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The Difference Between Network Attached Storage (NAS) and Servers

Any enterprise needs data storage as it distributes data quickly and safely and allows backup of business-critical data. When your growing business demands more sophisticated storage facilities specifically to get access to the large data chunks, you need to choose a suitable storage option. The two major methods used for data storage, and its sharing and access are Network-attached Storage (NAS) and storage server.

Network-Attached Storage (NAS)

NAS is a file-level data access storage option or a hard drive that connects to the network, through which multiple users and heterogeneous devices are able to access data from a centralized disk. Network Attached Storage is directly attached to the Ethernet Switch that links to the servers. The shared storage can be accessed over a local area network (LAN) from the NAS through the standard Ethernet connection. It features consolidated storage to support multiple tasks like backup and data archiving. NAS devices operate based on software functions, including remote access, printer streaming, or native media streaming, unlike traditional hard drives.


  • It’s space-efficient, so, suits offices with space restrictions.
  • NAS devices are much cheaper compared to the servers and can be used to host the applications easily. 
  • The devices can create local storage backups of business data automatically. 
  • It simplifies file sharing among multiple users. 


  • NAS affects the network speed as it may consume large bandwidth. 
  • It lacks security over the cloud.
  • NAS is dependent on LAN connectivity. 


A server is a fully-configured system with high-end hardware and software designed to process web requests and deliver data over a local network or the internet. For example, a file server has the flexibility to add scalable processing, memory, and storage capacities to handle multiple requests and a huge number of users simultaneously.


  • Provides more processing power to increase the storage capacity and store a large amount of data. 
  • As servers allow installing third-party software applications, they are not restricted for use of alternative applications. 
  • Your business will be protected as it comes with robust and high-end security infrastructure that is configured with firewalls to block malware, viruses, or cyber-attacks. It also assures the prevention of data loss. 


  • A server needs regular maintenance for business continuity.
  • Companies are often required to buy a server license.
  • Servers are more expensive than NAS devices.
  • Technical expertise is needed for server administration. 

NAS Vs. Servers

Both NAS and servers are great storage options to share files across multiple devices over a network. The below-mentioned aspects are required to consider when deciding which one suits your business needs. 


In the case of space-constrained office environments, a server is not suitable because it is much larger than the NAS device. In contrast, NAS devices feature portability which means they can be connected to the switch or router for data storage that could be useful for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). 


NAS devices are operated to share the file-based data with a global namespace over LAN. They can be easily stolen and picked up and are susceptible to environmental factors. However, the servers include higher security-enhanced infrastructure with a built-in firewall configuration for data protection. 


When you’ve decided to choose data storage options between a server and NAS, scalability is the major factor. NAS devices have a limited drive cage that indicates they aren’t highly scalable. The server network architecture allows the admins to scale the capacity according to the scale-out or scale-up configurations. Servers would be the ideal option when you plan to install numerous applications and want to customize everything that you need. 


If your budget is a significant aspect when you want to purchase data storage, choose a NAS device because it would be available at lower prices than the servers.

Which is the right storage option for you?

You need to consider the space availability, data security, and expandability of storage when deciding on whether to choose a server or a NAS device for storing and backing up your data. Additionally, you have to analyze the current and potential future needs when selecting the option between a server and NAS.

Muhammad Asad Raza