The lowdown on NAS

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NAS catches on

What is it? Network-attached storage devices provide a way to add storage to your network that is simple, relatively inexpensive and offers multiple platform support.

Why would I need it? If you don't have enough space to store data, if your network server is overloaded by requests for files, or if users must share files across different systems, NAS might be a good choice for your network.

When wouldn't I need it? If you are dealing with multiple networks that pass data between them; if you have components, such as mainframes, that the NAS is not compatible with; if your processing servers use the data extensively; or if you need more storage than NAS devices can offer.

What do I look for in a NAS device? Enough storage for current and projected network needs, compatibility with network protocols and user machine operating systems, simple installation and administration, and the right price.

Must-know info? Trends in NAS are toward greater capacity, compatibility with more operating systems, more special features'such as remote mirroring, data snapshots, and integrated backups'Web-based management, more vendor competition on price and features, and more SAN-like capabilities.

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