by January 2, 2013 0 comments

NAS4Free is the direct continuation of the original FreeNAS code that was under development from 2005 till 2011 under the name FreeNAS. Post 2011, these two packages were developed separately by two different communities. Like FreeNAS, this one too comes loaded with features like sharing across Windows, Apple, and UNIX-like systems, support for ZFS, software RAID (0,1,5), disk encryption, S.M.A.R.T / email reports, etc. And support for all the protocols like CIFS (samba), FTP, NFS, TFTP, AFP, RSYNC, Unison, iSCSI, UPnP, and Bittorent (initiator and target). All these features can be configured from the software’s Web based interface. This package is an embedded Open Source NAS distribution based on FreeBSD.

With this brief introduction, we now focus on how to use this free software to create a storage server for either your personal use or even for your organization. You can either download the latest edition of NAS4Free from (file name: NAS4Free-x64-LiveCD-, size: 187 MB), or take it from the DVD that went with the December issue of PCQuest.

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Boot your storage server machine using this live ISO image. Once booted, install it using the onscreen option. Once installed, configure its network using ‘Configure Network IP Address’ and get IP address for GUI ( in our case). Use any machine on the same network to access the web based interface of NAS4Free and configure your storage server. The default username is admin, and the password is free4nas.

Creating iSCSI target involves adding disk that would be shared, creating a portal, adding allowed initiators, creating extent and target, and attaching the extent to the target. Once you have done all these steps, you can use the iSCSI initiator application on your Windows to connect to the target.

To add unused disks to Nas4Free, go to ‘Disks>Manage’ and click on ‘+’ to add new disks. Once the disk has been added, go to ‘Services>iSCSI Target’ to configure iSCSI settings. We start by putting a check mark in front of ‘iSCSI Target’. This would start the iSCSI service on NAS4Free. Next click on the ‘Portal’ tab where we keep the default settings and click on ‘Add’ at the bottom. After creating the portal, you need to define which all initiators can access iSCSI targets of your storage server. If the default values are kept, then any initiator can try to connect to your target. Creation of extent and target and then attaching them to each other is done using ‘Target’ tab. While creating extent, you also have to name it (extent1), define the path (/test), and give size (1 GB). For target only setting, what you need to change is under LUN0, select ‘extent1/test’. All the above steps would make your 1 GB storage ready to be attached.

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To use this storage, go to your Windows machine (we used Windows 8) and start iSCSI initiator service. This would open the iSCSI initiator properties window. Under ‘Targets’ tab, put IP address of NAS4Free ( and hit ‘Quick Connect button’. This step would connect your initiator to the iSCSI target. Before you can use this volume, you need to configure it. To do so, go to ‘Volume and Devices’ tab and click on ‘Auto Configure’ button.

Finally to use the storage volume sitting in your NAS4Free, go to ‘Computer Management’ by right clicking ‘Computer’ and then clicking on ‘Manage’. From the interface, go to storage, and you would find the newly attached volume. Simply right click it and start ‘New Sample Volume’ wizard. This would give name and drive letter to this volume. Finally go to Computer and find the freshly attached volume (NAS4Free (D:)).

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