NAS servers. network storage
Large amounts of information transmitted over a computer network at some point became too large to be stored on the hard disk of a modern computer. A technological solution was required, and it was found - NAS (Network Attached Storage) solved problems with storage. In the literal Russian translation, this is “the storage connected to the network,” but another name stuck on the territory of Russia: “data storage server”. It remains only to understand what functions it performs, what is its utility to society and what devices the user may be interested in.
Server to server is different
Do not confuse the database server and the NAS file server. They have completely different functions, and accordingly, the requirements for the hardware. So, for the database server, the priority is high performance for carrying out calculations and outputting the results; therefore, such devices are equipped with multiple processors and large amounts of RAM. But NAS servers are devices for which storage of large amounts of information is a priority. Naturally, the emphasis in such devices is not on performance, but on capacity.Of course, there are similarities between the two compared devices - high fault tolerance, the possibility of several connections at the same time and flexible controllability. But this comparison is superficial.
Multiple NAS Management
As with any standalone device, NAS servers are managed using a proprietary operating system. The choice here is small in terms of platform - Linux and Windows. However, many interesting and functional shells have been created on these platforms, which make life easier not only for ordinary users, but also for network administrators.
Of course, the well-known operating system MS Windows Storage Server cannot be remade by itself because of the closed code of the system by a known monopolist. Yes, there are a lot of shells on the market that are friendly with the Windows system, but there are always a lot of flaws that spoil the impression that the NAS is working. But on the Linux kernel, you can find any solution. Especially enjoy working with open systems to all owners of devices from Apple, because the developers of the Linux platform took care of all. An example are the world-famous products of Synology, FreeNAS and Nexenta CE, a complete description of which can be found if you are interested in this in more detail.
How is the NAS?
It is clear that hard drives twisted with tape will not work, and you need a full-featured computer to install and operate the operating system. Network storage, as well as a personal computer, has a motherboard, a processor, RAM, a hard disk, a power supply, a chassis, and a cooling system. Only a video card is not needed, because there is no need to display information on the display - work and control are carried out only over the network.
It is the components installed in the NAS that determine the price of the device on the IT technology market, and not the functionality, as it seems at first glance. However, the functionality owned by the device is inextricably linked with the performance of the entire system. For example, if you intend to connect a large number of devices to the NAS server, you cannot do without a decent network adapter. Yes, and the future owner should think about the presence of a large amount of RAM.
What can modern NAS?
Network storage has a huge functionality, the description of which will take a lot of time, so you should pay attention only to key features that are able to demonstrate the potential of the server NAS.
- Full autonomy.NAS exists as a standalone device that operates around the clock and performs a user-defined range of tasks.
- Full interaction with any devices and systems. Support for all sorts of technologies depends more on the operating system, but all manufacturers attribute this capability to NAS.
- Independent multimedia center. Any operating system for the NAS server allows you to seamlessly work with multimedia: download and distribute torrents, organize video libraries and music storages, create a DLNA server for home and a lot more interesting and useful for entertainment.
Smart home using NAS
In addition to network storage, many manufacturers offer new owners to use the home NAS-server in the role of technology "smart home".
- Playback content. At the request of the user, the NAS system can be configured as a home media library that will be available to any device that can play video, such as a TV, smartphone, laptop, tablet.
- CCTV. Surveillance cameras are not a luxury for a long time, only few people know about significant problems with video storage.Sometimes the internal memory is enough for a device for several hours, after which the record is overwritten. With terabyte capacities, this problem is completely eliminated, and the video surveillance system will allow you to store large amounts of video on one media.
- Data backup. Not only small and medium businesses are offered NAS-systems for data backup. Home users always have something to hide from prying eyes.
Interesting offers from manufacturers
Focusing on consumer demand, all NAS servers are available in the market in different price categories. These are expensive self-powered systems, classic multimedia systems, and low-cost home devices. The user is offered to purchase NAS devices with or without hard drives preinstalled.
A cheap segment (12-15 thousand rubles) with a hard drive in the kit is divided between the Western Digital My Cloud and Seagate Personal Cloud. The latest device is presented on the market in a horizontal position and looks very beautiful against the competition.
Without a drive device can be purchased and cheaper (8000-12 000 rubles). The choice is small, but there is a D-Link DNS-320L and Synology DS115.The latter is interesting proprietary utilities and a huge number of settings and functions thanks to its own production system with the same name - Synology.
Expensive devices are also in demand.
Middle and expensive classes offer NAS servers without storage, but with full support for RAID and other nice features. In the price category of 20-40 thousand rubles, judging by the numerous reviews of the owners, the QNAP and Synology DS214play devices have proven themselves well. Two or four hard drives in these NAS servers are able to work with any technologies and arrays.
But business will be interested in more expensive devices that are able to work with a large number of hard drives simultaneously and fully guarantee the safety of data at high speed. Naturally, the price of such devices is 50 thousand rubles and more. A worthy price when compared with servers for storing data designed for large businesses (for example, Blade).
If you think well, you can come to the idea that it is not so difficult to make a NAS server with your own hands. After all, this is a regular computer, which has only one task - to maintain hard disks of large capacities, because the rest of the functionality is performed by the operating system.
The role of the system will suit any old system unit. Ideally, Barabone PC will be suitable for this role: having small dimensions, its body will fit into any interior. An important component here is the motherboard, which, in addition to supporting hard drives of increased capacity, must support work in gigabit networks or have an appropriate connector on board for connecting an external device. The presence of SATA-interfaces for the system is also required. If the motherboard does not support RAID, you will have to purchase an external controller.
Launch NAS-server of its own design
The flexible configuration and management system is provided by the operating system on the Linux kernel, therefore, it is recommended to run the NAS server at home using the FreeNAS shell or Synology. In contrast to the pre-configured at the factory NAS systems, the user will have to configure their device on their own. There are now a lot of instructions on the complete installation of the system, so setting up the NAS server will not cause difficulties for a beginner. Is that knowledge of the English language will be in demand, since all the documentation is written mainly by Americans.
The main thing that many IT specialists recommend is to install the software step-by-step by the author. Otherwise, as is often the case, a custom installation will not bring the NAS owner to the expected result. Later, having decided on the operation of the operating system and the available functionality, you can upgrade the installed software.
All NAS servers, like any other high-tech device, have advantages as well as advantages. Access to data through network protocols is unambiguously lower than to a local disk. Therefore, if you intend to use the storage for a single computer, it is worth considering whether there is a point in a purchase. The increased load on the network is an important factor for small and medium-sized offices, where work with the database server is used. Even on Gigabit networks, a file server with improper organization of a LAN can disrupt the speed of users.
Excess power consumption in the case of a permanent system is also related to the shortcomings of the system. Monthly kilowatts of energy will go to maintain its efficiency.If it is not critical for a business, then home users should take care of buying devices that can switch to standby mode or turn on and off according to a predetermined schedule.
As can be seen from the review, NAS NAS is a rather demanded device both in business and in home use. With the presence of other digital technologies in the house, such as a TV, game console, laptop, tablet, smartphone and other equipment that works with the image, a NAS server is simply necessary.
Before making a purchase, many NAS owners recommend making a list of needs that the device should satisfy. And only then acquire the object of their desires. This need is caused by the fact that many users have bought a middle-class file server for the home, and as it turned out, the cheapest NAS server was enough for them.