This article introduces the basics of network attached storage, also known as NAS. The information can be used as reference for all kinds of products but it was written mainly for AKiTiO's network attached storage enclosures. For more specific details about your network drive, please refer to the user manual that corresponds to your product.


What is NAS?

What is NAS?

NAS stands for network attached storage. Wikipedia defines it as computer data storage connected to a computer network providing data access to multiple clients.

Among AKiTiO's products, NAS is one of the main categories of storage related products. In comparison to network attached storage enclosures (NAS), AKiTiO also has direct attached storage enclosures (DAS). Both products are designed to house one ore more hard disk drives, allowing the user to store, backup and share their digital data. However, DAS devices are connected directly to the computer (e.g. via USB 2.0, USB 3.0, FireWire 400, FireWire 800, eSATA) and can only be accessed by one user at a time. NAS devices on the other hand are connected to the local network and can be shared among multiple users at the same time.

DAS (direct attached storage)
Advantages: Disadvantages:
  • Fast file transfers (speed depends on interface)
  • Plug and Play (no complicated setup)
  • Uses native file system of the Operating System
  • Only one user at a time can use the device
  • Cannot share (on its own) the data on the drive
NAS (network attached storage)
Advantages: Disadvantages:
  • Multiple users can access the drive at the same time
  • Files can be shared among users and devices
  • Remote access via Ethernet is possible
  • Web-enabled applications provide additional functionality independent of the computer
  • Additional storage can be added (depends on NAS function)
  • File transfer speed is not as fast as DAS
  • Requires at least basic network knowledge
  • Available functions depend greatly on the chip and firmware

The features and functions of a NAS will determine how and where the device will be used. AKiTiO's network attached storage solutions are all aimed at the small office and home office market (SOHO). In other words, the devices are mainly for personal use with the ability to share files among a couple of friends and colleagues. The pricing, performance and functions are therefore targeted at these kind of users.

In the last few years, these type of home network attached storage devices have become much more user friendly. It is no longer a product that requires extensive computer and network related knowledge but with the help of technology such as UPnP and DLNA, it has become almost a plug and play device. It is no longer used for data backup only but has become the central data and media server for the home network, enabling devices such as game consoles, picture frames, media players and other computers to access and share the files via network connection.

NAS Overview


Information in this article is subject to change without notice. AKiTiO does not make any representations or warranties (implied or otherwise) regarding the accuracy and completeness of this document and shall in no event be liable for any loss of profit or any other commercial damage, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages. All brand names and product names used in this document are trademarks, or registered trademarks of their respective holders.