The arrow of time

Ivan Voras' blog

FreeNAS vs NAS4free

I've (finally) tried both FreeNAS and NAS4free and I'd like to share some thoughts and experiences. Both of these are "NAS-in-a-box" products intended to be installed on computers with a large number of drives, which they will export to the world in a variety of protocols. Both are based on FreeBSD, both fully support ZFS and they even share a common history.

The tl;dr of this post would be something like "yes, they are similar enough to be interchangable, BUT...", as I actually cannot give a more specific advice. Read on for why.

I tried NAS4free first, because I found a forum post in which the person had a bad experience with FreeNAS and claimed NAS4free was more stable. Since NAS4free is currently based on the latest-and-greatest FreeBSD version (9.1) while FreeNAS uses an older version (8.3), I thought it would be a safer bet, especially since the hardware I'm using it on is a very recent model of IBM x3630, and I know it takes a few months for FreeBSD to get driver support for new revisions of NICs and RAID controllers. (Anti-endorsement: don't buy IBM hardware for anything except Windows. It will save you headache).

This hardware was ordered with a RAID controller based on LSI 2808, supporting RAID5 with 512 MB battery-backed cache memory. Since I have marginally better experience with hardware RAIDs than ZFS's (and since there is no hot-swap-and-rebuild support in FreeBSD's ZFS yet), I've chosen to create a hardware RAID5 pool over 8 of its 3 GB SATA drives, and put it all in a ZFS volume. This server will be used for storing large, infrequently accessed files.

While installing NAS4free I was puzzled about which variant to install - "embedded" or "full" with several subpotions, and I've chosen the default embedded mode, on a USB flash drive, since it looked like the most hands-off. Later I found out it has some good sides and some bad sides. The installation of FreeNAS i more straightforward, with less options to think about but seems more robust.

I found NSD4free's user interface nice enough and, while it took some time to figure out the workflows for common operations, reasonably intuitive. A feature I especially liked (and which is missing in FreeNAS) is the "reminders" when you try to skip a step. For example, to configure an iSCSI target you first need to configure an iSCSI extent and a portal, and NAS4free will guide you "backwards" through the steps if you try to go directly to iSCSI target configuration. However, my opinion of its user interface changed greatly when I saw FreeNAS's interface - which is simply gorgeous.

The basic operations are very similar in both systems. There are GUI dialogs to create ZFS file systems and volumes, which are organized in a hierarchy (FreeNAS uses a literal tree so it presents this hierarchy better), there are services like NFS under which you can create shares, and there are system information and monitoring tools. I've found little difference in functionality between the two, but FreeNAS has significantly better monitoring tools, with built-in graphs in the style of RRD graph tools.

NAS4free, since it uses a newer kernel, has the new NFS code, which together with various improvements in SMP performance in the 9.x series should result in a faster, more stable server. In practice, I can't say I've noticed any difference, especially since the bottleneck is the gigabit network over which the server is used.

My intention was to get a running NAS server as fast as possible and not to make a comparison between NAS4free and FreeNAS. Since I've installed NAS4free first, everything would have stopped with it and this post would not exist, if it weren't for a large problem I've enountered. With NAS4free, using the newer FreeBSD 9.1 kernel, the server was simply unstable under NFS load. It would work fine for 6-8 hours and then simply reboot. Since I used the "embedded" install mode, I couldn't generate crashdumps, and since I didn't directly observe the console while the reboot happened, I can't even tell why it happened. It could be a kernel panic, or it could be something more low-level. The logs were useless for debugging.

So I switched to FreeNAS. Luckily, the compatibility on the level of ZFS is great, so I just re-imported the pool and continued working. I'm still cautious of the server, but it has been running for almost a week without problems, running 24h tests over NFS, so it looks safe to use. Unfortunately, it has an annoying problem (which was also present in NAS4free to a lesser extent): if I mount the USB flash drive read/write, everything slows to a crawl, and the IO "busy" indicator for this drive goes to 100% even though it only generates a couple of IO's per second. Also puzzling, the USB drive cannot be re-mounted read-only after this happens. I don't think this is critical (what I tried to do was customize the system by installing zabbix-agent on it, but it doesn't work that way - startup scripts and config files are lost on reboot anyway).

