NAS4Free version 9.2.1 is a free distribution of FreeBSD 9 that has been optimized to provide a service of Network Attached Storage (NAS) or external network drive. It is a software distribution that can be installed on your obsolete computers and turns them into storage disks with redundancy and security features often available only on paid and high-end products!
I have already reviewed a previous version of FreeNAS (exactly the versions 0.7.x and previous in FreeNAS - How to create a network drive free), but since then there has been a fork of the project by the new partner / sponsor iXsystems, which has brought several changes, so now there are two types of products:
a) FreeNAS 9.1.1 - which is a new project, always open source, completely renovated and improved both in graphic and in functionality and that is managed by iXsystems which bought the brand FreeNAS in 2011.
b) NAS4Free 9.2.1 - the direct heir of the old FreeNAS version 0.7, which has been renamed and is developed and maintained by a team of volunteers and also Open Source.
|NAS4Free volume manager|
NAS4Free 9.2.1 supports data sharing systems: Windows, Apple, and UNIX / LINUX.
Hard disks and volumes can be managed with:
- ZFS v.28 (RAIDZ, RAIDZ2, RAIDZ3),
- Software RAID (0,1,5) or mix (1+0,1+1, ecc…),
- disk encryption (with adapter hardware acceleration if available),
- Filesystem ZFS v.28, UFS, Ext2/3, FAT, NTFS,
- Partition (MBR andGPT)
- iSCSI (initiator),
Supports the following network protocols:
- SMB/CIFS (samba3, samba2, samba) 4.1.5,
- AFP (Netatalk),
- FTP (ProFTPD),
- TFTP (tftp-hpa),
- RSYNC (client / server),
- SCP (SSH)
- iSCSI (target),
The Extra Services available are:
- UPnP server (FUPPES),
- BitTorent client (transmission)
- iTunes/DAAP server (Firefly),
- Webserver (Lighttpd),
- Network Bandwidth measure (IPERF),
- 802.1q vlan tagging,
- link aggregation,
- Wake On Lan,
- CARP (Common Address Redundancy Protocol)
- HAST (Highly Available Storage)
- S.M.A.R.T (smartmontools)
- E-mail notification
- UPS (NUT)
Everything is configurable through its web interface.
NAS4Free 9.2.1 can be installed on Compact Flash memory / USB / SSD and HDD, or it can be started on LIVE CD and can use a small USB key to store the configuration data. Also exists in two versions:
- 32bit, with which you will be able to use the hardware with MAX 4 GB of RAM.
- 64bit, with which you can install and use more than 4GB of RAM.
Despite having improved compatibility with newer hardware (thanks to an upgrade of the operating system) remains compatible hardware "obsolete" and therefore suitable for use on a PC also "very old" for their re-use. Here is the list of compatible hardware supported.
The user interface (GUI) has undergone a makeover but remains very similar to the previous version.
Among the goodies available, there is also the possibility of installing an LCD panel that displays in real time the most important information, and that is managed through the service LCDproc.
NAS4Free 9.2.1 adds support for SMB3, the ability for FreeNAS to be a Windows Domain Controller, and advanced features like server-side copy support in Windows 2012 and later.
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE :
I recently upgraded an older PC (already used as FreeNAS ) and consists of an Intel Pentium III with about 704 MB of RAM, reformatting and passing from the old to the new FreeNAS 0.69 NAS4Free 9.1. Because I thought that the hardware of this particular PC was NOT suitable for use as Zettabyte File System ( ZFS), due to the limited RAM and processor 32-bit inappropriate, I decided to fall back on a simple RAID 1 volume mounted on two SATA disks and shared with the service through Windows CIFS / Samba. Everything works great !
Also on this NAS4Free also use the service RSYNC client to synchronize the contents of a folder on disk to another PC version of FreeNAS 0.69 ( so for now not yet updated ) .
For some years now I'm running some old converted PC , here's the list :
n.2 - FreeNAS 0.69.2 PC - Intel Pentium 3
n.1 - FreeNAS 0.7.2 PC - Intel Pentium 3
n.1 - NAS4Free 9.1 PC - Intel Pentium 3 (*** Updated ***)
n.1 - FreeNAS 8.3.1 PC - Intel Pentium 4 (*** new project created by the fork ! ***)
Until now ... I was very pleased with their behavior !
One of the features I like the most in these products ( FreeNAS and NAS4Free ) is the ability to upgrade the firmware ( or the whole operating system software ) without having to reformat the whole thing!
Another feature important to me , is the presence of both an editor of an internal file manager, which eventually delete or modify files and folders that you do not have permissions to the share level .
NAS4Free has developed very good diagnostic functions and LOG disks , and the system.
Now some advice about the options in the BIOS of the PC:
If you can enable BIOS to automatically start the PC every day at a set time , so if you miss the current PC would restart by itself at the latest the next day!
Select the option that indicates hardware failures other than the keyboard , or "ALL, but keyboard" , so you can run the PC without having to connect a keyboard .
Disable the cache VIDEO or otherwise any kind of cache memory that subtracts the main RAM , since in any case there would benefit significantly to the functioning of the operating system.
Update of 03/09/2013 : Occasionally you have to upgrade the operating system of yours NAS devices in order to fix bugs and possibly take advantage of the new features implemented. So I proceeded to upgrade to one of the 5 NAS systems that use. In particular, I updated the software on the NAS already mounted NAS4Free 184.108.40.206 (revision 531) NAS4Free to version 220.127.116.11 (revision 847) using the function updates the firmware. I did not expect any particular problems in upgradin , in fact everything went well , very fast!