The lowdown on NAS

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The virtues of NAS

What is it? A network-attached storage server is a special-purpose device consisting of processors, hard drives and management software designed for the sole purpose of serving files over a network. An NAS appliance relieves other servers of storage and file serving responsibilities, thereby enabling traffic to move over the network without unnecessary slowdown.

Why do I need one? NAS appliances deliver the lowest total cost of ownership of any storage approach and offer high performance, scalability and availability. They provide true heterogeneous data sharing and are extremely easy to set up and use. They can manage a wide variety of network protocols and can be easily managed from a Web graphical-user interface or via any type of Simple Network Management Protocol program.

How much do they cost? You can pay as little as several hundred dollars, or even less for a low-end personal or small office NAS appliance, or more than $100,000 for a high-end system with plenty of features and storage in the high terabit range.

Must-know info? As a storage technology, NAS simply can't be beaten for its scalability, reliability, availability, performance and overall cost-effectiveness. Simple and low-cost one-drive systems are proving a boon in small office or workgroup environments, while 1T and up systems can be scaled to meet the requirements of almost every enterprise. No organization, large or small, should be without NAS.

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