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Network Attached Storage (NAS)
Network-Attached Storage or NAS is a storage system connected to network to provide file-based data storage function to other devices or clients on the network. NAS normally does not come with display, mouse or keyboard and is managed via browser graphical user interface over the network.
The operating system used in NAS is often a stripped down operating system such as free Linux OS to support common file based protocols such as NFS, SMB, CIFS, AFT or NCP. The system consists of one or more hard disks being configured into logical RAID with or without redundancy. Such system may use software- or hardware-based RAID. In fact, it is more common to see the implementation of RAID using free UNIX which is power enough to handle most of the file sharing needs without escalating the additional cost of using RAID controller.
NAS has the advantage of low cost, ease of operation and good storage expansion path. The system centralised data storage for authorised network users who may be heterogeneous clients. With the popularity of cloud storage, one could even configure NAS as public cloud for collaboration and work sharing.