File Server VS NAS


macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 15, 2013
Canada eh?
Hello All,

I currently have a file server that i use to backup all my media aka TV Show, Movies, Picture and software. I have plex installed on it to stream all my media.

I have a mumble server and I host a website from the file server.

I have been thinking about a NAS for a while now just for my media and just use the file server for mumble, website hosting and saving my software. Also will use it for backups

I guess i just don't completely understand NAS as much as i would like.

Can someone please explain the benefits of a NAS and how it works. Do I really need this?



macrumors 68040
Jan 13, 2011
NAS is just a small computer inside a drive enclosure. Ordinary consumer models run a tiny Linux on either an ARM or Intel Atom CPU.
Main benefit (compared to running a full-size computer) - small form factor & power consumption. More function-oriented UI, generally Web-based.


macrumors 6502
Jan 6, 2012
Yeah, what priitv8 said.

NAS = Network Attached Storage, so a file server *is* NAS, even though it isn't generally marketed as "a" NAS like an off the shelf solution.

It really is just a matter of whether you want to buy an off the shelf solution or roll your own. Depends on what you're trying to do and how you'd like to accomplish it.

For my own home use, I'm happy with an off the shelf solution as all I need is basic storage and speed, and I like the lower power and ease of management.

At work, I use more advanced FOSS solutions to roll our own with advanced features, like MPIO iSCSI, etc...


macrumors 6502a
Jul 23, 2008
I run a computer with Ubuntu that has 18TB and run Plex on that. I prefer it because I get full USB 3.0 and have it in a RAID 5 configuration. This is a stripe data which means if one drive fails, I put a new drive in and everything is fine. This allows for most storage but keeping data safe.

I backup the server to CrashPlan so we don't lose our 7TB of media.

I prefer Ubuntu to a NAS storage because it is a full computer and has the power I want yet is power efficient. We picked an i3 that is rated at 25W (i.e. MBA level power consumption).

I also enjoy my remote access.

I don't want the NAS software to limit what I want to do. I prefer having a full Linux OS.
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