SAN technology is similar but distinct from network attached storage (NAS) technology. While SANs traditionally employ low-level network protocols for transfering disk blocks, a NAS device typically works over TCP/IP and can be integrated fairly easily into home computer networks.
The term SAN can sometimes refer to system area networks instead of a storage area network. System area networks are clusters of high performance computers used for distributed processing applications requiring fast local network performance. Storage area networks, on the other, are designed specifically for data management.