Those of you who have at least 2 computers at home, raise your hand. Those of you who have at least 2 computers and a television generation, raise your hand. Exaggerate those of you who have at least 2 computers, a TV generation, a PS3 or Xbox, an iPod or iPhone, a Nintendo DS or a PSP raise your hand. Now tell me who has never dreamed of sharing their data in real time and simultaneously, using all the devices you have listed. And not only those who have never dreamed of doing so while keeping the system scalable, fast, safe and secure.
Everything I just listed is possible through the use of a NAS (Network Attached Storage) device connected to a computer network whose function is to share between users of a network area storage (or disk).
This architecture has the advantage of making the files available simultaneously on different platforms such as Linux, Windows and Unix (or Mac OSX), because the operating system implements the network server for all popular standards such as FTP, Network File System (NFS) and Samba for Windows networking. Now we see one of the possible uses of a NAS system. What can you do with a NAS?
- Store your collection of over 20GB of digital photos, which is currently hogging the drive of your MacBook Pro;
- Contain the entire mp3 collection;
- Contain your collection of over 400 DVDs, once they have converted to digital format;
- Make available all that materile to any other location connected to the network;
- Share files for all workstations with centralized access control;
- Make automatic backups of client machines;
- Backup and automatic replication of files stored on the server;
- Create a print server that connects your printer / scanner / fax;
- Access to all these data from a remote PC.
The advantage of the NAS, as well as centralized data storage in one place rather than spread them on several PCs on a network, is that they are highly specialized units in terms of performance and data security: most of these systems can implement RAID schemes that allow data to survive even if one disk fails, and also allow you to add and remove disks without turning off the drive (hot swap). And here’s a movie (in English) that explains the operation of a Home NAS much better than me: