3.8
35 reviews
75

FreeNAS


Product Shot 1 The Pros:Free and open-source. Turns a computer into a NAS device. Minimal system requirements.

The Cons:Even basic configuration can be confusing for beginners. Non-standard configuration can be difficult to setup. RAID requires full drives - can't use the drive you install FreeNAS on.

FreeNAS is server software that allows you to turn any computer with a hard drive into a dedicated network-attached storage (NAS) box. It is based off of FreeBSD and is open-source. FreeNAS takes up less than 64 megabytes when installed is is configured via the FreeNAS WebGui, which is accessed by typing in the IP address of the FreeNAS server in any web browser.

Product Shot 2 FreeNAS also can be used as a software RAID. All hardware RAID cards that support FreeBSD are supported by FreeNAS.

Additional Information    

FreeNAS can be installed on a partitioned hard drive (done for you during installation), or on a compact flash (CF) or USB drive. Installation on a seperate drive is recommended, as then additional power and encryption options are avaliable. External USB hard drives, such as MyBooks, can be plugged into a FreeNAS server and shared. FreeNAS requires a monitor and keyboard for inital installation and configuration, however once that is completed no monitor or keyboard is required. Additional and advanced configuration is done via the WebGUI. FreeNAS requires 64 megabytes of RAM for a basic installation, however more (up to 512 mb) is required for RAID configurations. FreeNAS supports SMB/SAMBA/CIFS Windows File Sharing, FTP, NFS, SSH, RSYNC, AFT, and UPnP. It also can be used to encrypt drives on the server.

Feature List    

  • No monitor/keyboard is required after inital installation.
  • Web-browser based configuration
  • Software and some hardware RAID support.
  • USB , Firewire, and CF support.
  • CIFS/SMB/SAMBA, NFS, FTP, SSH, RSYNC, AFT, UPnP networking.
  • Schedueled shutdown and other power saving settings.
  • File encryption.

User Reviews (36)

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75
ProScore
Pros
  • 25

    Free and open-source.

  • 20

    Turns a computer into a NAS device

  • 19

    Minimal system requirements

  • 18

    Supports many network protocols.

  • 16

    No monitor required

  • 16

    Supports external USB/Firewire drives, as well as Compact Flash.

  • 15

    Can be used as a software RAID

  • 13

    Can act as a media server (UPnP) and an iTunes server

  • 7

    Acts as torrent box

  • 4

    Hosts simple local websites

  • 3

    ZFS file system provides error correction for disk data.

Cons
  • 7

    Even basic configuration can be confusing for beginners.

  • 7

    Non-standard configuration can be difficult to setup.

  • 7

    RAID requires full drives - can't use the drive you install FreeNAS on

  • 5

    Not all hardware RAID's are supported.

  • 5

    Doesn't support Writing in NTFS (Only read)

  • 5

    Does not act, as a LAMP/WAMP Server.

  • 4

    energy inefficient compared to dedicated NAS commercial offerings

  • 4

    Documentation is neither up-to-date nor complete.

Comments (5)

What's on your mind? See more ProductWiki Talk
Hammerer
Hammerer: #freenas Love the system because of its simplicity and small economic footprint. But it can be infuriatingly difficult and obscure, particularly for Windows/Mac users as the documentation is so incomplete.

There are many pitfalls like these examples when booting from CD and storing the configuration on a USB flash drive or floppy disk:
- the USB stick/floppy disk must be in the first USB port/floppy drive as FreeNAS won't look any further.
- don't insert the USB stick before powering up to install as files will be installed to it that will prevent FreeNAS storing the configuration file containing your changes. Jan 11, 10
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Hari Raju
Hari Raju: #freenas Great and easy default installation. A few clicks gets you a network backup solution, a torrent box, Windows file sharing, and a media server. You just need to understand the terminology used in the interface; once you understand what all the acronyms mean, it's dead easy! May 13, 09
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dialupinternetuser
dialupinternetuser: #freenas Yeah, I tried setting a password on my SMB share and had to delete the share, disable SMB, renable, and use no password to get it to work. But right now it's great. The only thing you can't use it as is a LAMP/WAMP server. Mar 11, 08
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Erik
Erik: #freenas

I think the appeal for this technology is that it allows you to "recycle" some old hardware you have lying around. Instead of having that old comp gather dust, turn it into a NAS device for tasks like backups and media storage/streaming. For example, you can couple this with your XBMC setup using uPnP.

It has a very small footprint once installed - 32 MB in its own partition, or even on a USB drive. I don't think this is for the feint of heart, however. Things can get complicated pretty quick.

Mar 11, 08
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GT-D
GT-D: #freenas hmm - sounds good, were I not using my server comp for more then just storage I'd be all over this. Mar 11, 08
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