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Connecting a hard drive to NAS

Our NAS expert Randy Kerns answers this question, posed by one of our readers: "How would I take an ordinary hard drive and create a network attached storage (NAS) hard drive instead of buying an external hard drive?"

How would I take an ordinary hard drive and create a network attached storage (NAS) hard drive, instead of buying an external hard drive?
If you're referring to a disk drive that is currently in a server where you want to make it available as a shared network resource, you have to use the server as a 'file server' where you expose that disk as a file system (or it can contain more than one file system) for access by other computers on the network. In the case of Windows, it would be a file share as a drive letter, for example, or if a UNIX system, it would be a mount point. Setting this up as a file system is a relatively straightforward case and is described in the operating system documentation from the vendors.

Using an external hard drive as you mentioned is really no different. You must connect it to a file server that exposes the disk as a file system resource. It is just attached externally.

Probably the simplest solution, however, is to use a NAS system that is a prepackaged appliance that can be quickly connected to your network , does not require server type administration and has fewer opportunities for other software to cause instability. Using a NAS system has significant advantages over trying to use another disk in a server as a file server resource.

This was first published in December 2006

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