What users are saying about
15 Ratings
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574 Ratings
15 Ratings
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Score 8.5 out of 100

Windows Server

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574 Ratings
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Score 8.6 out of 100

Likelihood to Recommend

FreeNAS

If the user has system administrative experience and is willing to spend time learning FreeNAS, then FreeNAS is well worth it. If the user does not have much experience or does not have the time to learn FreeNAS, then using a COTs product that is more intuitive and easy to use might be beneficial.
FreeNAS is very powerful and can do basically anything you want it to do. The user just needs to spend the time to learn it as it may not be clearly intuitive how to implement the features that are needed for the user's organization.
No photo available

Windows Server

Any environment that uses Microsoft software and hardware should run with a Windows Server infrastructure behind it. I've worked in organisations in the past that have used Windows PCs and no server behind them and it causes a huge number of problems in terms of time to manage the use of devices and causes problems with security over the network and access to shared data. Whilst things are migrating towards being completely cloud based, there is still a need, at the moment in my opinion, for a Windows Server infrastructure for both end-user experience and admin maintenance.
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Pros

FreeNAS

  • The FreeNAS web interface is modern looking. It makes tasks like provisioning drives into raid volumes easy.
  • The ZFS raid option allows you to add in an SSD as a cache drive to increase performance.
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Windows Server

  • Windows Server acting as a domain controller allows for very comprehensive management of computers and workstations across an organization, specifically when it comes to Active Directory and Group Policy.
  • Active Directory allows for comprehensive managements of users within a domain (or organizational unit). User groups can be created with different permissions for various network resources, and users can be added to multiple different groups. In addition, login scripts can be created that are linked to each user allowing for automatic mapping of network drives and printers (among other items) every time a user logs in. As such, with the correct login script, a new user can login for the first time and have access to all the necessary resources within an organization.
  • Once a domain is created, adding computers to it is quick and easy. Any computer that is a part of a domain can be logged in by any domain user. Removing a computer from a domain, via Active Directory, immediately revokes all domain users ability to login to that computer.
  • Group Policy, an integral part of Windows Server, is a vast and comprehensive tool to push out settings to domain computers and users. Settings can be anything from adding or removing mapped network drives, adding or removing printers, turning on and off specific Windows settings. Group Policy can be managed on both a computer basis and a user basis.
  • Windows Server's built-in file sharing capabilities allow it to be used as a powerful file server. Permissions for shared folders can be set on a per-user basis and/or via group membership. Using advanced sharing features, a file or folder can be shared via multiple names with different permissions for each shared name.
  • Windows Server includes a powerful DNS server that works in conjunction with the Domain Controller functionality. The DNS server supports forward and reverse zones as well as manually adding items into a DNS zone.
  • Hyper-V is included with Windows Server, providing a powerful and first-party way to create virtual machines.
  • Windows Server includes a built-in DHCP server that can be used in place of a standard network router.
  • Windows Server includes a built-in web server hosting functionality via IIS (Internet Information Services)
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Cons

FreeNAS

  • The NAS User Interface could be made more user-friendly and easier to configure, but in the most recent version improvements have been made.
  • It could be easier to back up the encryption key and configuration so they can be easily restored.
  • We have seen isolated issues when streaming large files (8GB+) across the network, specifically video files. Uploading and Downloading is fine, when but streaming live sometimes we see an issue.
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Windows Server

  • The overall performance of server 2016's UI feels worse than previous versions (running on the same HW spec in the same virtual environment).
  • Versioning schemes could be more transparent (IIS versions across OS versions, MSSQL versions, etc) and easier to follow.
  • Managing some security settings via the server registry is fairly cumbersome. Third party applications and community created scripts exist to ease these issues, but with the emphasis on security today, they should have their own control panel section instead.
  • Microsoft's experience homogenization between their desktop OS and server OS has added a lot of "fluff" and graphical flare to the server OS that isn't really needed and feels like it gets in the way, to be honest.
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Likelihood to Renew

FreeNAS

No score
No answers yet
No answers on this topic

Windows Server

Windows Server 10.0
Based on 3 answers
I've carefully reviewed the servers and services currently running on Windows Server 2012, and given the opportunity would renew them as is going forward. There are two systems I currently have in place, one is a very large Linux implementation for a large ecommerce site, and one is a very large backup solution front ended by FTP servers running Linux. Neither are well suited for Windows, but the overall network infrastructure is and will be Windows Server for the foreseeable future.
Kettric Midura profile photo

Usability

FreeNAS

No score
No answers yet
No answers on this topic

Windows Server

Windows Server 4.0
Based on 3 answers
There are simply too many different parts of Windows Server to make it a cohesive piece of software. While some of the newer features found in Windows Server 2012 and 2016 have nice UIs that are logically laid out, there are enough parts of the system that is still based on old code with clunky UIs and confusing options to make Windows Server a particularly user-friendly experience.
Aaron Pinsker profile photo

Support

FreeNAS

FreeNAS 8.0
Based on 1 answer
There were some things that can be found by other users on forums and Google and some things that were not.
No photo available

Windows Server

Windows Server 7.7
Based on 10 answers
There is a ton of support materials for Windows Server on the internet. Microsoft Technet has fantastic documentation for pretty much everything you can think of with Windows Server. There are also lots of third-party resources available for support as it is a very commonly used system.When it comes to getting professional support from Microsoft, that is like rolling the dice. Sometimes the support technician is simply not able to comprehend the issue. However, they are always very professional and polite. After some time, most issues will be resolved, but be prepared to be passed around a bunch of different teams while they try to figure out the issue.
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Implementation

FreeNAS

No score
No answers yet
No answers on this topic

Windows Server

Windows Server 10.0
Based on 1 answer
Nope, wasn't around for the first installations.
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Alternatives Considered

FreeNAS

If you are ready to build it yourself, FreeNAS is the best. I tried so many alternatives, including paid versions, and nothing compares to the power of FreeNAS. If you need an enterprise-grade NAS, you would go with an HPE or Dell because of the support, not the features. If you want a middle-range - QNap, Sinology, Netgear - they have an awesome product with powerful features, but you need to buy the hardware and software from them, with fewer options, and very basic support.
Tommy Boucher profile photo

Windows Server

HP-UX is a great product, but it has a much higher learning curve than Windows server. Even if you're familiar with Linux/Unix, HP-UX will still be very challenging if you've never used it before. HP-UX commands can be different than even other Linux/Unix commands. Whereas everyone has used Windows in their life, making Windows server intuitive and easy to learn.
Omar Campos profile photo

Return on Investment

FreeNAS

  • Backing up FreeNAS is not simple, as it does not have a built-in option to backup.
Chris Thibeau profile photo

Windows Server

  • A positive impact has been that it hasn't really required in-depth training to learn the Windows Server platform, and how to migrate within it. This, in turn, has not hurt the productivity of the IT administrators or IT staff.
  • Since our environment is mostly Windows-based, with Windows endpoints outnumbering Mac/etc. endpoints, another positive impact has been in being able to easily manage running Systems Management software on Windows Server. This is turn has made the IT dept. more efficient in being able to deploy software, and configure policies on Windows Server.
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Pricing Details

FreeNAS

General

Free Trial
Free/Freemium Version
Premium Consulting/Integration Services
Entry-level set up fee?
No

Windows Server

General

Free Trial
Free/Freemium Version
Premium Consulting/Integration Services
Entry-level set up fee?
No

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