NAS vs DAS - What is the difference?

Posted on January 23 2017

This is one of the biggest decisions businesses will need to make when assessing their storage needs.

Hopefully this article can help you to weigh up the Pros and Cons of each and to choose the best method of data storage for your needs.


Two Basic Types of External Storage

There are two simple ways to back up your data to an external hard drive or RAID system:

  • Direct Attached Storage – the external hard drive is attached directly to your Mac, PC or server via USB, eSATA or FireWire etc. It is possible for the drive to be accessed by other machines on the local network as a shared drive, but the main computer needs to be on. Essentially, the drive is just for the computer it is connected to.
  • Network Attached Storagethe external hard drive or RAID system is connected to your local network via an Ethernet router or switch. The drive becomes fully shared on the network, and is accessible by any Mac or PC on the network independently of the others. Most Network Attached Storage (or NAS) drives today are capable of so much more than simple file sharing. They can be used to stream media, host websites, connect surveillance cameras and more.

Advantages of Direct Attached Storage

  • Often faster – ie. if connected via eSATA, miniSAS or Thunderbolt.
  • Simple to set up – most external hard drives are Plug-and-Play.
  • More portable – drives can be easily moved from one computer or location to another.


Advantages of Network Attached Storage

  • Can also be very fast if connected to a fast Gigabit Ethernet network
  • The drive is not tied to one computer
  • Data can be accessed remotely over the internet
  • The NAS can be shared with all computers on a network
  • Functions as a single, central data storage repository
  • Feature packed – surveillance cameras, websites, media streaming + more
  • Can function as a full server if required
  • Will often be more cost effective than multiple drives connected to multiple computers



Please contact the Epowermac Team for advice on choosing a storage system for your home or small business needs.


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