If you look at the total cost of ownership, NAS Servers are more economical than NT, NetWare or UNIX servers as these require substantially more hardware and need dedicated operating systems to perform their task, which increases their cost and complexity. NAS servers are single-purpose file servers optimized for network file sharing, supporting multiple network protocols, to provide file access by multiple clients. Because they don't have the multi-purpose character of a NT, NetWare or UNIX server they can perform their task easily with minimal software overhead and economical hardware. Traditional NT, NetWare or UNIX servers are multi-purpose servers that can provide network storage, but also perform many other network tasks. Because they are multi-functional, traditional file or application servers require expensive, complex network operating systems that must be properly configured and maintained by trained professionals for optimum performance.
NAS servers can be used in any network such as businesses and departmental workgroups, remote offices, or any business that needs additional file storage or file sharing. NAS servers provide storage for all kinds of files, including office automation, graphics and image files, multimedia files, Web download, and CAD files. Below are some typical applications.
General-purpose storage: for small businesses, remote offices, and corporate workgroups
First server: add shared file space to peer-to-peer networks
Distributed storage server: improve network performance by distributing storage and isolating network traffic in high-traffic departments
High-performance data protection and backup server: using remote mirroring software, file synchronization software and popular backup packages
Software distribution server: distribute software across networks using utilities like Symantec's Ghost, or PowerQuest's Drive Image 2.0 Professional
Portable server: simply take it with you
Temporary storage server: use for high-speed, short-life backups when staging systems, or doing upgrades, or downloading large files from the Internet
Personal storage: use as your own personal server, store sensitive files away from the main system, or even secure the whole server in a safe when not in use
It is even possible to run a website off of a NAS server although it will be limited to serving web pages containing basic text and graphics written in HTTP 1.0. It is not intended for use as a general-purpose web server, as it does not support Java scripting, animations, streaming video, or anything that would require a special application or service running on the server.
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