In the event you’ve been in search of a method to hold your information secure and safe – whatever the gadget you employ or your location – you’ve probably come throughout Community Connected Storage (NAS).

NAS is a good way of safeguarding and securing your information. It attaches to your workplace or residence community in order that a number of customers on the community can retailer their information in a single place, safely.

A NAS can be utilized to again up computer systems and serve information to gadgets in your native community. It often consists of two or extra hard-drive bays, sufficient CPU energy, RAM, and a Linux-based working system optimized for community storage.

All these parts work collectively in order that the NAS can do its work whereas utilizing much less energy. In contrast to an exterior arduous drive or USB drive, the NAS can provide information redundancy with two or extra arduous drives, and replica the contents of 1 drive routinely over to the opposite.

NAS can be nice for giant media libraries, because it lets you retailer your information in a single location and stream them regionally to different gadgets or media facilities in your location.

All these options and advantages gained’t be helpful with out a NAS working system.

One of the in style NAS OSes is FreeNAS. This information compares a number of the prime FreeNAS alternate options and concludes with the general best choice you should use.


What Is FreeNAS?

Greatest FreeNAS Alternate options

1. OpenMediaVault

2. Rockstor

3. XigmaNAS

4. PetaSAN

5. Amahi

6. Openfiler

7. Nexenta Neighborhood Version

8. SnapRAID

9. ESOS – Enterprise Storage Working System

10. EasyNAS

Wrapping Up

What Is FreeNAS?

FreeNAS is an open-source working system that you would be able to nearly set up on any {hardware} platform for functions of sharing information and information over a community. 

The NAS resolution provides a easy approach of making an simply accessible, centralized place to your information. You should utilize FreeNAS at residence, in your small enterprise, or massive enterprise.

Since 2005, FreeNAS has grown and at this time boasts the largest growth group, hundreds of thousands of downloads, and customers globally.

FreeNAS has options like limitless storage, information snapshots, and help for hot-swapping, RAID, and disk stripping. Along with ZFS, FreeNAS additionally provides encryption, replication, information safety, and file sharing.

The NAS working system covers nearly each information sharing protocol together with NFS and Samba, that means it may work with Home windows, macOS, and Linux working techniques.

Plus, FreeNAS helps integration with Google Cloud and Amazon S3 amongst different cloud storage suppliers out of the field. It additionally helps third-party plugins so you’ll be able to increase the NAS options additional, management Docker containers and digital machines to show FreeNAS right into a server.

A few of the advantages of FreeNAS embody a easy internet person interface, clear cutting-edge options, good help, and common updates. The principle disadvantage is that it’s not constructed for low-powered techniques.

FreeNAS is a well-liked working system for NAS gadgets. Relying in your necessities, you would go together with FreeNAS to your personal NAS gadget, or go for any of the ten FreeNAS alternate options we talk about subsequent.

Greatest FreeNAS Alternate options

FreeNAS is finest for residence customers with a lot of storage and for enterprise customers. Nonetheless, there are different NAS working system options with extra options or higher setups such because the ten picks we’ve listed under.

1. OpenMediaVault

OpenMediaVault is a powerful, open-source, next-generation NAS resolution that was created in 2009 to succeed FreeNAS. 

In contrast to FreeNAS, the OpenMediaVault is predicated on Debian Linux and accommodates companies resembling BitTorrent shopper, DAAP media server, RSync, SMB/CIFS, SSH, (S) FTP and extra.

OpenMediaVault provides a straightforward and easy resolution you should use in your house or small workplace, to put in and administer the answer with out a lot information.

The NAS software program is free to make use of and distribute. You might be certain of its stability due to the energetic growth that comes with month-to-month updates every month.

Some crossover options you’ll discover in OpenMediaVault that you simply’ll discover in FreeNAS embody NFS/Samba file sharing, storage monitoring, and RAID disk administration. Nonetheless, FreeNAS has extra superior options just like the ZFS file system and hot-swapping, which you gained’t get in OpenMediaVault, which is predicated on the ext4 file system.

Plus, you’ll be able to leverage the massive variety of Debian packages accessible on OpenMediaVault. Though it doesn’t provide cloud integration, you’ll be able to add OpenMediaVault via related Debian packages or plugins.

These identical plugins additionally allow you to arrange an online server: Plex media server or BitTorrent shopper. In comparison with FreeNAS that’s not constructed for low-powered techniques, OpenMediaVault provides low system necessities so you’ll be able to run it on Raspberry Pi and different low-powered gadgets with a view to mix it with media software program like Plex.

