Using a software program that normally is provided together with the NAS hardware, a network administrator can set up automatic or manual backups and file copies between the NAS and all other connected devices.
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Both Storage Area Networks (SANs) and Network Attached Storage (NAS) provide networked storage solutions.
A NAS is a single storage device that operate on data files, while a SAN is a local network of multiple devices that operate on disk blocks.
A NAS includes a dedicated hardware device often called the head that connects to a local area network (usually via Ethernet and TCP/IP).
This NAS server authenticates clients and manages file operations in much the same manner as traditional file servers, through well-established network protocols like NFS and CIFS/SMB.
To reduce the cost compared to traditional file servers, NAS devices generally run an embedded operating system on simplified hardware, and lack peripherals like a monitor or keyboard.
A SAN commonly utilizes Fibre Channel interconnects and connects a set of storage devices that are able to share low-level data with each other.
The administrator of a home network or small business network can connect one NAS device to their LAN.
The NAS maintains its own IP address comparable to computer and other TCP/IP devices.
Administrators require specialized knowledge and training to configure and maintain SANs.