Ordinarily, I would recommend NAS4free since it uses a newer kernel and has all the basic functionalities that FreeNAS does, but for me, FreeNAS with its older kernel is simply more stable. Adding to this, it has a better user interface and a cleaner design (using sqlite for its database, yay!). But it also has the annoying slow USB access and is much harder to "customize" with additional packages (zabbix-client, in my case... I simply gave up and set up basic SNMP monitoring), so... I can't really say for sure. FreeNAS seems a better choice, kind of.

#1 Re: FreeNAS vs NAS4free

Added on 2013-02-22T23:17 by Matthias1

Did you check out ZFSGuru (http://zfsguru.com/)

#2 Re: FreeNAS vs NAS4free

Added on 2013-02-23T01:04 by Parkview

Been using the latest FreeNAS as a VM on a Dell R720xd: http://www.dell.com/au/business/p/poweredge-r720xd/pd rwith a VMWare 5.1 hypervisor (free version).

So far I have only used NFS sharing and it's working well for the last three weeks.

#3 Re: FreeNAS vs NAS4free

Added on 2013-02-26T13:18 by Frank Wall

I've been using FreeNAS everywhere since iXsystems took over development. And I must admit that it works quite well. Never had a panic or a need to reboot. The only problems were a few broken upgrades to newer versions of FreeNAS.

#4 Re: FreeNAS vs NAS4free

Added on 2013-02-26T18:35 by patrick

Hi replaced freenas for nas4free and i love it.

I think NAS4Free is one of the best free nas software out there.

#5 Re: FreeNAS vs NAS4free

Added on 2013-02-27T00:17 by killermist

I think one thing that you might not be considering is that NAS4Free is based on the mature and well tested FreeNAS7 code, where FreeNAS8 is a completely new creature that abandoned the FreeNAS7 code and good lessons learned.

NAS4Free doesn't try to be anything but a NAS. In fact we try to discourage it.

FreeNAS8, with its plugins, encourages people to add on things that a NAS really shouldn't be doing.

If you'll pop in the IRC channel sometime, we'd likely have someone around to help explain why things in NAS4Free are done how theiy're done. http://webchat.freenode.net/?channels=#nas4free

#6 Re: FreeNAS vs NAS4free

Added on 2013-02-27T00:23 by Ivan Voras

It truly is a case of YMMV - for me, FreeNAS 8 was more stable than NAS4free 9. I installed NAS4free and if it worked, I wouldn't have bothered trying FreeNAS (not because I don't like it, but because I would have had a working system).

I believe there's a greater chance of FreeBSD 9.1 kernel being incompatible with IBM's hardware weirdness than the NAS4free developers did something wrong.

#7 Re: FreeNAS vs NAS4free

Added on 2013-03-04T23:38 by Josh

I'm using FreeNAS myself, but I have tried NAS4Free. While I agree with you killermist that a NAS shouldn't be doing much else except being a NAS, having the option of adding stuff via the jail can be a major plus. With the option of using the jail if I so desire it made it hard to consider sticking with NAS4Free. FreeNAS=option, NAS4Free=no option.

At home, using a jail is something I'd consider a major plus. In a large enterprise environment I'd expect the jail to be far less important.

It seems the developers of both projects are exceptionally well at their jobs. I just wish they worked together so we could have one amazing NAS OS for the masses. I'd love to see FreeNAS on 9.1.

#8 Re: FreeNAS vs NAS4free

Added on 2013-03-05T06:14 by John

I started on NAS4free because FreeNAS 8.1 would not boot for me. I kept NAS4free for a month and then my password stopped working. I know I did not change it, and I find it unlikely that someone was able to change it. I know I did not type it wrong, because both Chrome and Firefox had the password saved. I had already disabled the console, and I did not know how to change the password on the USB drive on another system.