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Different options you get with OpenMediaVault embody e mail notifications, IPv6 help, web-based administration, Debian package deal administration for straightforward system updates, quantity administration, and Wake On LAN, amongst others.

2. Rockstor


Rockstor is one other good FreeNAS different that’s easy and free to make use of. 

The personal cloud server framework is predicated on CentOS, and makes it simple for purchasers to retailer information effortlessly in their very own NAS distributed storage framework. This fashion, they’ve quick access from any location on the planet.

This distributed framework not solely ensures quick access to your information, but it surely additionally ensures the knowledge is in a safe and sheltered situation. You’ll be able to simply construct and handle your individual Linux and Btrfs-powered superior cloud and NAS storage.

Rockstor additionally provides a cloud server for Small and Midsize companies with tons of of terabytes of capability necessities. You probably have your individual cloud storage, you’ll be able to nonetheless retailer a lot of information whereas switching between the 2 storage choices. Nonetheless, this additionally interprets to a lack of productiveness and inefficiency for your online business.

With Rockstor’s cloud server, you’ll be able to construct your individual personal cloud storage, leverage public, and personal storage, and combine with public cloud storage for decrease working prices and effectivity. It’s also possible to scale storage wants with low incremental prices and also you don’t want any IT expertise to handle the storage.

Rockstor has a user-friendly internet person interface, on-line pool and on-line disk administration, and listing companies resembling snapshot and on-line share administration. 

Like FreeNAS, Rockstor additionally provides file sharing, prompt and environment friendly clones of shares and snapshots, quick and on-line vertical capability scaling, Bitrot safety, file backup with Rsync, Home windows Backup, and Apple Time Machine and a REST API for app builders.

3. XigmaNAS


XigmaNAS is an open-source working system primarily based on FreeBSD. You’ll be able to set up it nearly as you’ll with FreeNAS on any {hardware} platform. This helps with file and information sharing over a pc community.

The NAS OS is easy, quick, and lets you create an easily-accessible and centralized server for a variety of knowledge. Such information can simply be accessed with all types of community protocols whatever the community you employ.

XigmaNAS helps file and information sharing throughout Apple, Home windows, and techniques like UNIX. It additionally provides the ZFS file system that you simply’ll discover in FreeNAS, disk encryption, software program RAID, e mail stories, and S.M.A.R.T amongst others. 

Different related options that XigmaNAS provides embody CIFS/Samba, FTP, AFP, RSync, NFS, CARP, Lively Listing Area Controller, and extra. You’ll be able to set up it on a USB or SSD key, or boot it from a Stay CD/Stay USB.

XigmaNAS is repeatedly up to date with bug fixes, new options, and model upgrades. It additionally will get common growth that’s centered on simplicity and stability. 

All these updates mean you can hold your NAS up to date with the very best working variations and newest requirements.

4. PetaSAN


PetaSAN is one other open-source FreeNAS different that makes use of cloud-based improvements to provide the pliability and talent so that you can scale capability teams by including extra nodes. The dimensions-out SAN association provides large adaptability, execution, scalability, and efficiency.

The answer depends on the Ceph storage engine and is designed to supply clustered iSCSI disks. These extremely accessible disks with a number of entry paths might be recognized utilizing digital IP addresses clustered throughout a number of storage hubs.

Like FreeNAS, the PetaSAN can work from non-Linux techniques or graphical person interfaces utilizing the browser, and there’s a relentless SSH accessible everytime you want a command line.

5. Amahi


Amahi is considerably totally different from FreeNAS, which is NAS-focused because it tries to be greater than a NAS system. It needs to be the one Linux media server working system to your wants.

The NAS OS is predicated round a well known Linux distro known as Fedora, and because of its builders that hold the software program up-to-date with new options, Amahi provides secure releases primarily based on Fedora’s releases.

Amahi makes the administration of residence techniques easy and straightforward to make use of. You should utilize Amahi as a VPN server to your community, flip it right into a backup server to your computer systems, and arrange a neighborhood wiki or calendar for your loved ones.

The OS isn’t technical, and like FreeNAS, it additionally enables you to set up apps that stretch it from media server software program to recreation servers. Amahi additionally helps all customary file sharing protocols resembling NFS and Samba, which you’ll be able to configure simply within the internet interface.

Whereas FreeNAS makes use of the ZFS file system, Amahi makes use of ext4 and XFS, that are typical Fedora file techniques. Different options embody dynamic DNS, simple backups, one-click apps, and disk monitoring.

