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  • What is a DAS Device and How Does it Compare to Other Storage Options?

When it comes to adding more storage capacity to a computer network, many administrators immediately opt for a network-attached storage (NAS) device. They're so popular that they've become synonymous with network-based storage - but they're not the only option. In fact, direct-attached storage, or DAS, might even be a better choice.

What is a DAS?
A DAS device is similar to the standard NAS device that we've all come to know and love - but there are some key differences to be aware of.

Perhaps the biggest difference is the fact that a DAS device is attached directly to the computer that's accessing it - hence the name. In many scenarios, especially those involving small and medium-sized businesses, the DAS is actually connected to a server system. This setup still accommodates many different users, all of whom are still able to connect to the server - and, ultimately, the files stored on the DAS - through their own, network-connected device.

Finding the DAS That's Right For You
One of the biggest advantages of this comes down to overhead costs. As a small or medium-sized business, it's important to minimize your expenses as much as possible - especially when you're still in the startup phase. As such, a DAS device is typically more affordable than a full-scale NAS.

Moreover, DAS devices can be installed within a PC or server, just like an internal hard drive, or it can be housed in an external enclosure or appliance - just like external hard drives. Instead of using a router, hub, or switch, DAS setups connect to the system via the host bus adapter, or HBA, interface.

Because it maintains your files outside of a traditional network, a DAS doesn't consume bandwidth or other network resources like a traditional NAS. Not only does this provide versatility in the way of operating environments and hardware, but it also protects your company's files from many of the hazards associated with live, real-time network storage.

Additionally, most DAS devices support RAID functionality for data redundancy and even greater data protection across the board. With so much emphasis being placed on data backup and archival in the 21st century, more users are embracing RAID than ever before. Thankfully, these users won't have to worry about transitioning to a new backup protocol or switching hardware - they'll be able to enjoy all the benefits and advantages of their existing RAID setup.

Making the Most of Your DAS Setup
In its simplest form, the factory-installed hard drive that's currently in your PC or laptop is considered a DAS device. During the earliest days of computing, DAS was the only method for adding more storage capacity to your system. In fact, the term DAS wasn't even coined until it came to differentiate between devices that are directly attached to a system and those that are attached via network connection.

But DAS systems can become much more complicated - especially when you're setting one up for a small or medium-sized enterprise. In this case, you can take advantage of the latest in data storage technically, including solid-state or hybrid drives, in order to make the most out of your DAS setup.

You may read more about DAS devices in Wikipedia: Direct-attached storage.

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I`m an IT professional who has worked from home for over a decade. Early on in my career, I configured an HP ProLiant Server (Raid 1+0) as a workstation that I would remote into from my laptop. As technology evolved, I began to use it only for email and as a config file repository.

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