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NAS stands for Network Attached Server and a NAS hard drive is one that sits in a computer on a home or office network. The computer with the NAS hard drive is set up with its own network address rather than being attached to the main computer serving a network's users. The main file server takes care of all requests and relays messages to the NAS server, as needed. This allows both the applications and files to be served faster because they are not competing for the same processor resources.
Network-attached storage can be a single NAS hard drive, or be part of a multi-drive RAID array, and requires special software to integrate with the network. Usually, an NAS server also serves as a print server, allowing multiple machines on a network to use one printer.
NAS hard drives and servers used to be a serious and expensive business application. But today, it's possible to build an NAS hard drive and network for your home network or office at a reasonable price.
Bottom line: An NAS hard drive and server can really help if you are trying to create a central file server to be accessed by an entire home or office network.