This lead me to try FreeNAS again, which had just released version 8.3. The initial boot time was considerable (5 minutes), but subsequent boot times are reasonable (< 1 minute), so I assume it had some housekeeping to do on the first boot. Since they had the same level of ZFS, I was able to reimport my drives into FreeNAS. I find FreeNAS's interface much nicer than NAS4free. I also like the daily emails FreeNAS sends me. Perhaps that was an option in NAS4free that I missed, but either way I'm happy with FreeNAS. I also exported the FreeNAS configuration to a backup so that I can go back if some other problem arises. This is another option I do not know if NAS4free had, but if it did, then I had not taken advantage of it when the password decided to change.

#9 Re: FreeNAS vs NAS4free

Added on 2013-03-05T14:47 by Isaac

@killermist It's a bit disingenuous to say that NAS4Free tries to stick to just doing stuff a NAS should whilst the plugin/jail in FreeNAS encourages you to do stuff a NAS shouldn't.

For a start, NAS4Free lists in it's features page UPnP/Itunes/torrent/etc which is the sort of stuff people put in a FreeNAS jail. So it's built-in to NAS4Free, whilst the default install of FreeNAS is a much more business oriented system, without these media features. If you do want them you're forced to effectively install a seperate vm jail to run them from in isolation.

#10 Re: FreeNAS vs NAS4free

Added on 2013-04-05T13:34 by Sam

I have no experience with NAS4Free. I tried FreeNAS8 but encountered all sorts of weird read/write errors with large file transfers. So I switched back to FreeNAS7 and it's worked flawlessly for going on 14 months. I recently rebooted the server after nearly 300 days of uptime. Write speeds are fine for me but oddly enough it's the read speeds that seem way too slow for my liking.

#11 Re: FreeNAS vs NAS4free

Added on 2013-04-24T04:48 by jackgh
FreeNAS has a serious bug if you try to enable its Active Directory service. It literally destroyed my Windows 2008 domain controller. This is not an isolated incident. Just Google 'freenas windows 2008 active directory dns' to read about the havoc that this piece of junk has caused to many people.

#12 Re: FreeNAS vs NAS4free

Added on 2013-06-01T13:45 by Frodo

I was a long time user of FreeNAS7 however it had strange kernel crashes. After switching to FreeNAS8 it has been steady as a rock.

FreeNAS7 had plugins. One of the main developers did a Virtualbox plugin which ran fine under FreeNAS7. Dont know anything about NAS4Free.

#13 Re: FreeNAS vs NAS4free

Added on 2013-06-05T04:12 by henrie

I have used FreeNAS 6 till the last version of 0.7.5 with a lot of plessure.

After IX released FreeNAS 8 i did give it ofcourse a try, honestly i was glad to find out that the original FreeNAS has changed his name into NAS4Free and did contenue where they did left with FreeNAS 0.7.5. I think both products has some advantages and disadvantages but i made recent a switched back to NAS4Free again and i'm more than happy to use jails and HAST what now also is supported by NAS4Free.

All i can say, NAS4Free does stay a perfect solution with a lot of options that also is very small in size. Also does it run on way power less systems something i can not say about the new FreeNAS versions.

#14 Re: FreeNAS vs NAS4free

Added on 2013-06-20T09:50 by pb

I have tried adding both NAS4free and free nas as a VM using a ESxi 5.1 but I caanot get transfer speeds of more thana bout 3-4MB/s using Iscsi (created a ZFS pool with 4 X 250GB drives) or NFS. it is running on a HP microserver with 10GB RAM and 2 NIC cards. Is there any specifc way to setup the VM as I followed various documents online but cannot get decent speed to host VM's on.

#15 Re: FreeNAS vs NAS4free

Added on 2013-06-20T20:46 by fracai

The issue with IO when mounting a USB drive may be an IO storm caused by USB3. You should be able to disable USB3 support in your BIOS, or in the FreeNAS web interface. This isn't definite as I thought USB3 was disabled by default in FreeNAS, but perhaps you enabled it without noting this in your comparison.

