NAS: How does a client access files?

NAS expert Randy Kerns offers advice to a reader who asked: "How does NAS appear to machines accessing files from it?"

How does network attached storage (NAS) appear to machines accessing files from it? Is it visible like mounted volumes or shared folders? A NAS device is really a remote file system that can be communicated with using a protocol such as NFS or CIFS. A local file access is "redirected" to the remote file system (NAS) by using the access protocol, TCP (sometimes UDP) and IP over Ethernet.

The client that is accessing the NAS has to mount the remote file system or establish a share. The file structures in the mounted file system will then be used like a local file system.

This was first published in July 2006