What is Network Attached Storage (NAS)?

What is Network Attached Storage (NAS)?

What do you do when you've outgrown your desktop data storage and want shared access to files and media from multiple computers, mobile phones and tablets? For prosumers, creative professionals, small businesses, and families, the solution is a network attached storage (NAS) device, the easiest to set up and most affordable option for shared storage.

Instead of plugging a device directly into your computer via a USB cable, NAS systems are connected to the Ethernet port on your Wifi router or network. This enables multiple computers and mobile devices on a network to wirelessly share and access files, stream video and audio, and backup computers and mobile devices from one central device. A NAS solution is comprised of several elements, including the hardware – one or more hard drives housed in an enclosure, a processor, and RAM – and the software comprised of an Operating System (OS) that manages access and the network connection.

WD offers My Cloud™ NAS solutions that are ideal for home and small business use, available with one, two, or four hard drives dedicated to storage ranging in capacity from 4 TB to 24 TB.

network attached storage

Save all your valuable photos, videos, music and files on a NAS device for secure access anytime, anywhere.

increased network storage capacity

Easily swap in larger drives to increase storage capacity to 24 TB and beyond.

What You Need to Know about NAS Storage

NAS systems are available in many different sizes; they act as a family's central media hub and scale up to the largest datacenters. NAS systems can be offered preconfigured with drives or an unpopulated enclosure with open bays where hard-disk drives can be inserted to add to the total storage capacity or replace drives.

Network storage systems are useful in multiple operating system environments, letting several devices access files regardless of their OS. Normally NAS operates on IP/TCP Ethernet networks and easily provide controlled access to your data over Wifi and the Internet.

NAS devices with more than one hard drive often have RAID capabilities for data redundancy and are the most reliable backup solution. RAID stands for “Redundant Array of Independent Disks” and with this feature enabled your data is duplicated across multiple hard drives; if something were to go wrong with one drive you can simply replace it and your content would repopulate the new drive automatically.

What are the benefits of Network Attached Storage (NAS)?

Since NAS systems can store, manage and access content locally or remotely from all your devices – NAS is a secure personal cloud for your data and is the best solution for users who are looking for:

  • Affordable large storage capacity, My Cloud has no monthly fees
  • Easy to set up and configure, uses standard Ethernet connection
  • Remote access and streaming of all your content
  • File sharing across multiple devices
  • Backup multiple computers within your network automatically
  • Multi-bay NAS drives provide hard-drive RAID redundancy to protect your data
  • Set up user permissions, folder privileges and restrict access to documents

benefits of Network Attached Storage

NAS solutions keep your data safe at home without monthly fees.

How to choose the best network attached storage solution for you

choosing a nas solution

Which NAS solution is right for you? Choose from various capacities, drive bay configurations, advanced features and more.

Understanding your storage needs can help you select the best network attached storage solution for your family, home office, or small business. Ask yourself:

What are my storage needs now? In the future?
When making a NAS system decision, consider not only today's needs but what your storage demands look like 6, 12, and 24 months out. It may be more cost effective to consider an expandable option.

What do I want to store?
NAS systems can be the right solution for needs both small and large, from home media libraries to multi-user small businesses. The right solution is a balance between storage capacity, number of users, and cost.

Is this my first NAS? How much support will I want with setup?
WD provides support during setup with WD Concierge service. In addition, our website has extensive support resources, including an online Learning Center with detailed lessons and videos.

How important is storage performance? What's my budget?
Like PCs, NAS units perform better with faster processors and increased memory. The better the processor and the more installed memory, the higher the performance. Single-drive NAS devices can cost less than $200 and robust small business options are available under $2,000.

How many people need access?
One thing to be aware of is that NAS solutions are limited in the number of users or devices that can access them at the same time; be aware of the connectivity limitations when making a decision about which system is best for you.

How important is data redundancy? Can I afford a drive failure?
NAS products can have sophisticated management options to configure redundancy (RAID), as well as built-in monitoring system that can alert you of impending drive failure and other problems. If your data is important, you'll want to consider a device with two or more drives with RAID integration.

WD My Cloud Network Attached Storage (NAS) Solutions

WD offers a suite of ready-to-go network attached storage (NAS) solutions with a full suite of My Cloud devices that address the increasing demands for content storage, management, protection, and streaming.

I Need…

NAS for my Home

My Cloud & My Cloud Mirror are the perfect solutions for home users looking for personal cloud storage. This easy to set up and use device lets you back up and store family photos, videos, and music collections in one central place… accessible from computers, mobile devices and tablets.

Personal Cloud Storage

Save everything in one place and access it from anywhere from your computer, tablet or smartphone.

I Need…

NAS for Prosumers & Creatives

My Cloud Expert Series is a NAS for expert users with large files and a need to keep them safe. The My Cloud Expert Series was designed with best-in-class read/write speeds, including HD media streaming with up to 24 TB in a single box.

NAS Expert Series

My Cloud Expert Series: Powerful, ready-to-go NAS for your high-performance life.

I Need…

NAS for my Small Business

My Cloud Business Series is small business NAS devices with hardware, software and storage that offers reliability, security and scalability small business customers demand. Powered by Intel® Atom™ dual-core processors with up to 24 TB of storage capacity.

NAS Small Business

My Cloud Business Series: Ultra-reliable, business-class NAS built and backed by WD.

I Need…

NAS Hard Drives

WD Red hard drives are award-winning NAS drives with an optimized set of features and exclusive NASware technology built into every WD Red™ hard drive; this improves NAS storage performance by reducing common hard drive concerns like compatibility, integration, upgradeability, reliability, and cost-of-ownership that are experienced with a hard drive designed for desktop computers. All pre-populated My Cloud products include WD Red hard drives.

NAS Hard Drives

WD Red hard drives are specifically engineered for use in NAS devices.

I Need…

NAS for Media Libraries

The The Plex application that can be installed on the My Cloud OS organizes your entire collection of music and movies with one simple interface. Plex automatically includes content descriptions, plot summaries, posters and album covers before streaming to other devices within your home.

Media Libraries

Your media hub: Organize your videos, photos and music on your NAS into a beautiful media library with Plex.

WD My Cloud NAS Operating System Overview

My Cloud OS delivers a suite of tools and apps that empower you to easily take control of the content that matters to you most. From setting up the device to file sharing and collaboration, the Linux-based My Cloud OS makes setting up and using a NAS solution easier than you expect.

Get up and running in minutes with the intuitive, web-guided setup. WD's software will auto-detect your drive to get you going quickly. The web-based interface enables easy file sharing, access management, and a beautiful photo gallery view. During setup, easily and quickly move all your files to your My Cloud device. Start, pause and stop file transfers for a rich management experience. With a mycloud.com account and the suite of mobile applications, you get access to your My Cloud device that is safe at home, from anywhere in the world.

Learn more about WD My Cloud.