The demand for network storage in an age of high resolution graphics, streaming video and world wide client lists is quite high as is the need to store and backup huge amounts of data has become a major concern for people and businesses alike. Providing a way for all of that data to be stored, yet still accessed by client computers is what network storage is all about. In simpler terms, network storage is a central storage house of data that other computers can read, change, or even add to. These storage houses can range from a simple PC hard drive to a network of computers that contain only media used for data storage.
A network is simply a group of components that can all act and communicate together. Starting on the most basic level, most computers today contain a network storage device. While common to almost all home PCs, the average user doesn’t even realize it is considered this type of device. Hard drives, writable CD and DVD drives, even flash drives are all considered a basic form of storage device. Each of these components has a drive letter associated with them, so the computer can find and utilize them. This drive letter is actually the way the computer views them on the internal network, allowing each component to communicate with the other.
It is common in today’s society to have multiple computers in the same house, or in a small business. These computers are generally connected together via a network, whether sharing a wired connection or tied by a wireless connection. In a basic network like this, one computer generally holds and stores the majority of the data on its internal hard drive. Sometimes, the central computer has an external hard drive connected to it with a larger storage capacity. This type of network storage is known as a direct attached storage, because the storage computer is directly contained within the network
The next level of network storage is called the network attached storage. This is a centralized set of devices that are used strictly for data storage such as a CD tower that has only writable CD drives installed in it. When connected to a network, this storage unit can be used by any computer on the network, regardless of operating system or type of computer. Think of it as having an external CD drive that any computer can access at any time.
On a much larger scale is the storage area network. This type of storage is a network of storage devices, connected to a server that allows access to the data from outside of the server network. This is another example of network storage in use by most people and they don’t realize it. When a user gets on the internet, they can connect to millions of individual systems of networks that they normally wouldn’t have access to. This allows for huge amounts of data to be stored without clogging the bandwidth of the local network with traffic that most users won’t need.
Whether for a home, small company, or a world wide corporation, network storage is an important consideration today. Knowing the best configuration to use will help streamline the flow of data through any network. The right network storage solution will also make security much easier to control by establishing who has access to the data and at what level. In the modern world, network storage of data is the key to success for any computer system.