NAS glossary: What does everything mean?



Are you new to NAS and wondering what all these terms and abbreviations mean? We’ve put together a list of popular terms used right here on NAS Master so you can differentiate RAM from a CPU and what separates HDDs from SSDs. Interested to learn more about RAID? Read on!

NAS glossary: Deciphering the jargon


ASUSTOR Data Manager (ADM) is the company’s operating system for branded NAS enclosures. It’s the OS that powers ASUSTOR servers.


The central processing unit (CPU) is responsible for processing all the calculations required by hardware and software to run. The more powerful the CPU, the better performance you can enjoy on your NAS. This is particularly important for picking the best NAS for Plex.


DiskStation Manager (DSM) is the operating system that’s installed on Synology NAS enclosures.


A hard-disk drive (HDD) is a mechanical storage medium that has traditionally been used to store data. It uses a motor to spin metal plates that with the help of magnets is able to store massive amounts of data. I’ve rounded up the best NAS drives if you’re interested.


A local area network (LAN) is often used to describe an internal network. Your home Wi-Fi and wired connections to and from the router would be considered a LAN. Networking beyond your premises would then be under a wide area network (WAN).


Network-attached storage (NAS) is a high-capacity server that utilizes the LAN to connect users and offer services, depending on what apps have been installed. At its core, a NAS enclosure is simply a smart hub with some hard drives for storing data.


A redundant array of inexpensive disks (RAID — what is RAID?) is the formation of a single volume using multiple drives. It’s used to combine multiple drives into a single storage pool, which provides more space without needing additional volumes and can offer levels of data-loss protection.


Random-accessed memory (RAM) is what’s used to store data from a drive for quicker access. Loading anything on a NAS will utilize RAM instead of going back and forth with installed drives. As a general rule of thumb; the more RAM you have, the more you can do simultaneously.


SMB can stand for either small and medium business or server message block. The latter is a protocol that allows data to be transferred between locations.


Small office home office describes locations of work at home and in small-sized offices. Brands market NAS models to said scenarios that have features tailored to file storage and more.


A solid-state drive (SSD) is the evolution of the mechanical HDD. Instead of using moving parts and magnets, SSDs utilize memory modules and electricity to store data. They’re usually more expensive than HDDs due to the more advanced features and rapid transfer speeds. I’ve also rounded up the best SSDs for NAS if you want top performance.


TerraMaster Operating System (TOS) is the software that powers the company’s catalog of NAS enclosures. TOS can also refer to the Terms of Service.

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