A network-attached storage (NAS) device is a great way to introduce additional storage capacity to an established network. Apart from providing scalability, it can also be utilized for data protection and backup functionality if needed. Regardless of how you use it, it’s important to know the nuances of modern NAS devices. Not only will this knowledge help you understand how your NAS works, but it will help you troubleshoot any potential issues that might arise.
- Increased I/O latency: A system’s overall I/O latency, or input-output speed, is a common problem with some NAS devices. Making the matters even worse is the fact that certain latency issues can be hard to diagnose. This is due to the intermittent process of data transfer that is used.
- Network connectivity: Your system’s network connectivity can be a major bottleneck to performance, too. If you are using a hardwired network connection, make sure that your Ethernet cables are connected firmly to your computer, router, and NAS. When using a wireless connection, ensure that your workstation is within the range of the Wi-Fi signal.
- Driver issues: Most computer hardware comes with specialized software, collectively known as drivers, which help your device communicate with the system. NAS devices are no exception, so it’s important to check with your NAS manufacturer for up-to-date drivers. Keep in mind that any files that are included with the NAS, either on a CD, DVD, or other form of media, might be outdated by the time you need them, so it’s a good idea to check the official website for any downloadable drivers.
- Common drive errors: NAS devices generally use standard hard drives and, as a result, they are still susceptible to many of the same issues that affect modern drives. This includes sudden NAS data loss, mechanical malfunction, damage from power surges, and more. For best results, make sure you are using genuine hardware from well-known and reputable manufacturers.
- Struggling write performance: In some scenarios, particularly those involved the NFS-formatted disks, modern NAS devices could suffer from decreased write performance. In extreme cases, this does have the potential to result in permanent data loss. Advanced users and server administrators have access to a host of different settings and commands to minimize these risks.
- Power supply: As with all electronics, a NAS device’s power supply also has the potential to fail. If you notice excessive heat originating from the power supply, or if you notice any hissing or buzzing noises, you might be experiencing a defective power supply. In this case, the only course of action is to replace the entire power supply unit; a task that’s best left up to the professionals.
As you can see, NAS devices aren’t always as straightforward as they seem. While there are some that work perfectly right out of the box, others require special settings or configurations to boost performance, efficiency, and reliability. While they do offer a lot in the way of system versatility, especially when it comes to scalability and the addition of extra storage space, it’s critical that you understand how modern NAS devices work in order to get the most out of your hardware.