A NAS server is a storage device that also allows many other functionalities. For example, create your cloud server or media center.
In this article, we will tell you about the possibilities it offers. In addition, you will know what factors you should take into account when getting one.
What is a NAS server?
A NAS ( Network Attached Storage ) is nothing more than specific hardware that can adapt the format of a conventional-looking server, or of a dedicated hardware device, and whose purpose is solely and exclusively to store files to serve them to users. users who need them.
It is not, in any case, an exclusive type of storage for making backup copies, but it serves in daily work as storage for the data that is used to work continuously.
Being a specific device, it includes capabilities that improve storage and exclusive functionalities that give it certain advantages.
Therefore, the simplest way to describe a NAS is to define it as a hard drive directly connected to a LAN.
So these hard drives connected to our LAN network allow us to work with the information that is stored on it. Giving all users who are connected to this LAN, the power to share files and work on them.
So NAS systems are oriented to handle a large set of small documents and we can deduce that they are perfect office or home companions. It has the advantage of being small in size and does not require maintenance like servers. In addition to having lower power consumption, it is compatible with most operating systems and is easier to manage.
Some of its uses can be:
- A private cloud system.
- Share files.
- Web servers.
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How does a NAS server work?
A NAS is a server that functions as a repository for files and data. It is, in itself, a computer that has its operating system.
Within this type of server, we can distinguish different components:
- The NAS, which contains its processor, RAM, etc.
- Other external hard drives that can be added to its slots – or bays-.
Depending on the manufacturer, the hard drives will be included within the NAS or you will have to buy them separately. A NAS server is enabled to be working all day.
This device connects directly to the network – if it is for home use, you can connect it to your router. In this way, you have access to both a higher connection speed and the local network. In addition, you can access it from your computer.
In addition, a NAS will allow you to:
- Send files from your computer or mobile devices through the network that you want to store on that server.
- Create different users, so that several people can access it remotely and use it as a dedicated server to store data.
What is a NAS for?
NAS servers can have different applications. Some of the most common are managing files on a network, setting up your streaming server, or offering access to a local network to a group of users. In addition, they are also often used to store recordings from IP surveillance cameras.
Likewise, they can be configured as servers connected to the Internet and, therefore, to carry out functions similar to those performed by web storage or hosting services. Thus, you can use them as mail servers or store your web page. It is also possible to transform them into VPN servers.
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Functionalities of a NAS server
A NAS server is a storage device on the network. Therefore, the most widespread use is to save files and data and send them without having to connect them to a computer.
In addition, it is also common to use them for backup copies. NAS has several slots that allow you to save files on one of the hard drives and make mirror copies on the others.
But, as we have mentioned before, the functionalities of a NAS depend on the apps that you add to its operating system. Next, we are going to detail some of them.
Create your VPN
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a network technology that allows one or more computers to connect to a private network via the Internet. And, thanks to a NAS, you can create your virtual private network.
This is especially useful at both a private and business level. Thus, files can be shared between computers and devices with different operating systems.
At a business level, imagine being able to create a network of users in which workers can connect to the server remotely, share files and modify them, the latter being always up-to-date.
Have your multimedia center
Some NAS host apps allow streaming media files stored on this server on other devices. For example, on a television.
This ease, coupled with the fact that some models allow direct downloads to NAS hard drives, with much larger storage than a computer, makes these storage devices a powerful multimedia center.
Set up your FTP
Creating an FTP server on your NAS can be extremely useful for businesses. Thanks to its configuration, different access permissions can be established for some folders.
Therefore, an FTP server can be a very powerful tool when it comes to:
- Share files internally with workers and control which files each employee has access to.
- Give external access to clients or other users to the FTP in a controlled manner.
Also, you should know that creating an FTP server on a NAS server hardly consumes the latter’s resources. Therefore, it will hardly affect its performance.
Create a web server
Thanks to the installation of some applications, you can configure a web server on your NAS easily and in a short time.
This web server can be used not only to host one or more websites (virtual hosting) but also as a test environment for web developers.
In addition, PHP and SQL modules can be integrated to host pages that require these technologies.
Of course, you must bear in mind that, in case the hosted websites have many visits, you should have a very fast internet connection so as not to slow down their load.
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What are the advantages and disadvantages of NAS?
- They allow you to have a shared and quality storage space.
- You can access all your data, files, and documents from anywhere in the world through a mobile phone application or a specific browser web page.
- You can create a media center to store movies, music, or photos. The NAS server will send them to any device from which you can play them.
- If you use it as a private cloud, you will have all your documents available on the network without Google or any other company being able to access them.
- Installing and configuring a NAS is a simple task.
- The NAS is compatible with any operating system since the access and management of the files are carried out using standard protocols, most of them freely accessible and implemented on all platforms, from commercial to free and free.
- NAS servers allow us to have a much larger storage capacity than any cloud service. We can expand its capacity quickly by replacing hard drives with higher-capacity ones.
