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FreeNAS OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

FreeNAS is #6 ranked solution in top NAS tools. PeerSpot users give FreeNAS an average rating of 8 out of 10. FreeNAS is most commonly compared to StarWind Storage Appliance: FreeNAS vs StarWind Storage Appliance. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a comms service provider, accounting for 30% of all views.
What is FreeNAS?
FreeNAS is an operating system that can be installed on virtually any hardware platform to share data over a network. FreeNAS is the simplest way to create a centralized and easily accessible place for your data. Use FreeNAS with ZFS to protect, store, backup, all of your data. FreeNAS is used everywhere, for the home, small business, and the enterprise.
Buyer's Guide

Download the NAS Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: January 2022

FreeNAS Customers
Morroni Technologies Inc., Creative Integrations
FreeNAS Video

FreeNAS Pricing Advice

What users are saying about FreeNAS pricing:
  • "For our configuration, we pay a little bit less than €10,000 ($12,000 USD) per year."
  • "Its price is okay. It suits our needs."
  • FreeNAS Reviews

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    Member of the Board of Directors; Executive at a computer software company with 51-200 employees
    Real User
    Top 20
    Easy to implement and has a good setup wizard but needs better documentation
    Pros and Cons
    • "What I like about it is that I can work on it from any computer or any device. The initial setup is very simple. The setup wizard is really helpful."
    • "The one thing that I find difficult to do which is very time-consuming is that I like to have a backup of the important files."

    What is our primary use case?

    I'm just using it at home for my personal use, and I use it primarily for transferring large video files between temporarily storing large video files between computers. I also use it as a backup for my photographs and videos, and things like that, as well as some important documents.

    How has it helped my organization?

    There are some things where I tend to use Linux for some parts of the work and Windows for others. For example, in video editing, if I've recorded something on a DVD, I will normally use Linux to do the conversion of the DVD into a video file. I will then, normally, edit on Windows as I find that there's Pinnacle Studio, which is commercial and only available on Windows. 

    What I tend to do is do the conversion on the Linux machine and I do it to the FreeNAS box. Then I will take it from the FreeNAS box onto the Windows machine and do the editing. And then put it back, probably, depending on what kind of video it is. I will either save it for archival purposes on FreeNAS, or I will move it over to one of my discs. For example, I've got a couple of other hard drives, network drives such as Western Digital. I'll put it on there so I can watch it on TV if I want to.

    What is most valuable?

    What I like about it is that I can work on it from any computer or any device.

    The initial setup is very simple. The setup wizard is really helpful.

    The stability is good.

    The solution is open-source and free to use.

    What needs improvement?

    The one thing that I find difficult to do which is very time-consuming is that I like to have a backup of the important files. However, they're so big. I haven't really found documentation that explains how to back up quickly well enough. I want to know: how I can connect a hard drive directly to FreeNAS, and then basically copy one of the shares, either a Window share or Linux share, to that hard drive. To do it over the local area network is very slow and very often, due to the fact that it takes so long, things will get interrupted. Either the router will reset or something will happen, and then it gets confusing as to how to get it restarted and get it going again once the connections are re-established. Therefore, being able to do a direct backup of the shares to an external hard drive is something that I would like. Or, if it could be done easily and more quickly over the internet, I'd like to find the documentation that would tell me how to do that. So far, I haven't really found anything that has worked that well.

    One of my hard drives has failed and the documentation that I've been able to find has not helped. I know I've replaced drives before, however, I haven't been able to find the right documentation to get it done this time, and now I'm sitting here with a degraded system. I can still lose one more drive and not lose any data, however, I don't like sitting like that. I've got a brand new drive in there, and yet I haven't been able to replace the faulty one that is now in the recycling bin somewhere. That's why I need some documentation for backing up to just an ordinary hard drive. Right now I just find the documentation that is available lacking or confusing.

    Scaling the solution is expensive.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've used the solution probably for about five years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    I did buy a new case with lots of fans as I was having a problem with a disc failing every couple of years. Until this last disc failure, it was probably up for over three years without a hitch. Stability, for the most part, is pretty good.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    In terms of scalability, it's a little bit difficult as opposed to something like using similar types of systems. I've been trying to build one with Raspberry Pi and a bunch of hard drives, however, the scalability is a problem in the sense that, for example, I have five hard drives, and if I want to double the size, I would have to buy five new six-terabyte drives. You don't get any benefit by just replacing one of them due to the fact that it works on the basis of the smallest one only. I'd say the scalability is expensive if you really want to increase the size as you've got to replace all the hard drives.

    How are customer service and support?

    My experience with technical support has been excellent.

    They wouldn't have a clue what to do with my NAS box, however, they can certainly deal with Windows, Linux, and machines. They just found that there was too much dust in the cooling fans. One of the cooling fans was blocked. I was told by them everything was working fine now, however, I haven't tried it yet. 

    I deal with a local company, not the company directly.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    The only other solution that I used, wasn't for the same. I do have a Western Digital network hard drive. I basically just use it to put on videos that I want to watch on TV. This solution didn't really replace that, however, this I use more reliably. I find it's very stable.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial set setup was quite easy. One thing that I couldn't get set up properly or didn't work properly, was when I tried to use the cloud or something like that on it. I found that a little bit confusing. However, most of it was pretty straightforward to do the setup.

    I just followed the wizard to start with and it probably only took me a few hours to fully deploy the product.

    What about the implementation team?

    I did not use an integrator or consultant to assist me during deployment, however, there's a volunteer in our computer club who is very familiar with the solution. He's on the development team for FreeBSD. I have used his expertise. He's also going to try to do a Zoom or a similar meeting with me and we'll try to go through step-by-step to do a disc replacement. I've used him for other things in the past, strictly a volunteer, not in a commercial context.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    The solution is free and open-source.

