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What is FreeNAS?

FreeNAS is an open source operating system that allows nearly any hardware serve as a network-attached storage device. It was developed by iXsystems.

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TrueNAS, formerly known as FreeNAS, has been widely adopted by organizations to support their legacy systems within their on-premises …
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What is FreeNAS?

FreeNAS is an open source operating system that allows nearly any hardware serve as a network-attached storage device. It was developed by iXsystems.

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Product Demos

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FreeNAS Demo: Double Failure 2xRAID-Z1


USBKill for Freenas Demo

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Product Details

FreeNAS Technical Details

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Reviews and Ratings


Community Insights

TrustRadius Insights are summaries of user sentiment data from TrustRadius reviews and, when necessary, 3rd-party data sources. Have feedback on this content? Let us know!

TrueNAS, formerly known as FreeNAS, has been widely adopted by organizations to support their legacy systems within their on-premises networks. Users have praised the product for offering all the functionalities of FreeBSD and seamlessly operating on their legacy systems with minimal tolerance. The porting process from FreeNAS to TrueNAS is straightforward, providing users with a significant advantage.

One of the primary use cases for TrueNAS Core is its role as a file server, supporting SMB/WebDAV protocols, and block storage for hypervisors using iSCSI. This allows organizations to efficiently manage and share files across their network while providing reliable block storage for virtualization environments. Additionally, FreeNAS is commonly used as a central depot, supporting services like UrBackup and NextCloud, enabling organizations to securely store and access important data.

The stability, reliability, and speed of ZFS running over FreeBSD have garnered praise from users. This makes TrueNAS an ideal solution for storing archived backups and operating as an office file server within organizations. The support for protocols like SMB, NFS, and iSCSI further enhances its versatility and usability.

Furthermore, FreeNAS has found popularity in testing departments as it provides a centralized location for up-to-date files and software. Its open-source nature based on FreeBSD enables any machine to be transformed into a NAS, making it accessible for departments looking to expand their network storage capabilities for employees.

Overall, TrueNAS Core offers organizations a cost-effective and rock-solid storage solution that seamlessly integrates with their existing infrastructure. Whether it's supporting legacy systems or serving as a centralized file server or test environment, TrueNAS proves to be a reliable choice for managing data and facilitating collaboration within networks.

Attribute Ratings


(1-7 of 7)
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Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Our organisation uses FreeNAS (now known as TrueNAS CORE) in a number of ways. We have an instance that operates as an office file server, an instance that provides network storage to our VMs, and another instance that we use for storing archived backups. In all three scenarios, FreeNAS works flawlessly, providing rock-solid storage using ZFS along with SMB, NFS, and iSCSI protocol support for all our networked devices. Also, it does all of this for free!

We've used this for many years, having previously put together our own file servers based on Linux and FreeBSD that worked well but required a lot of admin. The switch to FreeNAS was painless, ultra-reliable, and almost maintenance-free. No complaints here!
  • ZFS storage for top-class data integrity.
  • Wide range of protocol support for networked devices to connect with.
  • Excellent web interface for managing storage, users and general administration.
  • 2 factor authentication for increased security.
  • Driver support is generally very good but could be improved for some more 'exotic' network and storage interfaces (currently limited by what FreeBSD supports, which is slightly more restrictive than Linux).
  • I'd like to see Arm CPU support in the future. This isn't much of an issue at the moment because today's typical Arm devices do not support lots of memory, storage, etc. However, the tide is turning, and Arm devices are only going to increase in popularity, availability, and performance over the coming years.
FreeNAS is well suited for most storage serving scenarios, whether it be for an office file server, backup destinations, data replication across the internet, or as backend storage for virtual machines. It can serve various types of clients via a plethora of standard protocols and can easily integrate with existing infrastructure using LDAP authentication and so on.

It's pretty simple to use (it helps to have at least a basic understanding of the underlying technologies) and almost maintenance-free.

