Open Source

FreeNAS: Open Source Network Storage (At a Glance)


What’s the simplest way to create network-based centralized storage? Buy a NAS appliance and hook it to your network. But what if, there was an open-source software (downloaded more than 5 million times) that enables you to build your own feature-rich NAS using commodity hardware, without hardware lock-in and without license costs?

Welcome FreeNAS.

FreeNAS, a cross-platform NAS application for home users, small businesses and enterprises, can be installed on/supports data in multiple operating systems and virtual machines. A full-fledged GUI (Graphical User Interface) provides easy set-up and administration. However, for developing your own plugins and other advanced tasks, knowledge of FreeBSD maybe required.

What are the defining features of FreeNAS? Why should you migrate to FreeNAS?

  1. Replication syncs and creates a duplicate of your backup to another system, over LAN or WAN.
  2. Incremental backup and Deduplication for optimal network/storage space utilization.
  3. Snapshots reverts the system to any point before the current state.
  4. Up to 3 disks can fail simultaneously without loss of data.
  5. Full-disk encryption prevents intruders from making sense of stored data, and safe disposal.
  6. Plugins extend NAS functionality to provide services like P2P bit-torrent, media streaming, etc.
  7. Graphs & email notification for monitoring the performance of the NAS.
  8. FreeNAS supports iSCSI, NFS in addition to SMB, CIFS, AFP, FTP.
  9. Integrates with enterprise directories – Active Directory & LDAP.
  10. Can be installed and booted from a USB stick/thumb-drive.
  11. Supports migration of data from existing servers using rsync.
  12. Plugins & updates can be installed & managed using GUI.
  13. Runs on x86, x86-64 (preferred) hardware architectures.
  14. Expandable, no storage limitations.
  15. Localized into 20 languages.

If you are still not convinced, iXsystems – the company that develops & maintains FreeNAS – also offers TrueNAS purpose-built appliances with 24×7 commercial support. These units include additional features like active/passive failover, hot-spare/hot-swap for disks, mirrored boot devices, dual-mode head units, flash-based read/write cache, etc.

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