Network-attached storage (NAS) is a category of file-level storage that’s connected to a network and enables data access and file sharing across a heterogeneous client and server environment.
“Ideally, NAS is platform- and OS-independent, appears to any application as another server, can be brought online without shutting down the network and requires no changes to other enterprise servers,” says research firm Gartner in its definition of NAS.
NAS history: the evolution of network-attached storage
NAS evolved from file servers used in the 1980s to provide access to files for network clients. NAS devices typically consist of bundled hardware and software with a built-in operating system, and they typically use industry-standard network protocols such as SMB and NFS for remote file service and data sharing and TCP/IP for data transfer. In an enterprise setting, NAS can allow IT teams to streamline data storage and retrieval while consolidating their server and storage infrastructure.