What is Computer Network Storage?

Digital illustration of endless server room
Digital illustration of endless computer server room. Getty Images/Chris Clor

A network storage system maintains copies of digital data across high-speed local area network (LAN) connections. It is designed to back up files, databases, and other data to a central location that can be easily accessed via standard network protocols and tools.

Why Network Storage is Important

Storage is an essential aspect of any computer. Hard drives and USB keys, for example, are designed to hold the data generated by individuals on their PCs, but when these types of local storage fail, the data is lost.

Additionally, the process of sharing local data with other computers can be time-consuming, and sometimes the amount of local storage available is insufficient to store everything desired.

Network storage addresses these problems by providing a reliable, external data repository for all computers on the LAN to share efficiently. Besides freeing up local storage space, network storage systems also typically support automated backup programs to prevent critical data loss.

SAN and NAS Network Storage

Two standard types of network storage are called Storage Area Network (SAN) and Network Attached Storage (NAS).

SAN is typically used on business networks. It utilizes high-end servers, high-capacity disk arrays, ‚Äčand Fibre Channel interconnection technology.

Home networks typically use NAS, which involves installing hardware called NAS devices onto the LAN via TCP/IP.