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FreeNAS takes our Bossie for best open source NAS server. FreeNAS is far and away the most mature open source NAS platform, built on a FreeBSD base and backed by an active community. Providing CIFS, NFS, FTP, iSCSI, RSYNC, and AFP (Apple File Protocol) support, not to mention software RAID 0, 1, and 5, FreeNAS covers just about all the bases for storage, and wraps them in an attractive Web management interface. To get in this game, all you need is a server and some disk. Even better, FreeNAS can be easily installed on a Compact Flash drive or a USB key, so none of the core OS actually lives on the storage drives, thus making it far less vulnerable to hardware failure. Its performance is dependent on the hardware used, and it’s not likely to beat an EqualLogic iSCSI SAN in a head-to-head, but for free it can’t be beat.
Read about all Bossie awards here
I built a 1.3TB freeNAS box a while back. I used 4 x 250GB drives in one array, and 3 x 120GB drives in the 2nd array, with an old 80GB for the freeNAS OS.
The case and IDE controller card was purchased for the project, but the PSU, mobo etc, and all the drives were stuff I had laying around.
It’s an old Gigabyte board with an AMD Athlon XP 2600+ running at 1919 MHz, plus 1.5GB of RAM (which is stupid over-powered for a freeNAS box, but hey, it was left over stuff). On the upside, the system is *never* sweating for CPU power. It’s got a built in 10/100 NIC. There’s a video card in there, but only because the thing won’t boot w/out a video card in the slot.
The OS is freeNAS 0.684b, which I’m pretty happy with. This thread isn’t about setting it up, but that’s not really hard to do. If this board would have booted off USB (which I just could NOT get it to do) the freeNAS OS would have been running of a 64MB USB flash drive I had lying about. Since the thing wouldn’t boot of USB, I threw in an 80GB drive and ran the OS off that.
Roughly 34MB of the drive is in use, lol….
Anyway. I stuffed 1.3TB of drives in there, and then created 2 separate RAID 5 arrays. The reason for that is that freeNAS can use different size drives in one array, but it’ll pick the smallest to set the stripe size with, and you end up with 7 x 120GB drives instead of 3 120′s and 4 250′s (because it pretends the 250′s are 120′s, which is a huge waste).
Have you seen the “FreeNAS, how it works” video?
FreeNAS Week – day 1: System and Skill Requirements
FreeNAS Week – day 2: Installation HowTo
FreeNAS Week – day 3: Basic Configuration
FreeNAS Week – day 4: Configuring Disks
FreeNAS Week – day 5: Windows Shares
FreeNAS Week – day 6: Setting up FTP access in FreeNAS
FreeNAS is an open source operating system exclusively built to serve the purposes of implementing a small Network Attached Storage (NAS for short) device. NAS devices allow for centralization of data, data backup, and collaboration. The beautiful part, besides it’s being free, is the ease in setting it all up.
At TTU we have begun using a FreeNAS server for organizing all of our files that are commonly used throughout our department. One of the issues that kept coming up within our department was versioning control (people using different versions of the same document). We were also struggling to keep all of our files that we commonly shared in one central location. It was not uncommon for one person to go on vacation and inadvertently lock us out of accessing documents that we all needed access. FreeNAS allows one central location for all of these solutions. FreeNAS’s features really shine in its versatility. With FreeNAS, one can connect to the NAS as a shared network drive, an ftp server, and many other useful methods that meet a wide variety of operating systems needs. With FreeNAS we can insure proper backup either by using a hardware RAID or the built in software RAID.
As one can already see the possibilities for education are pretty varied and wide. It for one can offer life to legacy hardware by turning older machines with lower power processors into centers for data management. A NAS does not need the heavy computing power that many other services need. FreeNAS can also be fun from a usb drive or compact flash drive further reducing its footprint. FreeNAS offers efficiency and access to files from either work, home, or abroad. It offers a method for sharing files that would other wise have to be handed off physically or broken into chunks and sent through email. It also gives schools the opportunity to centralize their documentation and backup. When combined with backup software one can greatly decrease the likelihood of data loss due to hardware failure. It also offers integration with LDAP and local user authentication and restriction control. All in all the software provides another free and easy to configure alternative to expensive projects.
This is a review by rschapman. Bold by me.