Both NAS and DAS provide network storage solutions. Some users want to know the difference between NAS and DAS and which one to choose. Now, read this post from MiniTool to get the details about NAS vs DAS.
It is very important to have an efficient, safe, and reliable data storage method and maintain an appropriate backup strategy. Many users prefer to use cloud storage, storage area network (SAN), network-attached storage (NAS), or use direct-attached storage (DAS). Today I want to focus on the difference between using NAS and DAS.
Overview of NAS, DAS, and SAN
There are 3 main data storage systems – direct-attached storage (DAS), network-attached storage (NAS), and storage area networks (SAN). The following is the overview of them respectively.
What Is NAS
NAS (network-attached storage) device is an external enclosure for storing large amounts of data, taking advantage of the performance and failover advantages of RAID, and can be used for real-time access and backup. The NAS device is connected to the local area network and is used to share data among different users connected to the local area network.
NAS system has its file system, which is set up through the correct NAS configuration and does not depend on the operating system of the computer to which it is connected. This type of network requires a medium to connect multiple computers. File sharing protocols such as NFS, AFP, or CIFS provide access to files on the network.
What Is DAS
DAS (direct-attached storage) is a device that connects to a PC in the same way as an external hard drive—it can be ATA, SATA, SAS, USB, FireWire, or Thunderbolt. Any DAS unit uses a file system that the host PC can provide drivers for. The file system of the DAS is defined and controlled by the operating system of the PC connected to the DAS.
DAS provides direct access to one or more sectors of its disk, just like an internal hard disk.
What Is SAN
SAN (storage area network) is a dedicated high-performance storage system used to transfer block-level data between servers and storage devices. SAN is usually used in data centers, enterprises, or virtual computing environments. SAN storage is a complex option designed to support complex mission-critical applications.
This post is about SAN vs NAS. You can know the difference between SAN and NAS. Besides, you can know which one to choose and how to back up to NAS.
NAS vs DAS
We have introduced basic information about NAS and DAS. Then, what is the difference between NAS and DAS? Here is a full introduction.
NAS vs DAS: Speed
The first aspect of NAS vs DAS is speed. It seems like DAS is faster than NAS due to connections such as USB and Thunderbolt that allow huge direct performance benchmarks of hundreds/gigabytes per second (MB/s).
However, the NAS system is usually connected via a gigabit network Ethernet, and in the lowest state, it can only provide about 100 and 109 megabytes/sec. Although the single standard Ethernet connection on the NAS can only provide speeds over 100 Mbytes/sec, this can be doubled or quadrupled by using link aggregation available on many affordable NAS systems.
The network interface itself can be upgraded from 1Gbe LAN/Ethernet to 2.5Gbe, 10Ge, and higher through very affordable upgrade cards and adapters, which means that the NAS can perform several gigabytes per second and can be shared by multiple users at the same time.
Thus, the speed of NAS is still much slower than DAS.
NAS vs DAS: Complexity and Difficulty
The second aspect of NAS vs DAS is complexity and difficulty. There is no doubt that DAS is easier to use than NAS. USB drives and even enclosures equipped with RAID are almost completely plug-and-play when directly connected to a Windows PC or Mac system. The feature is very simple.
However, when creating a semi-automated or fully automated backup strategy and easily sharing large files with remote users, the DAS solution requires multiple additional third-party software or includes a third-party cloud platform integrated into the software environment. As for NAS, after the initial setup, you can share files safely, securely, and easily.
NAS vs DAS: Price and Value
Compared to similar NAS systems with similar terabytes of storage and scale, DAS has a simpler and more diverse range of external drives and a smaller overall cost. Therefore, the price of DAS storage is more suitable for home users.
However, as far as value is concerned, NAS is the better choice. This is because of the features and functions available in NAS, with dedicated backup tools, integrated software, manageable application GUI and web browser, and huge compared with external DAS drives. NAS deployment is fluid and customizable.
Besides, due to most operating systems that support mapped network drives, real-time synchronization software, and iSCSI and the local file system/file manager can still be used to connect and access the NAS, NAS is more worthy.
