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DAS vs NAS titleNAS drives and DAS drives, you may have heard these terms bandied around when it comes to choosing your computer storage, but what is the difference between these two storage systems and what do you actually need for your PC?

Whether you need additional storage for a growing movie library or you need a secure place to store important document both NAS and DAS can offer great solutions.

 

Let’s start out with a simple explanation of what is DAS and NAS…

DAS- Direct-Attached Storage DAS is computer storage that is directly linked to one computer or server, usually via a cable. This includes internal and external hard drives, SSDs flash drives.

NAS- Network Attached Storage–   NAS are storage devices which connect to a network. They allow multiple computers/devices in a network to share the same storage space at once.

 

Why chose DAS?nas vs das 1

DAS, is the most basic level of storage as your files are physically connected to the host computer. This gives the user a lot of advantages as the content and device is easily accessible.

The cost of DAS also tends to be much lower in comparison to NAS, whether this is from simple flash drives for small amounts of easily portable data, to much larger terabyte hard drives.

Users of DAS drives do not require a network connection meaning all the files and data can be accessed directly from the drive. This can be helpful if you’re in location without the internet, on transport or for keeping secure and sensitive data.

DAS drives can be used to work with single devices like as backup for a computer, as video storage for a TV or as a quick file transfer option for secure data.

Although DAS is technically a more basic format of storage, it can be inherently more secure as a user doesn’t need to access information via a network. This can be very important for companies storing critical data or professionals with access to personal information.

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Why chose NASnas vs das 2

NAS drives are designed to give the user more freedom to update, access and transfer files.

As the NAS is connected to a network a user can access the NAS drive without needing to be connected. This effectively means wireless freedom, and in the generations of smartphones, tables and wireless media, the popularity of NAS is growing.

If you are a multi-user household or don’t want to be tied (physically) to a device, NAS drives allow for wireless connectivity over multiple devices at the same time.

Expandable NAS drives give you the option to add more hard drives to the NAS unit. This allows the users to easily upgrade storage without having to transfer everything across to a new and larger drive. Simple add more storage space if you run out.

NAS drives are a great option as a media archive, especially if you have a household full of wireless devices like tablet smart TVs and phones.  You can simply stream movies, music and pictures direct from the storage onto your device with the need for messy wires and cables

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inside a hard drive

 

19 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Danny
    Nice article. Just to expand on DAS though, if you leave your PC on all the time and it’s connected to the home network, the DAS effectively becomes NAS if you enable ‘sharing’ on that drive. This is a really simple and cheap way to turn say a 4Tb USB drive into a NAS and this can be accessed by anyone on the network if you enable that level of sharing.
    This is how I have stored all our music, movies and recorded TV shows, all on a simple USB 4Tb drive, with a second drive as an auto back up. As long as that PC stays on, it streams anywhere in the house.

  2. Ian’s point is very well founded. You only really need a NAS if you don’t want to have a PC on all the time and connected all the time that you need other devices to connect to it. Obviously a Laptop is not ideal for this role. Sometimes a Raspberry Pi with a DAS drive connected is enough to work like a NAS. I know many that do this.

  3. True, but these days you can also connect USB drives to your home routers if you have a capable enough model.

  4. I recently had an external DAS fail and managed to retrieve the data held on it before total failure. I dont want to risk loosing all the data again so I’m looking at now having a NAS with RAID for my backup solution.

  5. Hi Bobski
    That is a real issue; I mitifated that risk by having two 4Tb USB drives attached to my PC. The first for all my data (films, pictures and music), and the second is simply a mirror of the first, with software that auto-synchronises the drives every week for a back up.

  6. A useful point, if nasty man breaks into your house and steals the computer he may well take the attached storage, you have lost all. With a remotely sited NAS you have a better chance of keeping your files, if not your computer.

  7. Any on-line drive can catch a virus. I like the benefit of physically removng and swithcing a USB drive off. I can even copy store in another house quite cheaply, so keeping data safe from theft, virus, fire etc.

