Network Storage and Direct Storage: The Best Storage Solution for You

Jul 22, 2021
direct attached storage versus network attached storage head

DAS (direct-attached storage) is likely your first foray into external storage, as it can be as simple as a USB flash drive or an external hard drive to an enclosure with RAID. DAS is a fairly basic storage device that is either part of the actual computer or attached directly to it, and is regarded as a low-maintenance and low-cost storage/backup solution. The direct computer connection (USB or Thunderbolt) can offer easy installation and fast data transfer speeds. Because of its straightforward environment, DAS can often be found in small businesses where data only needs to be shared locally and there is little or no IT support to maintain a complex network.


However, DAS offers many shortcomings for businesses looking for flexibility. DAS storage capacity is often fixed, and if storage is not sufficient, it is difficult to implement storage expansion without replacing the drive. On the other hand, if the storage capacity is too big, it can lead to a waste of resources, especially when working with data servers. The other major downside of DAS is that different user groups cannot access data on a DAS as it cannot be managed over a network; this lack of network access also means DAS provides less redundancy capabilities, leading to lower data security.

Benefits of NAS over DAS

NAS (network-attached storage) is a storage system that offers dedicated file serving/sharing through a network. NAS systems are popular amongst SMB because of their ease of installation and operation. Although setup is slightly more complex than a DAS system, NAS systems also require no specialized IT support or maintenance.


A NAS device allows businesses to have one centralized, shared storage system that enables concurrent multi-user access, allowing your employees to easily collaborate over joint development projects. The network aspect of NAS also means the NAS system can be accessed from virtually anywhere in the world, with many NAS products providing numerous security and authentication methods to ensure access security.

Finally, NAS systems provide additional data security by enabling a hybrid cloud approach to data storage and backups. NAS devices can typically integrate with well-known cloud services such as Amazon S3 and Microsoft Azure. Hybrid cloud leverages the convenience of cloud storage while maintaining the security and flexibility of onsite storage. This allows you to keep your most sensitive data secure by storing it on your on-premises NAS and move your less-sensitive data to the cloud, so you can achieve the perfect balance between price, security, and control for your important data.


DAS vs NAS Usage Comparison Chart

Price Low cost solution Costs more than DAS

• Effortless to install (direct connection to server or host)

• Requires minimal maintenance 

• Moderately simple to install (hard drives included for easy installation)

• Requires slight maintenance


• Good speeds but overall limited performance

• DAS offers no advanced features

• More flexible and well-rounded  performance

• NAS offers advanced backup and security features such as failover, replication, and snapshots 


• Single-user local access

• Capacity cannot be easily expanded

• Concurrent multi-user access 

• Storage can be easily scaled using file transfer protocols

Usage Ideal for small businesses that only need local data access and sharing, with minimal IT budget for maintenance and expansion Ideal for SMB who need reliable and cost-effective data storage with the option to quickly expand to meet growing data needs


Buffalo's NAS Solutions

Depending on your environment, choosing DAS and NAS can be boiled down to a matter of price versus value. While DAS can cost less, its lack of expansion flexibility, single-user access, and remote management ultimately reduce its overall value as a storage/backup solution. On the other hand, NAS can be perfect for SMBs and other organizations that require a reliable, flexible, and cost-effective storage/backup system that can be scaled up in order to accommodate for growing data needs.

Buffalo’s acclaimed network attached storage is widely considered the most secure storage on the market, along with personal customer service and 24/7 North America-based support. With nuanced security features such as drive encryption, snapshots, and a closed system, as well as iSCSI support and partially-populated drive units, Buffalo prides itself in providing flexible data storage solutions that offer the security, stability, and simplicity you need so you can manage your data with peace of mind. Responsible for many industry firsts and technology standards, Buffalo has four decades of networking and computer peripheral manufacturing and design experience.

Responsible for many industry firsts and technology standards, Buffalo has four decades of networking and computer peripheral manufacturing and design experience.