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What is NAS? NAS or external drive? Ready or folded? Basic features and functions of network drives NAS – part. 1.
What is NAS? Network drive a (typical) external drive

Most of you probably already had contact with external drives. Connected via USB, eSATA or Thunderbolt directly to your computer, you can store and transfer large amounts of data. However, they have a lot of limitations as DAS (Direct-Attached Storage) media. First of all, in order to share the data collected on them, they must be connected to other computers.
Synology DiskStation DS713 + (Photo by Synology)

Synology DiskStation DS713 + (Photo by Synology)

It is neither convenient (fun with wires) nor safe for data (damage during transport). Therefore, wherever there is a need to share data between several computers or where convenient storage space is accessed and automation of certain activities (eg backing up data from all home or office computers), sooner or later network drives enter the action, ie NAS-y or so. Network file servers.

Network-Attached Storage (NAS) is a mass storage device that connects directly to a computer network (typically a local area network such as a home or office network) typically using an Ethernet cable. It is adaptable, both hardware and software, to ensure efficient access to data stored on networks that are connected to a variety of client devices (such as Windows, Linux, and MacOS X computers).
Photo Credit: saschaaa via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: saschaaa via Compfight cc

There is no need to thread the cables or carry the media. In fact, NAS drives typically have far greater capabilities. They can play not only the role of shared data warehouses, but also servers for many network services (eg WWW), and even share (after installing modules) Internet connection. Most of them also support advanced authorization and user management, which has a positive impact on data security.

Such capabilities in the standard does not offer most external drives, which usually can only encrypt data using not very strong algorithms. This type of memory can of course be connected to and shared with routers, but usually they do not work well in environments where the load is high (many clients simultaneously want to access data), and the list of supported features, as I mentioned earlier. It is much poorer than the NASs.
Network drive NAS – ready or stuck?

We can own a network drive in several ways. The easiest way is to buy a ready-made design in a computer shop or electronics store. Prices of ready-made solutions range from a few hundred zlotys in the simplest of construction to even tens of thousands of zlotys for advanced NAS servers targeted at business customers. Ready kit is not only convenience but also assurance that everything works as it should (at least in theory the manufacturer should test it).
See also: Asus Pro Essential PU500
FreeNAS (photo by

FreeNAS (photo by

You can also get a suitable case and buy your own drive or disks (ordinary or dedicated, for example, WD has a RED series specifically designed for NAS servers) and then install them. Casing manufacturer provides, of course, software for managing such a network drive. Case prices again range from several hundred to even tens of thousands of zlotys, depending on the hardware configuration (yes, yes, the NAS is really a specialized computer) and the capabilities offered. The third option is to build your own network file server.

For example, you can use an old, unused computer and install a free system such as FreeNAS. It is based on FreeBSD, distributed under BSD license and available on i386 and x86_64 and IA-32 platforms. It handles practically all important home user features (and the expectations of many smaller companies too should meet) and can be managed from a web browser. All those who would like to build their own network drive and have a redundant computer, I encourage you to become familiar with FreeNAS.
Network drive NAS – features and functions [cz. 1.]
Interface – wired or wireless?

For the most obvious choice will be wired interface and that is what most network drives are. The simplest ones for home use usually have one 100 Mbit (cheaper) or 1 Gbit (slightly more expensive) Ethernet port. Deciding on the first option, you have to be aware

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