#16 Re: FreeNAS vs NAS4free

Added on 2013-06-26T15:24 by Daweed

I am very surprised to read that lot's of people have problems withN4F.

I am using N4F since a year as storage / media serveur (i am using FUPPES with Freebox)

I didnt notice any bad event.

I am using Iscsi Target features for 2 other server

Before N4F, i tried FreeNas ... i didnt notice any problems too, but Web interface seems to me to be more clear and easy to practice.

Regarde

#17 Re: FreeNAS vs NAS4free

Added on 2013-06-30T09:25 by Triskkele

FreeNAS up to 0.7.5 and NAS4Free 0.9 : home users

FreeNAS 8 : Small to medium office

#18 Re: FreeNAS vs NAS4free

Added on 2013-07-01T10:59 by H.Pols

I use NAS4Free for some time now, i used freenas 0.7 for a long time.

i think FreeNAS 8 is ok but i like NAS4Free more to my taste.

With fuppes i have also no problems found!, i use it for daily streaming to my onkyo receiver.

#19 Re: FreeNAS vs NAS4free

Added on 2013-07-09T17:03 by vsefer

Does anyone try Openfiler ?

#20 Re: FreeNAS vs NAS4free

Added on 2013-07-11T19:36 by Dr.T

Nas4Free all the way ... I tried FreeNas and it failed miserably .. I kept getting this error about no bootloader found .. turns out FreeNas does not support new hardware. I was basically stuck till I found, I am guessing the post you mentioned where someone advised to try Nas4Free ... I was up and running in 30minutes ... mainly because I had to go to a meeting after I started the install ... been running for a day now ...

The Web UI is not a big deal in my opinion .. given that I don't really log in there that often .. I have setup SNMP traps which report any issues which may arise ...

#21 Re: FreeNAS vs NAS4free

Added on 2013-07-20T02:45 by Fred

I'm using both.

Mine point..

FreeNAS = BIG HARDWARE, LOT OF RAM

NAS4Free = Low end hardware, work good using 1Gb of RAM.

This mine primary pont.

#22 Re: FreeNAS vs NAS4free

Added on 2013-07-26T21:27 by anoncoward

My NAS4Free is also unstable under NFS load. Inherited a SATABeast (aka world's most powerful hand dryer) which will be set up soon, so not testing FreeNAS.

#23 Re: FreeNAS vs NAS4free

Added on 2013-07-28T07:17 by Ian

You say that the developers of both are good at their jobs. What you don't realize tho is that the developers of N4F are the original FreeNAS developers. I started out using FreeNAS6 and upgraded of the years to the more recent releases. Once FreeNAS8 came out, I upgraded to it and my system crashed. Apparently FN8 didn't like the AMD quad-core system I was running or the old 2GB IDE hdd the OS was installed on. As soon as I heard about N4F, I switched to it and my system cam right back up. All I had to do was a minor upgrade to the OS and re-import my config file and everything was back to normal. NFS, SMB/CIFS, Fuppes, all of it. Users switched right over and the change wasn't even noticable until I went to the GUI to check everything. My system is now running on a SeGoN 8GB flash drive with an AMD Fusion board at the heart boasting a whopping 8GB RAM and 6 3TB WDD Reds. Total uptime to date: 7 months, 17 days, 14 hours, 11 minutes and not a single blip. Max usage on the 1GHz CPU: 38%.

#24 Re: FreeNAS vs NAS4free

Added on 2013-07-29T08:35 by Carlos

I begun with freenas 8.3, but in short time it give amount of problems... it give problems installing mysql server, it give more problems installing jails and plugins... finally I change for nas4free and all make easy and in few minutes. Really I dont know why freenas have these amount of problems installing "secondary" software but I am bored of fight with freenas... I hope what n4f will better.

PD: Sorry by my bad english but dont are my natal language...

