With the use of digital media such as cameras and video cameras becoming more prevalent, the need for storage options is in greater demand. As little as a few years ago, storing large amounts of data was something done by major corporations, and that was about it. Now, even home computers can use a network storage device to hold their data. Storage devices that connect to a network are often the ideal solution for storing large amounts of data, since they can contain all of the data in a centralized location that can be accessed by other people on the network, or even people on different networks with the correct network storage device. Some common ways to store data on a network today include CD towers, servers, and storage area networks (SAN).

Perhaps the most commonly used network storage device today is the SAN. An SAN is a network of computers, CD towers, or even external hard drives that are connected together to for one big storage area. SANs require a server that can act as a gateway to all of the connected devices, allowing computers that are not part of the network to connect to the various storage areas of the network. This allows for the storage of staggering amounts of data. One of the best points of the SAN is that they can be configured to accept any IP address as a connection, thus allowing users to connect via the internet. Because of the allowance of outside connections, this is the preferred method of storage for applications such as picture sharing, blog and social media sites, and large corporations that have users in all around the world that need to access common data.

An alternative network storage device that can be used in smaller networks is the centralized server. A storage server is a computer that has several large-capacity hard drives installed in it that are then arrayed to be accessed by any other computer on the network. A storage server is commonly used in both NAS and direct attached storage (DAS) storage configurations. Similar in setup to the CD tower, a server installed in a NAS system is used exclusively as storage, with connections going to all of the other computers on the network. In a DAS system, the server is actually a part of the network, meaning it has to have similar operating systems and configurations as all of the other computers in the network. NAS systems are generally the more accepted configurations when using a storage server.

As technology advances, the network storage device has been able to store increasing amounts of data, while expediting the flow of that information throughout entire networks. Whether the need is for a centralized area containing unchanging data, a common hard drive that can be read as well as changed by all users on the network, or a system of devices that can be accessed by users outside of the common network, there is a network storage device designed to fit all needs. This means that there will always be a way to ensure common use of data, no matter how that data is going to be used, increasing efficiency and productivity. In virtually all aspects of life, anything that can make life easier is something that will benefit everyone.