Computer Network Storage Explained

SAN and NAS systems help an organization boost privacy and efficiency

Digital illustration of endless server room floating in clouds, depicting computer storage

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Network storage is a term used to describe a device, or many grouped devices, that a network uses store copies of data across high-speed local area network (LAN) connections. A storage system is essential because it backs up critical files and other data to a central location. Users can then easily access these files.

Here's an explanation of why network storage is vital to an organization, along with a look at two common types of network storage systems.

In a network storage system, it's important to note that devices not connected to the network can't access the data. If the network is down, connected users won't be able to reach their files.

Why Network Storage Is Important

Storage capabilities are essential for any computer. Hard drives and USB sticks, for example, are types of local storage that hold vital data close for easy access.

Local data storage has some downsides. External devices like USB sticks can be lost, and hard drives can crash. If this data wasn't backed up online, it's gone forever. Also, sharing locally stored data with other users can be a time-consuming process, and sometimes there isn't enough space to accommodate all the data you need to save.

Network storage is a great solution, providing a reliable, external data repository that all the users on the network can access and share. Network storage systems free up local storage space and usually support automated backup programs to prevent critical data loss.

Network storages systems save time, boost privacy, and help users conduct business more efficiently.

Storage Area Network (SAN) Technology

storage area network is a type of LAN that is capable of handling large data transfers and bulk storage of digital information.

SAN storage systems are sophisticated operations that can handle complex, mission-critical applications. SANs are typically used on business networks and utilize high-end servers, high-capacity disk arrays, and Fibre Channel interconnection technology.

A small business or SMB with a limited budget and minimal IT staff likely wouldn't need a SAN system.

Network Attached Storage (NAS) Technology

NAS is a file storage system that makes stored data more accessible to networked devices. Home networks usually use NAS, which involves installing hardware called NAS devices onto the LAN via TCP/IP.

NAS offers dedicated file serving and sharing via the LAN, boosting reliability and performance with features like RAID and swappable internal hard drives. NAS systems create a single, central, shared storage system that eases confusion.

Along with home networks, NAS systems are great for SMBs and other organizations because they require minimal maintenance.

NAS systems offer flexibility for organizations. As a business adds new users, it's easy to scale up the NAS system quickly.