#25 Re: FreeNAS vs NAS4free

Added on 2013-08-11T16:17 by JamesT

Used freenas7 very successfully for many years and was quite exited to try 8 soon after ixsystems released the first stable build - Unfortunately it seemed a little quirky, slow and I didn't like the interface compared to 7.

Went back to 7 and installed nas4free as soon as I discovered their webpage. I've been using it upgrading through many betas and up to the latest release without a single hiccup, it's been absolutely fantastic.

Maybe I'll try freenas again some day, but currently I have no plans. My current production machine running nas4free is faultless.

#26 Re: FreeNAS vs NAS4free

Added on 2013-08-30T15:09 by robert

Since a few days FreeNAS version 9.1.1 has been released. It would be really nice to see a comparation review of NAS4Free & FreeNAS of both latest editions on the web. However I would like to add, that if you are going to use ZFS (the last word in filesystem development), ECC memory is highly recommended! And if you are also going to make use of ZFS encryption functions, a quite powerful CPU PLUS lots of RAM is required (16-32GB), which alltogether costs a small fortune for any "home" user.

Some good links:

NAS4FREE

NAS4Free Disk Encryption (RAID + UFS / or inside ZFS)
http://wiki.nas4free.org/doku.php?id=documentation:setup_and_user_guide:disk_encryption#add_your_disk_or_create_your_software_raid_array
Encryption and ZFS
http://forums.nas4free.org/viewtopic.php?f=67&t=1248
Encrypting a mirrored ZFS volume
http://forums.nas4free.org/viewtopic.php?f=67&t=4543
Encryption and ZFS II - What is the normal procedure?
http://forums.nas4free.org/viewtopic.php?f=67&t=2165

FREENAS

So you want some hardware suggestions (ZFS + ECC)
http://forums.freenas.org/threads/so-you-want-some-hardware-suggestions.12276/
Casual home use NAS for media and backup
http://forums.freenas.org/threads/casual-home-use-nas-for-media-and-backup.14582/
Small form factor home NAS build, hardware feedback and some questions
http://forums.freenas.org/threads/small-form-factor-home-nas-build-hardware-feedback-and-some-questions.14484/
Freenas with ZFS on a HP MicroServer N40L
http://forums.freenas.org/threads/freenas-with-zfs-on-a-hp-microserver-n40l.14071/
HDD + TLER + RAID + SATA + ZFS
http://forums.freenas.org/threads/6-x-3tb-first-time-build.14264/#post-68703

#27 Re: FreeNAS vs NAS4free

Added on 2013-09-01T14:54 by virtual visior

Thanks for sharing about the freebsd based varients. I am using both these versions in my home. I have found Nas4free's additional services like upnp are very much easier to setup. whereas freenas's zfs configurations are much alike solaris os method of configuration. I found freenas gives more option to configure ZIL and Cache devices which is not stright forward in nas4free.

#28 Re: FreeNAS vs NAS4free

Added on 2013-09-14T00:19 by Andy

Special thanks for sharing your experience

#29 Re: FreeNAS vs NAS4free

Added on 2013-12-05T12:08 by Dave Paxton

I have been using FREENAS V6 on an ancient Compaq workstation (MMX Processsor would you believe) chassis for years ever since it was released without a single glitch with the software.

About a year ago I decided it was common sense to run a backup server and I went back to the FREENAS site to see how things had moved on.

I installed a copy of V8 on some basic workstation kit (but using good disks since I have a thing about reusing older chassis which become available) but in general was not particularily impressed with the install options (I have always run LiveCD), performance or user interface.

I installed NAS4FREE V8 which to be honest feels like no move at all and have been sucessfully running two more backup servers under RSYNCH ever since without problems.

I can only endorse comments like those above which tend to indicate:-

New, high performance kit, business networks probably FREENAS
Older, modest kit, domestic networks, probably NAS4FREE

One interesting point. My old FREENAS V6 LiveCD was incorrectly identifying the embedded NIC on one of my backup server chassis, a problem one has to assume, as a result of the underlying FREEBSD kernel version.
NAS4FREE cured this presumably due to the later FREEBSD release. Just the job!

