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If an organization already has a central storage array or a storage area network (SAN), it is possible to deploy a NAS gateway as an interface to some of the SAN disk and present it as CIFS or NFS shares. If you do not have or do not plan to implement a SAN but still need central storage capabilities, a NAS appliance is the way to go as it is more scalable than most PC-type file servers. If you only have a requirement to share a small amount of data on the network, a PC-type file server will likely be more cost effective.
This was first published in February 2007