by November 30, 2012 0 comments


This software is actually related to FreeNAS (the one we’ve done a detailed implementation guide on in this issue), which is probably why it has a similar sounding name. In fact, NAS4Free is a direct continuation of efforts that went into developing the original FreeNAS code, which started in 2005 and continued till 2011 by the name FreeNAS. Post 2011, these two packages were developed separately by two different communities. Like FreeNAS, NAS4Free also comes loaded with features like sharing across Windows, Apple, and UNIX-like systems, includes ZFS, software RAID (0,1,5), disk encryption, S.M.A.R.T / email reports etc. It supports all common network storage protocols including CIFS (samba), FTP, NFS, TFTP, AFP, RSYNC, Unison, iSCSI, UPnP, Bittorent (initiator and target). All these features can be configured through the software’s Web interface. The package is an embedded Open Source Network-Attached Storage distribution and is based on FreeBSD.

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The great feature about this storage package is the modular design of its framework, due to which its functionality can be enhanced via plug-ins. OpenMediaVault is based on Debian Linux and contains services like SSH, (S)FTP, SMB/CIFS, DAAP media server, RSync, BitTorrent client and many more. This package is primarily designed to be used in home environments or small home offices, but could find its usage in any setup specifically in test environments. Another aspect of OpenMediaVault is user friendliness. It’s a very simple and easy to use out-of-the-box solution that can be installed by anyone with basic storage related knowledge.

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The difference between the other three storage packages we discussed and this one is that it is a proprietary operating system built by Nexenta Systems on top of the Nexenta Core Platform. The OS is currently distributed as an ISO and VMware disk images with the pricing determined on a per-terabyte and per-server licensing basis.

A “community edition” is available free of charge for users with less than 18 Terabyte of used disk space. It is the same as the enterprise version, except for the lack of paid plugins and commercial support. It can install many of the free and open source plugins that are developed and hosted on the community edition website. NexentaStor is optimized for use in virtualized server environments including NAS, iSCSI, and Fibre Channel applications, and is built around the ZFS file system.

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It features iSCSI support, unlimited incremental backups or ‘snapshots’, snapshot mirroring (replication), block level mirroring (CDP), integrated search within ZFS snapshots and a custom API. Through its focus on ZFS, it carries with it potential benefits for virtualized server farms in terms of performance and thin provisioning.
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