Bluesound Node 2 Question: Accessing Stored FLAC files

I am very interested in the Node 2 as a streamer/internet radio source, but I also have a large collection of music I just finished ripping on to my home computer as FLAC files (my cd/lp collection) that I want to access via the Node 2. I am not terribly computer savvy - an old guy who learned slide rule at the dawn of hand held calculators. My files will fit on one of those small, portable, 1TB external SSD drives (like the Samsung Portable SSD T5) with room to spare. Can I set up such a stand-alone external drive as a “NAS server” that can connect to the Node 2 USB input, allowing me to play my stored music with the Node 2 software interface? Is there a simpler way? Is a less simple way preferable? If I must use a network-connected computer and not simply an external drive, I’d prefer a laptop for its smaller footprint (I’ve an unused one I could upgrade with a 1TB drive). I’m hoping you folks can help me invest correctly. I‘d like to do things right on the initial setup.

Thank you for sharing your expertise.
Contact Bluesound directly.
They answer the phone and are very helpful.
I have a Bluesound Node 2.  I currently have it connected over my network to a NAS.  Prior to setting up the NAS I used an external USB drive that contained all my ripped CDs.  It will work using the the USB drive but that is not the optimal setup.  Sound wise it was fine but the indexing of files works differently with USB devices vs NAS.  The USB option was really designed primarily for thumb drives and the occasional situation where you want to play transportable files.  Although the USB connection will work with larger collections of music, the Bluesound will have to re-index the contents of the drive every time you power it on.  Depending upon the size of your collection this could take a very long time at each boot up. will work but not nearly as well as a NAS.  Regarding using your laptop as a NAS: I see no reason why it would not work as long as you can see your laptop music folder on your network I think you can point the Bluesound to it.  It may not be as seamless as dedicated NAS but I think it will work.  I second the recommendation to contact Bluesound support.  They are very helpful.
Thinking it over, I think a Bluesound Vault might be what you are looking for...
Bluesound vault 2 is definitely what you want!
My library of music (flac) is located on an external hard drive attached via USB to my router (Apple AirPort Extreme). Simple and works flawlessly with Bluesound products. I have a Node 2 and two Pulse Flex's. All that is needed is to provide the proper path to the drive in the configuration settings. Indexing is automatic. Here is a guide:

Bluesound support, as mentioned, is fantastic and quick to respond to those in need of help.
And I think somebody did say that indexing takes a long time, not my experience tbh.
sometimes when we have a power out or the internet goes off, the vault needs to re index my library
Takes about 6 minutes for 6000 songs.
I realise many people have much more music than this but I still think that is fairly respectable time.
"And I think somebody did say that indexing takes a long time, not my experience tbh."

The index rebuild occurs only with the Bluesound Node2 when plugging a USB drive directly into the Node.  Apparently this is not an issue if you plug your USB drive directly into the router...or with the Vault since it has it's own hard drive built in.
Thanks to all for the great advice.