One scenario that springs to mind that it may not be appropriate for (yet) is as S3 storage. However, S3 functionality was added in a recent release and may have improved greatly since then. I'm sure it will eventually work very well for this.
eldhose k shibu | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Our company uses FreeNAS to support our legacy systems, which were implemented long before, although FreeNAS is now officially TrueNAS, We still use FreeNAS in our on-premises system (legacy). Since it is based on BSD it has all the functionalities that FreeBSD has to offer. The performance capability of FreeNAS is really amazing it still continues to operate on our legacy systems with minimum tolerance. Also since the porting of FreeNAS to TrueNAS is really easy, it also gave us an advantage for us.
  • Highly Flexible.
  • Simplified UI and ease of usage in volumes.
  • Efficient storage management.
  • Secure and reliable in legacy systems.
  • Initial installation is a hassle.
  • Really difficult in switching between RAID storages.
  • Support for free version is very limited.
FreeNAS suited really well in managing our legacy systems and it handled all our network flows really well, less maintenance is required on our part. FreeNAS also gave the option to switch to TrueNAS for free as now its support is limited. The major issue that we faced was with the installation as it is really complex and required lots of time. Rest all is good and FreeNAS still works well on our systems.
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
First of all, FreeNAS is now rebranded as TrueNAS core. We are using it for our legacy applications which are running on-prem in a local network. TrueNAS is based on FreeBSD and it's free to use with all the core features. The best part is we can switch to TruNAS enterprise in just one click which we did for some of our installations.
  • OpenSource and Free to use.
  • Supports multiple redundancy configurations.
  • Great UI with 360 degree view of the system.
  • Not good for beginners as it requires deep understanding of networking and storage.
  • Most of the good and required features are not available in free version.
I would recommend FreeNAS if you looking for self-managed NAS service in your local environment or in on-prem data centers. One thing to keep in mind this requires a basic understanding of networking and storage so it's recommended only if you have a deep understanding or are willing to learn.
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
I needed a cost effective NAS in order to store and share files within the network. FreeNAS fit the bill as the name implied it was 'FREE'. FreeNAS was used primarily by the testing department and solved the issue of keeping a 'golden' set of files that should be the most up to date all in one location. If anyone needed a specific file or software, they would be able to look to this location and know that it is current.
  • Cost effective
  • Many options and features
  • Not beginner friendly
  • Buggy
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.
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
I required a free network attached storage solution that would work with testing different virtualization solutions. Freenas was a perfect fit, as it supports NFS, SMB, and ISCSI sharing.
I use FreeNAS on old hardware, and it is extremely reliable. It uses a USB stick to boot from, which leaves all the internal data ports available for storage.
  • 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.
  • I found it hard to set user specific security options on shares.
FreeNAS worked best for me in creating a free network-attached storage for my Virtualization cluster testing. Where it has NFS, SMB, and iSCSI services, this provided several connection options, allowing me to test and select the service which provided the best performance. FreenNAS works great on old hardware. When creating a storage pool, the GUI provides all options very clear and easy to understand.
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
FreeNAS is opensource software that is based on FreeBSD OS. It provides bootable software to run Network Attached Storage for your organization and provides many features, some of which are enterprise level. It can be loaded on virtually any machine, new or old to turn it into a NAS. We use it within departments to provide additional network storage for employees. It supports multiple drives, custom encryption keys, and separation of OS and NAS.
  • Portable configuration provides separation of bootable NAS and the drives. This makes it easy to move drives to a different NAS or replace failed hardware.
  • Supports many drive redundancy configurations such as Raid 0, 1, 5, 10.
  • Provides a full bootable, portable package that installs on old or new hardware to enable drives to be configured as a NAS using a Web UI.
  • Supports default or customer encryption keys to secure your data.
  • FreeNAS installs on a USB drive for performance
  • 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.
FreeNAS is well suited to provide NAS services using existing drives and hardware. It is a low-cost solution that is very powerful and flexible to provide Network Attached Storage to your organization. If enterprise performance is required, please use the appropriate hardware for your custom NAS so you have sufficient network bandwidth, processing power, memory, and drive performance.
Tommy Boucher | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 7 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
FreeNAS is the central depot. Not only it is used as a file server (SMB/WebDAV), but also as a block storage for hypervisor (iSCSI), and many services provider (including usage of jail). I host many products on it like UrBackup and NextCloud.

Installed on a dual CPU 2U server with 16 front bays, I use a combination of SATA 3TB Drives and 240 GB SSD drives. The SSD Drives are used as a read cache, but also as a write cache (50 GB mirror).

ZFS is one of the most stable, reliable and fast file systems! Running over FreeBSD is very powerful. The community is awesome.
  • RAIDZ, fast and simple, and reliable.
  • SSD Caching, for both Read and Write.
  • Many services, from FileServer (FTP, SMB, WebDAV, ...), including iSCSI, and many other available using jail
  • Powerful UI, easy to monitor, and manage.
  • Awesome community, with many improvements every build.
  • Deduplication. The deduplication uses so much RAM, and makes every write very slow. I have a very powerful server, with 128 GB of RAM, and when enabling deduplication, writes are 50% slower. Disaster. A Microsoft approach (cron job) using junction would be better, in my opinion...
  • VMs. They have a module for VMs, but, it's a pain. Based on FreeBSD, they should do something to make it work... or provide some images. Tried to make a Windows Server VMs with many tutorials, and can't get it to work.
  • Backup. It is very easy to use FreeNAS as a backup target, but when it's time to backup the FreeNAS itself... not that simple.
FreeNAS is awesome for any kind of storage, including VMs or database because it is really reliable and fast. If you can have a robust backup strategy, and maybe a second box for replication, it would be a no-brainer.

Tried to go true TrueNAS, which is one of the paid versions of FreeNAS, but they will only do next business day, hardware shipping. If you need a 24/7 on-site support, it is a no go. You are on your own.
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