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You should utilize Amahi to construct your private home server because of its simple arrange and administration. It additionally helps a number of apps like OpenVPN, Plex, Sofa Potato, and extra.

6. Openfiler


Openfiler is an enterprise-level NAS/SAN resolution that converts industry-standard structure techniques into fully-fledged IP storage gateway and NAS/SAN home equipment.

Not solely that, however Openfiler additionally supplies storage admins with a instrument they will use to deal with the demand for storage of their organizations. This fashion, directors can make the most of storage capability and system efficiency in one of the simplest ways doable once they allocate and handle storage in networks with a number of platforms.

Openfiler provides options resembling fiber channel goal help,  block-level replication, which you’ll discover with FreeNAS, and extra. All these help the important thing storage points resembling efficiency, reliability, availability, and scalability.

Like FreeNAS, Openfiler has a variety of storage networking protocols making it a terrific choice for various deployment eventualities resembling storage space networking and NAS.  Openfiler might be downloaded and put in on industry-standard server {hardware} and used to redeploy or breathe new life into beforehand ancillary {hardware} assets.

Openfiler can be helpful for constructing storage gateways for already current SAN/DAS storage techniques. This fashion, Openfiler creates new channels via which you’ll be able to share current storage capability.

Plus, Openfiler provides quick Gigabit and 10 Gigabit Ethernet controllers from Broadcom and Intel, which might be built-in for top bandwidth entry to information through TCP/IP community. 

Like FreeNAS, Openfiler helps RAID, fiber channel controllers, and disk applied sciences. Different options embody CIFS, HTTP, NFS, and FTP protocols, iSCSI goal performance, time limit copy (snapshots), journaled file techniques, block-level distant replication, and extra.

7. Nexenta Neighborhood Version


Nexenta’s Neighborhood Version provides a free NAS resolution with ZFS help, like what FreeNAS supplies, but it surely’s primarily based on Illumos, an open Solaris. This stripped model of Nexenta’s industrial product is accessible for you and also you gained’t want to fret about stability, updates, or help.

You should utilize it with small companies or your private home workplace although with fewer options. Which means that you probably have a big enterprise, you’ll need to get the industrial Nexenta product to entry extra options.

Nexenta lets you hold your storage future-proof. You’ll be able to select the storage you need from its trusted portfolio, and scale up or out, file, block, and object to help all of your purposes.

With Nexenta, you’ll be able to get rid of storage silos, decrease your Opex and Capex whereas lowering future prices, and leverage all-flash, hybrid, and all-HDD choices.

In your surroundings, Nexenta can use software-defined container-converged options in an effort to rethink your software infrastructure, and transfer extra workloads to flash utilizing SDS. It’s also possible to backup and archive your information with wealthy information integrity to guard crucial data from tens of terabytes to multi-PB deployments.

8. SnapRAID


SnapRAID is a FreeNAS different and backup program that shops parity data of your information, and recovers it from disk failures. The NAS working system resolution is appropriate for residence media facilities with a lot of massive information that hardly change.

A few of the options you get from SnapRAID embody:

  • Hashing all of your information to make sure integrity and stop silent corruption
  • Restoration of by chance deleted information in a disk
  • Including disks any time
  • Maintaining information in different disks secure.

SnapRAID was created via the Unix philosophy with the primary design being principled on reliability. This resulted in a straightforward to grasp implementation of the answer. SnapRAID is verified with Clang Static Analyzers, Coverity Scan, and the American Fuzzy Lop fuzzy tester

The answer can be designed primarily based on robustness, which implies it may help any type of downside together with energy downs or kernel panics, and another arduous failure at runtime to maintain your redundancy information secure.

SnapRAID makes use of a RAID library that helps six parity ranges to ship top-notch efficiency. The library design makes use of the TommyDS library of knowledge buildings and is appropriate with the Linux Kernel RAID library. For integrity checks, SnapRAID makes use of SpookyHash and murmur3.

In comparison with different backup choices, SnapRAID solely wants another parity disk to get well the frequent disk failure instances. A full backup permits restoration from an entire failure of the disk array, however this may be preferrred provided that it’s an inexpensive choice to your wants.

Amongst SnapRAID’s strongest advantages is its integrity. It additionally provides silent error administration that’s higher than the Btrfs file techniques, or the ZFS techniques that FreeNAS provides.

9. ESOS – Enterprise Storage Working System


Enterprise Storage Working System (ESOS) was designed for a totally functioning Linux/SCST system that may be deployed simply to new servers. It was additionally designed to be optimized absolutely for SCST and embody needed RAID controller utilities or instruments in order that new volumes might be modified or provisioned simply from contained in the working system.