- The NAS is more expensive, but in the long run, if our needs increase as time goes by, the investment becomes very profitable.
- It involves making an economic investment to acquire the NAS and hard drives if they are not available.
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How to choose the best NAS server for you?
After reading the possibilities offered by this type of server, you may consider which is the best option.
If so, you should consider several factors before purchasing your NAS.
The first question you should ask yourself is what are you going to use your NAS for. That is, what use are you going to give it and, therefore, how much space do you need.
As storage devices, NAS has a series of bays or slots into which hard drives are inserted.
Therefore, before buying it, you must take into account not only the capacity that each disk must have but also how many bays you need within your server.
Finally, you should know that some NAS come with integrated hard drives. Assess, in that case, if the storage offered by the manufacturer is enough or if, on the contrary, you are going to need to expand it.
Performance of your NAS
Each NAS incorporates a processor and RAM. Therefore, you must also take these characteristics into account when choosing one or the other.
The better the processor and the higher the RAM, the higher its performance and you will avoid unnecessary waiting.
Of course, to decide, first assess what your needs are. That is, if you are going to use it in a particular way, you will have lower requirements than if you are going to operate at a professional level with a large amount of data.
Installed operating system
Each manufacturer has its operating system that allows one or other applications to be integrated. Here, once again, you must ask yourself what use you want to give the NAS.
Once you have it clear, you can consult the main apps associated with the most demanded manufacturers.
Once you start researching which are the main NAS models, you will see that there are a wide variety of devices available. In addition, they offer extensive configuration and customization options based on user needs.
In addition to these factors cited above, you should also consider security options. And, of course, the compatibility of the files when choosing one or the other.
And, once you have done it, explore all its possibilities to get the most out of it.
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Buy a physical server or hire it in the cloud?
Currently, there are many companies that ask the same question when renewing, buying, or hiring new servers. What is better? Buy a physical server or hire servers in the cloud? It depends…
Although both options have advantages and disadvantages, in the end, it always depends on what the priorities of each company and each IT director are. I leave you some of the most differentiating points between one solution and another so that each one can make their own decisions.
One of the main points to assess is the growth forecast, is it possible that the business increases and that my infrastructure falls short? How do I size my machines efficiently? This is a different point between the two scenarios. The purchase of a physical server requires significant prior planning to select a machine that is not short in the medium term but is not oversized (not being cost-efficient). The Cloud scenario is different, one of the great benefits of this type of service is the possibility of hiring and canceling resources based on the momentary needs of the client and paying for the time of use.
Generally, attracting/retaining talent and specialization usually entails a significant financial investment. If you need the time of specialized professionals for the care and maintenance of the infrastructure and you also need it at the best cost, perhaps a Cloud environment is the solution.
In any business, security is a critical point. Many times having the servers nearby (in the company’s facilities) gives us a sense of control and important security, but… is it a sensation or is it a fact? The first thing we have to assess is the facilities we have, the criticality of the service, the response times, and the SLAs in the event of possible incidents.
- In a scenario with our servers, we must know that everything depends on us, the security of the facilities and response times depend 100% on how we face, plan and manage our infrastructure. That is, we have total control but we need time, money, and dedication.
- In a Cloud scenario, we must trust a provider. It is for this reason that many companies like us try not to leave anything to chance. Maximum security data center, redundancy of critical services, 24 × 7 monitoring and maintenance services, state-of-the-art firewalls, specific departments dedicated to security, and SLAs that ensure service and reward the customer in the event of a crash.
Cost and financing:
At the financial level, the two models proposed are opposite. On the one hand, On-premise solutions involve the purchase, financing, and amortization of the server until it is renewed, without going into the detail of energy consumption (direct and indirect) and licensing. On the other side are Cloud solutions, services to which we subscribe based on specific needs, increase or decrease based on them, and which we must categorize as operational expenses.
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Compliance with the GRDP and other legal requirements:
We start from the basis that all companies care about the information they manage, that they make periodic backup copies as a basic contingency plan, and that they try to comply with current regulations in each process. The question is, is everything really under control? Do you always comply with the GRDP and other laws? Do we know what legal requirements are required of us?
- On-premise solutions allow us to establish the contingency plan that we consider appropriate, choose software to our liking and manage our information internally, but in the end, everything depends on us, our IT team, and our dedication not only at the technical level but also at the legislative level.
- The Cloud scenario is different, the architecture of this type of service is proposed from the beginning under the parameters required by current regulations and in an automated way, the scalability of the services and the continuity of the company as a service provider depend on all this. on the cloud. In this way, even if the solutions proposed are not ad-hoc, we will be sure that they strictly comply with current regulations.
Despite the differences between the two scenarios, the choice of one or the other should not be exclusive. Today it is possible to combine many of the advantages of both solutions in a hybrid environment that allows control of critical infrastructure while taking advantage of the advantages of the Cloud .
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