Most people think that network attached storage (NAS) is just a box with drives in it attached to your local network. In fact, NAS is a computer, minus the monitor and keyboard. As such, it can be incredibly powerful, containing its own CPU and memory.
I recently found another good use for my NAS in setting it up as a Web server to use when I develop websites. I added Apache, PHP, mySQL etc, and several virtual hosts for the various sites. (Yes, there are software solutions such as MAMP and XAMP, but these have conflicts with your mySQL database, if it is already in use.)
So, by having everything on the NAS, it is completely independent of my machine and serves as a more realistic test bed.
The most interesting thing, however, is that I set up my NAS as a DNS server too, allowing me to use my mac’s web browser and type in my development name for each site, such as site1.dev or worksite.dev, while still allowing me access to the internet as a whole. The Synology NAS will forward through to a web based DNS if it is unable to find the requested site locally.
Then, all I had to do was go to network settings on my Macintosh and change the DNS to point at my NAS instead.
I thought that was pretty slick. I can work on development sites as well as continue to surf the web without any changes to my workflow. Very convenient.