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Afterward, the ESOS designers thought the subsequent step can be so as to add extremely accessible storage clusters, and included extra options resembling LVM2, DRBD, Linux software program RAID, and a full-featured cluster stack.

ESOS makes use of all kinds of software program tasks resembling SCST, Linux kernel, GRUB, BusyBox, and lots of others. It additionally has a number of proprietary items that you would be able to obtain and set up resembling storcli64, arcconf, percccli64, and others that FreeNAS doesn’t provide.

You’ll be able to boot ESOS from a USB flash drive and cargo all of the directories, information, and binaries amongst others into reminiscence on boot. If the USB flash drive fails, the system will run as regular till the failure of the flash drive is addressed or changed.

ESOS is a unstable system that means the configuration settings and information are synchronized right into a file system. Plus, log information are archived to the USB drive on restart or shutdown or within the occasion {that a} file system grows too massive.

This fashion, ESOS provides a straightforward and reversible improve process. All you do is create a brand new and up to date USB flash drive for ESOS, copy the configurations to it and boot the brand new drive. In the event you get points with the brand new model, you’ll be able to nonetheless boot again into the earlier ESOS USB drive.

Like FreeNAS, the ESOS NAS consists of a sophisticated ZFS storage subsystem. It additionally has two working modes: Debug and Manufacturing, enterprise RAID controller CLI configuration instruments,  NIC bonding, Linux Ethernet bridging help, and a person interface primarily based on textual content (TUI) amongst many different instruments.

10. EasyNAS


EasyNAS is a dependable storage administration system and framework for small or residence workplace setups. As a FreeNAS different, EasyNAS supplies a variety of options that you simply gained’t discover in a industrial but it surely works via the Btrfs system, in comparison with the ZFS file system utilized in FreeNAS.

Plus, EasyNAS additionally makes use of OpenSUSE, and has an online executives interface that appears commonplace and can be utilized or administered by anyone. It arranges the Samba server simply, and in a number of snaps, you’ll be able to have your SMB server working absolutely to server document sharing help in your system.

EasyNAS’ Btrfs options embody: 

  • Including or deleting Btrfs file system and volumes
  • Mounting and scrubbing file system options
  • Compressing file techniques on the go
  • Including or eradicating HD to file system, and SSD optimization.
  • Storage topologies in EasyNAS embody JBO, RAID 0,1, 5, 6 and 10

It additionally helps community protocols just like these in FreeNAS resembling Samba (CIFS), NFS,  FTP, RSync, AFP, and SSH. Extra companies embody internet administration and Radius.

In the event you’re in search of help, EasyNAS provides a discussion board the place you’ll be able to put up your queries, troubleshooting points, complaints, and issues. It’s also possible to e mail the developer and/or submit bug stories.

With EasyNAS, you’ll be able to take pleasure in advantages resembling safe information storage and sharing, a straightforward to make use of internet interface, an all-in-one server, and the flexibility to run on customary PC {hardware} so you should use it with any laptop.

Wrapping Up

Out of the ten NAS working system instruments we’ve listed above, we suggest OpenMediaVault as the very best FreeNAS different. 

Not solely is OpenMediaVault free to make use of, but it surely’s additionally preferrred to be used with low-powered gear, which FreeNAS doesn’t do.

Whereas FreeNAS is helpful to your residence or small enterprise setup, OpenMediaVault can be utilized in residence or small workplaces, and enormous enterprises as properly. 

Plus, OpenMediaVault is a next-generation NAS resolution primarily based on Debian Linux and accommodates companies it’s possible you’ll not discover in FreeNAS. Such companies embody the DAAP media server and BitTorrent shopper. 

The modular design of the OpenMediaVault framework can be enhanced via plugins with out encountering any main points.

OpenMediaVault has a clean interface that works very properly. It’s additionally sooner and lighter in weight than FreeNAS. It’s also possible to use OpenMediaVault for backup, as a file or media server, and to obtain torrents or YouTube information.

In the event you create, use, and handle large quantities of knowledge out of your pill, laptop computer, or laptop, a NAS working resolution is sweet to have along with your NAS gadget. This fashion, you’ll be able to make certain that your information are accessible, secure, and above all, have peace of thoughts.

Writer: Sam ZamanSam loves to write down on know-how & associated stuff. Ecommerce, cell and web advertising equally drive her curiosity. Likes gardening and experimenting with new recipes. An avid reader and completely mad @bout donuts 🙂

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