Can I say at this point congratulations to the NAS4FREE/(old)FREENAS developers, what a superb job you have done. You have made this project one of the leading open source products available today.

In short I love NAS4FREE, after all its just FREENAS, if you know what I mean!!

#30 Re: FreeNAS vs NAS4free

Added on 2013-12-11T15:34 by TheeGooch

I tried FreeNAS 8.x last year without realizing it needed a lot more ram than what I had given it. I switched to Ubuntu and VM's for a while to run the services I needs, but I switched back this year. I must say, FreeNAS 9.1 is a whole heck of a lot better, especially now that I've give it 16gb of RAM instead of 4gb!

Plugins are working great. I miniDLNA and Plex were a breeze to set up, transmission not so much :) . I also tried the hyped up Firefly to stream to my airplay devices, only to find out that Apple broke it with iTunes 10 and later.

I'm adding another vote for virtualbox on FreeNAS, I think that would give the end user the flexibility to fill in missing services if they( like me ) cannot write plugins.

#31 Re: FreeNAS vs NAS4free

Added on 2014-01-04T12:35 by nasman

I personally use both and I have to agree that the UI for FreeNAS is far cleaner with a better workflow. FreeNAS is great if you do not prefer things like DLNA or Transmission, etc, and just looking for a plain NAS. Their recent addition of a more flexable jail system has been personally long awaited and I'm glad to see it make progress even if at it's current build 9.1.1 still suffers some minor bugs but now show stoppers. As for the Plugin system (which is still a jail) they have gone backwards a few steps and hopefully these issues will be ironed out.
What does dissapont me is their desire to progress forward at such a rapid pace has made the FreeNAS my less desirable choice currently. But with FreeNAS's arrival using the 9.1 FBSD Kernel, I suspect that once they Iron out their current issues, I may start putting it to the top of my list more frequently. Until that time, it's just a pretty UI as a core NAS and I avoid the plugin system all together. I also like the way in which FN emails the daily details and will email you if their is a drive issue, whether it's a ZFS or SMART issue.

NAS4Free has run for me Fairly flawless. The only issue I have ever had with it is FUppes locks up my Visio TV, so I just leave this feature of and build the more recent version of miniDLNA that is starting to support Transcoding in a jail using the jail plugin. While it may not be a feature rich interface, it does the job and does it well.
Also NAS4Free current build 9.1.0.1 - Sandstorm still has the VirtualBox plugin which has been priceless and flawless. I run 7 VMs with everything from Windows server, to Fedora and CentOS. This allows me to run one machine to get me everything I personally need that is on all the time. My VM's don't need a ton of horse power, I use them for either building source packages or learning. I have this running on a Tyan Thunder MB with 2x 6-core AMD Opteron 2.6Ghz, 24GB ECC RAM. I have yet to see a load higher than 2 on the system with three people using it and myself compliing software. What I do miss is the IPMI drivers and tools that are in FreeNAS, as Nas4Free does not at this time have these drivers as part of their build, and I getting lazy, I don't want to start builing NAS software to have the features I want.

If FreeNAS was ever to atleast include the Kernel modules for VirtualBox, I would probably work m way back to using it.

#32 Re: FreeNAS vs NAS4free

Added on 2014-01-06T00:38 by Gaucho

OK so I have 4 disks:

2 Hitachis 2Tb each (identical HDs)
1 Seagate 250Gb
1 Samsung 160Gb


Now I'm in doubt HOW to set up the disks. One volume only? No RAID - I thinks this is a no brainer, since the RAID will use the same space as the lesser HD, so no RAID of any kinds here. Right?

I'd like to have the NAS to be used as a backup of everything I have spread in multiple devices (PCs, notebooks, mobiles, touchpads, etc) AND to be a central point of sharing the files.

Performance is NOT a priority. Disk availability and security (on this order) are.

