Having a network storage server to manage the flow of information is vital in today’s society, whether it is for personal or professional use. Having one centralized location holding all of the data needed to be accessed is the most efficient way of accomplishing a steady flow of information. The network storage server is the gateway between the storage devices and the users who will read, use, and impact the data stored there. It can be argued that the network storage server is the most important link in the system. But what is the server, and how does it work? While similar in concept, the three most commonly used storage configurations act slightly different from each other.
In a direct attached storage, or DAS, network, the network storage server is connected directly to the network. In fact, the server is an integral part of the network as a whole. The server acts as the centralized bridge connecting all users to each other, allowing them to talk to each other and share information. Without the server, the network would just not exist. In a DAS, the server also contains all of the storage devices. These devices include CD drives, internal hard drives, and external hard drives, as well as any other media devices installed in the computer. This configuration has the most direct access to information, allowing for shorter access times and quicker turn around times. The disadvantage of this system is that too many users tend to clog up the system, which ironically, can then slow things down.
Network Storage Server
Another common storage configuration is the network attached storage, or NAS, system. In this type of storage network, the storage devices are a part of the network, but are still independent. In simpler terms, this is a computer that is set aside for storage, but doesn’t contain the main server software. Much like the DAS, all of the hard drives and CD drives are contained in a single network storage server. The server in this configuration is a very minimal server, allowing access to its own drives, but not affecting the connections with other computers on the network. The advantage of using a NAS is that since it is independent of the network, it doesn’t have to have common operating systems on all of the clients, it makes security easier to control, and management is accomplished with ease. A disadvantage to the NAS is that it can still bog down the network with too many simultaneous users.
One of the most common types of storage network in use today is the storage area network, or SAN. The SAN puts all of the storage devices on their own network. The network storage server connects all of the storage computers to computers outside of the network. Using a SAN allows users from all over the world to access data from the same centralized point without having to be physically connected to the network. The server is what tells outside connections how to read the various devices attached to it. The internet is one of the largest SAN systems in use today. Using an SAN storage system reduces the amount of bandwidth usage on the network since all transfer of data is done on a line not dependant upon the network. One serious disadvantage of implementing an SAN is that since the storage network can be accessed at all hours, by users across the globe, technicians have to be on duty sometimes 24 hours a day.
Network Storage Server
Because data containment can be so versatile, the network storage server is the workhorse of all storage networks. Facilitating communication between users and storage devices, a network storage system would not be able to operate without the network storage server, but the server can still operate in many ways if part of the network goes down in some instances. Keeping large amounts data in a centralized location, while allowing access in various ways has become one of the biggest businesses of the times, creating the most efficient flow of information possible. In the business world, efficiency is the lifeblood of any and all businesses and having the right network storage server is an important part of efficiency.