    That said, if you have hardware failures, then there's the cost of replacing it. That's the only cost. In my case, when I was finding the discs were failing too fast, I determined that the drives were really running too hot and I bought a new really big case with lots of fans. Now the discs are really cool. Everything's really cool in it. Once I invested in the fans, that's when it became ultra-reliable.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    I looked at a couple of other solutions at that time. This one, however, looked to me like the best one at the time. Today, maybe there might be more options. For example, there's an open-source file format that some of the Linux ones offer you as an alternative, the ext4, and that's what I was trying to do. I was trying to build a system like this. The advantage that it has is that it will take advantage of if, for example, you add a new, larger hard drive. You can get the benefit of all that storage. The big downside of it is that when, if a drive fails, it basically puts the system down until you do something about it. You're don't run it in a degraded mode as you can on FreeNAS. The other problem it has is that you don't get as much storage. For example, with five one-terabyte drives, on FreeNAS, you would get at least three terabytes, or maybe even four. Whereas you have effectively one drive less of storage with the other system. 

    What other advice do I have?

    I'm just an end-user. I don't have a business relationship with the company.

    I'd advise new users that if they can afford it and depending on their technical capability, that users go with TrueNAS, which is a box with all the stuff they need in it and all the full support. Technical support for Xsystems. That said, if they want to do it with the least possible cost, they should just make sure that their hardware is sized right and they have enough room for all the disc drives they need. They also need to make sure that you've got enough cooling to make sure everything runs cool, as the heat is the biggest killer of hardware. You need to clean it out frequently as dust is the second biggest issue, which really causes cooling problems.

    I'd rate the solution at a seven out of ten.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    Flag as inappropriate
    Consultant at ITIP
    Consultant
    Top 20
    Efficient, good reporting, and integrates well with both Windows and Linux systems
    Pros and Cons
    • "It integrates well into either Windows or Linux environments."
    • "The support for S3 needs to be improved."

    What is our primary use case?

    We are using FreeNAS as a network storage solution, which acts a repository for our data. We have a large amount of data being stored.

    How has it helped my organization?

    This solution supports our organization quite well. We are able to make the best use of VMware, very easily. 

    What is most valuable?

    The most valuable feature is the readability of the site system.

    FreeNAS is very efficient.

    It integrates well into either Windows or Linux environments.

    The reporting is good.

    What needs improvement?

    The support for S3 needs to be improved.

    The default settings for taking snapshots are not wisely-set.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We have been using this solution for more than five years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The stability is quite good. Our system is in production and we have not had any problems with it. When a drive fails, we don't really have any disruption because we can easily rebuild the disk, even if it very large.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    I think that scalability is quite good. We have approximately 100 users and the size of the volumes range from 20 terabytes to 100 terabytes. Our total volume is a little bit less than 500 terabytes. We have not found any bottleneck in our current configuration.

    At this time, we don't plan on increasing our usage but it may change in a few years.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    The web support for FreeNAS is good.

    We also use TrueNAS and find that the technical support by iXsystems is great.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    We also use TrueNAS, which is exactly the same product but it is commercially supported and it has technical support included.

    Prior to this, I also worked with a similar solution from NetApp. I prefer FreeNAS over NetApp.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup is quite easy. The deployment took us about two weeks.

    What about the implementation team?

    I deployed this solution on my own.

    What was our ROI?

    We do not calculate ROI for this solution but I can say that it gives better value than similar solutions by NetApp.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    For our configuration, we pay a little bit less than €10,000 ($12,000 USD) per year. The only other costs are for the hardware in the data center.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    I also have experience with storage solutions from Nexenta and DataCore, which I evaluated at the same time as FreeNAS. In our trial, we found that you can migrate from Nexenta to FreeNAS very easily.

    What other advice do I have?

    One of the improvements in the most recent version is the support to better control the temperature of the equipment. For example, we are able to retrieve and monitor the temperature of devices easily.

    My advice to anybody who is considering this solution is to think about what level of support is needed. FreeNAS is web-based, community support, whereas TrueNAS has more reliable support. Either way, the product is stable.

    The biggest lesson that I have learned is not to store a large number of snapshots. This solution allows for unlimited snapshot capability, although even for just one month, this can take a lot of storage space. If you maintain years of snapshots then, in my opinion, it is not efficient.

    I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    On-premises
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    Find out what your peers are saying about FreeNAS, NetApp, Netgear and others in NAS. Updated: January 2022.
    563,208 professionals have used our research since 2012.
    Self Employed at AOK Consulting Inc
    Real User
    Top 20
    Reliable, stable, and scalable

    What is our primary use case?

    We use it for our interim backup solution. We are using the latest version.

    What is most valuable?

    Its stability is the most valuable. It is reliable, and we don't have to worry too much about it.

    What needs improvement?

    They can improve the integration with PSA systems. This functionality could be better.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been using FreeNAS for probably two and a half years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It is stable. We haven't been running into problems with it.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    It scales pretty well. There are five engineers who use this solution.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Their technical support is good. There are no…

    What is our primary use case?

    We use it for our interim backup solution. We are using the latest version.

    What is most valuable?

    Its stability is the most valuable. It is reliable, and we don't have to worry too much about it.

    What needs improvement?

    They can improve the integration with PSA systems. This functionality could be better.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been using FreeNAS for probably two and a half years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It is stable. We haven't been running into problems with it.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    It scales pretty well. There are five engineers who use this solution.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Their technical support is good. There are no problems.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    We used Synology. We switched to FreeNAS because we just liked it a little more because of its flexibility.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was straightforward.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    Its price is okay. It suits our needs.

    What other advice do I have?

    I would advise others to do their homework. I would rate FreeNAS an eight out of ten.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    On-premises
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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