NAS hardware is similar to the traditional file server equipped with direct attached storage. However it differs considerably on the software side. The operating system and other software on the NAS unit provides only the functionality of data storage, data access and the management of these functionalities. Use of NAS devices for other purposes (like scientific computations or running database engine) is strongly discouraged. Many vendors also purposely make it hard to develop or install any third-party software on their NAS device by using closed source operating systems and protocol implementations. In other words, NAS devices are server appliances.