Difference between NAS and SAN in Computer Network


NAS stands for Network Attached Storage. It is storage devices that are linked to a network and provide file access services to computer systems. These devices generally include an engine that executes the file services and one or more devices on which data is stored. NAS uses file access protocols, including NFS or CIFS.

NAS provides good access controls and security to support collaboration while also enabling someone who is not an IT professional to administer and manage access to the data via an on-board web server.

It is created for those network systems, which can be processing thousands of operations per minute. It provides the storage appliance for the organization, which requires a reliable network system. It is more efficient than the file servers and more flexible than the external disks.


SAN stands for Storage Area Network. A SAN is a network of storage devices that can be accessed by multiple servers or computers, providing a shared pool of storage space. Each computer on the network can access storage on the SAN as though they were local disks connected directly to the computer.

A SAN is a flexible way to deliver shared storage for a number of users in demanding applications, like video editing or multiple application servers. By joining together, the clients, SAN server, and storage on a Fibre Channel network, the SAN volumes appear and perform as if they were a directly connected hard drive.

The major benefit of SAN is its capability to transfer huge data blocks. This is very beneficial for bandwidth-intensive applications including imaging, database (cloud computing, virtual environments), and transaction processing.

SAN provides complete reliability and 24/7 availability of information. SAN is defined as the enterprise area because a huge investment is needed for its design, development, and deployment.


The major differences between NAS and SAN are as follows −

NAS stands for Network Attached Storage.SAN stands for Storage Area Network.
It can connect directly to an Ethernet network. It can use several protocols to connect with servers, including NFS, SMB/CIFS, and HTTPIt can use SCSI protocol to communicate with servers.
It is typically used in homes and small to medium-sized businesses.It is typically used in professional and enterprise environments.
It is less expensiveIt is more expensive.
It is susceptible to network bottlenecksIt is not affected by network traffic bottlenecks. Simultaneous access to the cache, benefiting applications such as video editing.
It requires no architectural changesIt requires architectural changes
It does not work with virtualizationIt can work with virtualization

Updated on: 05-May-2021


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