Desktop NAS (network-attached storage) is a device that stores and serves the file-level data of networked computers.
A desktop NAS device is able to store and serve active, archived or backup file data. The device is inexpensive relative to a larger enterprise NAS system, is generally easy to use and to configure, offers basic RAID data protection and provides management capabilities. Some desktop NAS devices also feature light or limited versions of enterprise NAS features such as storage snapshots and replication.
It consists of a hardware device equipped with one or a small number of storage drives, an operating system (OS) and a file system and uses protocols such as Common Internet File System (CIFS) for Windows-based systems, Network File System NFS) for Linux- and Unix-based systems and Apple Filing Protocol (AFP) for Mac OS-based systems. Some NAS devices provide additional protocol support for block-based data access, Web serving and cloud storage access.
A desktop NAS is designed for use by a small business, a home office, or a department, remote office or branch office of a large business. A consumer also might purchase a desktop NAS device to enable household members using networked computers to share a storage system and files.