NAS vs DAS: Pros and Cons
The following are the pros and cons of NAS and DAS.
- This storage is shareable.
- This storage is scalable in terms of capacity and performance.
- It provides advanced features such as thin provisioning, replication, and snapshots.
- It abstracts storage management from the server.
- It can be expensive.
- A cheaper option than NAS and SAN.
- It cannot be shared.
- It is not scalable.
- It does not have the performance of NAS solutions.
- It does not provide advanced features such as remote replication and snapshots.
NAS vs DAS: Which One to Choose
After learning information about NAS vs DAS in the aspect of speed, complexity & difficulty, price & value, pros & cons, you may wonder which to choose. The following are their adaptive situations.
Why Choose NAS
NAS drives are designed to allow you to update, access, and transfer files more freely. Since the NAS is connected to the network, you can access the NAS drive without a physical connection. This means wireless freedom-NAS is becoming more and more popular in the generation of smartphones, tablets, and wireless media.
If you are a multi-user family or do not want to physically bind to a device, the NAS drive allows wireless connections through multiple devices at the same time. Expandable NAS drives give you the option to add more hard drives to the NAS unit. This means that you can easily upgrade storage without having to transfer all content to a new, larger drive. If you run out, just add more storage space.
NAS drives are an excellent choice for media archiving, especially if your home is full of wireless devices such as flat-screen smart TVs and mobile phones. You can simply stream movies, music, and pictures directly from the storage device to your device without using messy wires and cables.
Why Choose DAS
DAS is the most basic storage level. Your file is physically connected to the host. This provides you with many advantages because the content and equipment are easy to access. Compared with NAS, the cost of DAS is often much lower.
DAS drives do not need a network connection, which means that all files and data can be accessed directly from the drive. This can be helpful if you are in a location where you don’t have access to the Internet, are in transit, or protect security and sensitive data.
The DAS drive can be used as a single device as a backup for a computer, video storage for a TV, or a fast file transfer option for secure data.
Although DAS is technically a more basic storage format, it can be inherently more secure. Users do not need to access information through the network, so data that should not be accessed has fewer opportunities to be accessed. This is very important for companies that store critical data or professionals who have access to personal information.
Thus, whether you choose NAS or DAS, it all depends on your actual needs.
How to Back up to NAS
If you choose NAS and want to back up your important data to NAS, there is a piece of professional backup software – MiniTool ShadowMaker to for you to do that. It is a program that can be used to back up the operating systems, disks, partitions, files, and folders. In addition, it is a user-friendly program to protect your computer and data.
MiniTool ShadowMaker supports almost all storage devices that can be recognized by Windows, such as HDD, SSD, USB external disks, Hardware RAID, NAS, Home file server, workstation, and so on.
Now, let’s see how to back up files to NAS:
Step 1: Download and Install MiniTool ShadowMaker
- Download and install MiniTool ShadowMaker.
- Launch MiniTool ShadowMaker and click Keep Trial to continue.
Step 2: Select Backup Source
- Go to the Backup page after you enter its main interface.
- Then click the Source module to choose the backup source.
- Choose Folders and Files and choose the files you want to back up and click OK to save your selection.
Step 3: Select the Backup Destination
- Click the Destination module to continue.
- MiniTool ShadowMaker provides four destination paths for you to choose. You can choose anyone based on your own needs like your NAS device. Here, you need to click the Shared tab. Click the Add new button, and type the path, user name, and password to connect your NAS device. Then, click OK to save your selection
Step 4: Start to Back up
After selecting the backup source and destination, you can click Back up Now to perform the backup task immediately. Or you can click Back up Later to delay the process.
After all of the steps are finished, you have successfully backed up your files to the NAS device. With MiniTool ShadowMaker, you can provide better protection for your computer and keep it safe.
To sum up, this post has introduced information about NAS vs DAS. If you do not know the differences between them and do not know which one is better, the above content may help you.
In addition, if you have any different ideas of NAS vs DAS, you can share them in the comment zone, or please feel free to contact us via email [email protected] and we will reply to you as soon as possible.