  8. Great to have an interesting read while ploughing through ‘junky’ commercial e-mails. I use both, a large USB external drive for MY desktop with MY stuff and a NAS for backups, video and audio available to stream. But really, coming from the PC stone age of 500mb hard drives, I just love having all those terrabytes around me because I can.

  9. Das is very simple and it belongs to you and it is your personal data. Similarly NAS is same but it is vulnerable to virus attack and can disappear anywhere. Question remains for DAS you can pay anything for big storage but for NAS ,to whom you are paying and how long? Who controls your data and who has authority to release it and what
    price ? Your personal data is sometimes is so sensitive & private that no hackers should lay hands on it.
    Government controlled scientific and Social data is always under & through ‘tunnelling spot’. I know that DAS can be converted into NAS anytime & vice versa. Control & Release over your personal data is of great importance to any individual members. DAS cannot be shared but NAS can be shared anywhere in the world with your permission.

  10. Call me paranoid but I have 2 propietry NAS systems, a MEEBOX with 2 x 2TB drives in mirrored Raid and a Bufallo similarly set up. Plus two old desktop PCs running Freenas each with 2 x 2TB hard-drives. Each is synced so I have at least 4 setups with the same data which consists of a full system backup of the main laptop PLUS all documents and Pictures. I did start making archival DVDs of my pictures but thought that was a touch of overkill. What do you think?

  11. Sorry let’s try that again!
    Irvine – I’m wondering if you are confusing NAS with Cloud storage. The NAS solution being discussed is for your own network – whether wired or wireless but still in your personal possession. Yes there are NAS solutions which give you the ability to sync to the cloud but NAS is designed for use in YOUR network.

  12. Ron Hagley – I think your current setup is wasteful yet not as protected as you think. From your description you have 8 copies of your data, yet it seems that they are all in the same location. Your mirrored drive would help in the case of drive failure and a separate device backup would help if your original device failed but if there was a burglary or fire, potentially all the devices (and backups) could be lost. Ideally your backup plan should include an offsite component, eheth

  13. Continued…
    Whether that is backing up to the cloud or to another location (via the Internet or creating a backup and storing the physical drive at a different location)

  14. I used a NAS drive for a while but found the performance to be too slow, (setup as raid 5 with 3 disks), if you want security on a NAS that cripples a lot of the lower end NAS boxes to a crawl.

    I’ve now setup a Raid 5 array on my home PC (which I’m happy to leave on as its my webserver too) and that raid5 is encrypted using diskcrytor (free) and there is no noticeable performance hit. Security wise is good too. as its using windows users / security.

    I just found the lower end NAS boxes to be too low when transferring large data, such as 6gb HD movies (especially if I want the data encrypted on the NAS)

    just my thoughts!

  15. I used a NAS drive for a while but found the performance to be too slow, (setup as raid 5 with 3 disks), if you want data encryption on a NAS that cripples a lot of the lower end NAS boxes to a crawl.

    I’ve now setup a Raid 5 array on my home PC (which I’m happy to leave on as its my webserver too) and that raid5 is encrypted using diskcrytor (free) and there is no noticeable performance hit. Security wise is good too. as its using windows users / security.

    I just found the lower end NAS boxes to be too low when transferring large data, such as 6gb HD movies (especially if I want the data encrypted on the NAS)

    just my thoughts!

  16. The main advantage of a NAS for me is that by having it in a completely different part of the house, in the unlikely event of a fire or flood there is a much higher probability that either the computer or the NAS would survive.

  17. I found the best backup solution is as follows:
    – Internal hard disk in your PC. This is your live data.
    – Mirror Sync to a USB Desktop HDD or NAS. This will be your primary backup.
    – Mirror Sync to a USB Portable HDD. This will be your secondary backup. KEEP this HDD in the garage or in the shed in a air tight container. Encrypted your sensitive data if requred. And make sure to backup the external HDD every week/month depending on your needs.
    Now you have an immediate backup solution, and an offsite backup solution.
    Also if your house gets burgled or burned down, you have a backup offsite.
    Easy.

  18. NAS has a built-in latency delay; and in addition even a dedicated Gigabit connection limits synchronous speeds to 100MB/sec.
    So NAS is OK for streaming etc, but not as a DASD type option.

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