New Open Source Storage NAS on the block: NAS4Free

A few weeks ago I came across a new Open Source Storage NAS system: NAS4Free. This is another lightweight NAS system (like FreeNas, OpenFiler,…) which can be installed on Compact Flash/USB/SSD key, hard disk or booted of from a LiveCD.

NAS4Free is build on FreeBSD 9.0 and has ZFS v28 included, it was first release on 2012-03-22. NAS4Free supports Software JBOD, RAID 0, 1 and 5 configurations as well as Hardware RAID. Besides several types of RAID you can also encrypt your disk (based on FreeBSD geom eli module). The system can be managed using a WebGUI (like FreeNAS or OpenFiler) but you can enable SSH and other protocols.

NAS4Free is an embedded Open Source Storage NAS (Network-Attached Storage) distribution based on FreeBSD. This project is a continuation of FreeNAS 7 series project. FreeNAS 8 is based on nanoBSD where as NAS4Free is based on FreeBSD 9.x, hence the name change. This makes sure that users are not confused about both projects.

NAS4Free supports sharing across Windows, Apple, and UNIX-like systems. It includes ZFS v28, Software RAID (0,1,5), disk encryption, S.M.A.R.T / email reports etc. with the following protocols: CIFS (samba), FTP, NFS, TFTP, AFP, RSYNC, Unison, iSCSI (initiator and target), UPnP, and Bittorent which is all highly configurable by its WEB interface. NAS4Free can be installed on Compact Flash/USB/SSD key, Hard disk or booted of from a LiveCD with a small usbkey for config storage.

As mentioned above it supports quite some protocols and thus you can use it for your homelab or testlab. It runs fine in a virtual machine (Other Linux (32 or 64-bit)) on VMware. If you are currently looking for a storage solution and you want to benefit from ZFS you might want to give this a try. Something which I find a big plus is the size the operating system consumes. If you work with a “lab on the move” (for example Autolab) you will be pleased to know that NAS4Free uses about 256MB for the embedded platform and “just” 384MB for the full platform (this is without your data disks).

Another great thing is the useful wiki which gets you started in no time.

The latest release was released on 2012-06-08: NAS4Free Nightly build

Some screenshots:

Niels Engelen
Working as a pre-sales with an interest for anything virtual and cloud. Certified as a VMware Certified Professional 4 and 5. Niels also gained the VMware vExpert award (2012-2016) and is an ex-PernixPro.