So how should I setup my disks? 4 volumes, each one with 1 HD? But will it have any kind of redundancy? On this setup, can I use 1 2Tb disk + 160Gb disk for storing the files and the other 2Tb as backup of the 1st, and the 250Gb as backup of the 2nd? Or maybe 2 volumes, one with 2.16Tb and the other one with 2.25Tb and use the 2nd one as backup of the first volume?


Also, I think I should NOT setup all those extras features (Scrubs, L2ARC, ZIL, Deduplication, clone), due to the limitations of my system:

motherboard ASRock AS68-UCC
CPU AMD Phenom X4 @ 3.2Ghz
RAM 8Ghz DDR3 RAM 800mhz (non-ECC) (2x4Gb, the maximum this board supports)
onboard NIC (Realtek RTL8201EL)


Which one to use? FreeNAS or NAS4Free? It seems that the latter should be my option here.

#33 Re: FreeNAS vs NAS4free

Added on 2014-02-20T05:23 by cbukowski

Gaucho,

With the hardware you're listing and the expectations that you list for the NAS to handle you may want to look at building an UNRAID system. Set up correctly it will give you data protection(via a parity drive) and should handle storing and shariing all your files with no problem.

#34 Re: FreeNAS vs NAS4free

Added on 2014-02-25T17:13 by thermalpaste

I've used both in enterprise environments, I'm talking of atleast 300 terabytes of data here and nas4free is definitely better than freenas. nas4free is lighter than freenas, and, imo, freenas is bloatware. This is my personal opinion based on the fact that I need something stable and I only use NFS and iSCSI and do a lot of zfs snapshots. I've also used HAST for critical services on nas4free and it works flawlessly.

For an average home user, freenas is easier to configure and use but would recommend nas4free for enterprises.

#35 Re: FreeNAS vs NAS4free

Added on 2014-03-04T14:39 by Michael

I hope you did not use hardware raid to create a raid-5 which is handled by ZFS? That defeats the purpose of ZFS. ZFS needs exclusive access to the disks without any interference (the reason is that ZFS can not protect your data unless it has exclusive access). You need one HBA card or flash hardware raid card to JBOD mode, eliminating all raid functionality. Read the wikipedia article for more information on ZFS dataprotection.

#36 Re: FreeNAS vs NAS4free

Added on 2014-03-07T18:22 by john42

I've been using FreeNAS0.7 for about 5 years and it has worked flawlessly until a couple of weeks ago. I just never had to touch it, the only time it rebooted was because of a power failure. Then I started getting errors (scheduled backup failed) so I started looking at this question. I replaced the NIC which had been the cause of the errors with a new gigabit card, put in bigger hard drives in raid 1 and tried various versions of both FN and N4F in a couple of old computers.

In the end i went back to the oldest hardware, a Dell P4 with just 256MB ram, with the original old FreeNAS 0.7. Why? Because it works and the old box is very low power. I really don't need high performance hardware which takes far more power to run it. I'm just using the NAS for backup of a small business as well as several home computers and storage of photos and such.

If I went to the new FreeNAS I would need much newer and more power-hungry hardware, for no advantage for my use.

#37 Re: FreeNAS vs NAS4free

Added on 2014-03-12T20:55 by Ronnie Williams

I used FreeNAS, prior to v8. I jumped to NAS4Free because I use a very low powered Acer H341, for my NAS box. FreeNAS 8 had too much hardware requirements for my small box. I have had no problems with NAS4Free and love it. And so does my low powered H341!

#38 Re: FreeNAS vs NAS4free

Added on 2014-03-16T04:21 by Iain MacLeod
I made the switch to nas4free from freenas 0.7x because I tried freenas 8 at the time and wasn't impressed. I have problems with nas4free sometimes, but I enjoy learning along the way. I completely agree that freenas looks good, but the system requirements are pretty high. Anyway, I am not tempted to move away from NAS4free, going to try virtual box on it next. I have some howtos on their if anyone is interested: http://geekfreely.blogspot.com/search/label/nas4free?m=0

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