perfect for businesses due to their capacity to allow internet users to share network connections and utilize unused bandwidth, which has allowed for the emergence of the new peer to peer network connectivity ecosystems such as NKN.
A NAS device can also be used as a Media Server, and most come with media server software that has already been pre-installed. It can store media and stream video and music files, as well as photos across either a local network or externally via the internet, making it perfect for media-centric users.
Other benefits include secure data backup and recovery, alongside impressive security features, allowing data to be stored safely and reliably for authorized users. NAS devices also support a wide range of applications and permit data access across cloud-based applications and data.
Need help setting up a NAS? Check out what NKN has to offer
How to Choose a NAS Device
There are two types of NAS devices to choose from – the more powerful of the two, the rack-mounted NAS, is optimized for large disc capacities and better performance, and looks more like a regular server in appearance. A rack NAS is usually equipped with two PSUs for power backup should one fail, keeping your data continuously accessible and with no disturbance, making it perfect for large companies and big production teams.
The second NAS device option is a regular tower which could be more convenient if it’s for home use or a small business, taking up less space than its rack-mounted alternative. It is also less noisy and more user-friendly to maintain and install; however, it typically offers a less powerful performance.
When choosing NAS, you should also take into account how much capacity you will need and which applications you will be using as different applications require hardware features. You should also consider the number of people who require simultaneous access into consideration, as some devices offer higher and faster performances than others, and can handle more user connections at any one time.
Install the Hard Drives –
Remember that every individual NAS system will come with their varying installation and set-up instructions and that most of the time, hard drives need to be bought separately and are not included.
The hard drive that you choose will be dependent on your budget and your needs. The larger the drive, the more gigabytes you get.
Once you have your hard drive, you will need to install it, which is very easy.
First, remove the front cover (if applicable) and the hard disc tray. To install the disc into the tray, use screws to secure the drive-by to the bottom of the tray. Next, install your drive back into the NAS device.
Once your discs are secured in the unit, plug the cable into the power supply if applicable.
Next, plug the power cable attached to the power supply into the NAS. After the power connector is secure, install the network cable. Proceed to connect the other end of the network cable into your router, which should be accessible from your computer or mobile device. Finally, plug the power supply into your outlet, and you are ready to start your server and turn on the NAS.
Manage Storage Space –
There is no one way to manage storage space, and no one size fits all. Your options will differ based on what NAS unit you have, but most devices come with sync management software to help you manage your storage space for multiple NAS boxes collectively. To plan for future storage, and to optimize capacity, you will need to decide whether you will be managing a single NAS device or multiple boxes, and then decide how much capacity you will need. Most versions have managing storage software to help with setting up and managing storage space, such as cloud-based systems that you can access from anywhere, while others map your storage for ease.
The good news is that most NAS appliances allow you to upgrade the capacity of the box as your network grows, which means that you can plan ahead, allowing you to look into your future storage needs.
Create Media Structure –
Setting up your own media sharing center is one of the many benefits of investing in a NAS device, and creating a media structure is a lot less complicated than you might think.
In your disc manager, you will find shared folders where you can store and manage all of your media files and folders.
How you structure your media is up to you; however, it’s a good idea to create separate folders for each type of media to differentiate photos from your music. Organizing it concisely will benefit not only you but also your shared users, giving them quicker and simpler access to your media library. Remember to set user access rights for anyone you want to share the system with.
Configure NAS With Your Media Center –
Once all of your chosen files have been copied onto the NAS drive, you can proceed to configure the media center software with the server.
The three main sharing protocols which can be used to stream your media files are SMB (Server Message Block), NFS (Network File System), and UPnP (Universal Plug and Play). NFS tends to be faster and is recommended if you are using a wireless network connection; however, if you are using a fast computer, you probably won’t notice much difference between it and the others. If using NFS, you will then need to enable the NFS sharing protocol on your NAS to configure it.
Once you have your NAS media center set up, you can also share your media files with your friends and family members so that everyone can save and share the fun. This includes streaming movies, music and sharing photo databases, and provides the benefits of being:
- Easy to find
- Quick to access
- Easy to download
All you need to do is ensure that your chosen media is placed in the correct folders in the selected media sharing servers. Once your NAS is registered and has access to the internet, you are ready to start sharing. If you are using a Synology NAS, for example, the QuickConnect service will use the NAS’s own DDNS service so that it can be accessed from behind your router firewall easily. This will then enable you to go onto your dashboard to allow the media stations that you want to share.
Whether you’re looking to create a media hub of your own at home for your family and friends, or you are a small business looking to benefit from having a system that lets multiple people store, share, and have access to essential files across various locations, then purchasing a NAS device is the right choice for you.
NAS increases storage space, makes file sharing easy, and offers you peace of mind that you won’t lose your data, making it the one gadget that your home network or business needs. Related: How To Use nsh to Run Secure Remote Commands On Ubuntu 18.04