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Screenshot of the FreeNAS web interface
Original author(s) Olivier Cochard-Labbé
Developer(s) iXsystems
Stable release
Corral-RELEASE (FreeNAS 10) / 15 March 2017; 7 days ago (2017-03-15)[1]
Operating system FreeBSD
Platform x86-64 Formerly x86
Available in 21 languages
Type Computer storage
License BSD license

FreeNAS is a free and open-source network-attached storage (NAS) software based on FreeBSD and the OpenZFS file system. It is licensed under the terms of the BSD License and runs on commodity x86-64 hardware. FreeNAS supports Windows, OS X and Unix clients and various virtualization hosts such as XenServer and VMware using the SMB, AFP, NFS, iSCSI, SSH, rsync and FTP/TFTP protocols. Advanced FreeNAS features include full-disk cryptography and a plug-in architecture for third-party software.

The OpenZFS file system[edit]

FreeNAS supports the OpenZFS files system which provides data integrity checking to prevent data corruption, enable point in time snapshotting, replication and several levels of redundancy including striping, mirroring, striped mirrors (RAID 1+0), and three levels of RAID-Z.

User experience[edit]

FreeNAS is managed through a comprehensive web interface that is supplemented by a minimalistic shell console that handles essential administrative functions. The web interface supports storage pool configuration, user management, sharing configuration and system maintenance.

As an embedded system appliance, FreeNAS boots from a USB Flash device or SATA DOM. This image is configured using a USB Flash/CD-ROM bootable installer. The FreeNAS operating system is fully independent of its storage disks, allowing its configuration database and encryption keys to be backed up and restored to a fresh installation of the OS. This separation also allows for FreeNAS system upgrades to be performed through the web interface.


The FreeNAS project was started in October 2005 by Olivier Cochard-Labbé who based it on the m0n0wall embedded firewall and FreeBSD 6.0. Volker Theile joined the project in July 2006 and became the project lead in April 2008. In September 2009, the development team concluded that the project, then at release .7, was due for a complete rewrite in order to accommodate modern features such as a plug-in architecture. Volker Theile decided that the project best be reimplemented using Debian Linux and shifted his development efforts to the interim CoreNAS project and eventually OpenMediaVault where he continues as the project lead. Cochard-Labbé responded to community objections to "The Debian version of FreeNAS" and resumed activity in the project and oversaw its transfer to FreeNAS user iXsystems.[2][3] Developers Daisuke Aoyama and Michael Zoon continued FreeNAS 7 development as the NAS4Free project while and iXsystems rewrote FreeNAS with a new architecture based on FreeBSD 8.1, releasing FreeNAS 8 Beta in November 2010.[4] The plug-in architecture arrived with FreeNAS 8.2 and FreeNAS versioning was synchronized with FreeBSD for clarity. FreeNAS 8.3 introduced full-disk cryptography and FreeBSD 9.1-based FreeNAS 9.1 brought an updated plug-in architecture that is compatible with the TrueOS Warden jail management framework. FreeNAS 9.1 was also the first version of FreeNAS to use the community-supported OpenZFS v5000 with Feature Flags.[5]


The 8.0 reimplementation of FreeNAS moved the project from a m0n0BSD/m0n0wall/PHP-based architecture to one based on FreeBSD's NanoBSD embedded build system, the Python programming language, the Django web application framework and the dōjō toolkit (JavaScript library). It also used the lighttpd web server, but this was replaced with nginx in FreeNAS 8.2.


  • Web interface with optional SSL encryption
  • Localized into over 20 languages[7]
  • Plug-in Architecture
  • Included Transmission, Plex and FireFly plug-ins
  • Performance graphing
  • Email log and reporting notification
  • Downloadable configuration file and encryption keys
  • OpenZFS v5000 file system with Feature Flags
  • Theoretical storage limit of 16 Exabytes
  • File system snapshotting and replication
  • Six levels of file system compression including lz4 and gzip
  • Disk encryption with GELI and AESNI hardware acceleration
  • Disk deduplication
  • S.M.A.R.T. disk diagnostics
  • UFS2, NTFS, FAT32 and EXT2/3 read support for data import
  • SMB, AFP, NFS, iSCSI, SSH, FTP/TFTP protocols
  • LDAP and Active Directory client support with Windows ACLs
  • Apple Time Machine support
  • rsync replication
  • Link aggregation and failover
  • VLAN networking
  • Dynamic DNS client
  • Remote syslogd forwarding
  • SNMP monitoring
  • UPS (Uninterruptible power supply) support
  • iozone, netperf, OpenVPN, tmux and other utilities




  • VMware — "Ultimate Virtual Appliance Challenge, Consumer"[9]
  • — Project of the Month, January 2007[10]
  • InfoWorld — Best of open source in storage[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hubbard, Jordan (2017-03-15). "[FreeNAS-announce] Introducing FreeNAS Corral: The World’s First Open Source Hyper-converged Storage Platform". FreeNAS-announce. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  2. ^ "Project of the Month, January 2007". SourceForge. Retrieved 2013-08-23. 
  3. ^ "Interview with Olivier Cochard-Labbé, Founder of FreeNAS". BSD Magazine. Retrieved 2013-08-23. 
  4. ^ "FreeNAS 8 Beta released". Warner Losh. Retrieved 2013-08-23. 
  5. ^ "What's New with FreeNAS". FreeNAS Team. Retrieved 2013-08-23. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "FreeNAS translation website". FreeNAS Team. Retrieved 2013-08-23. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "FreeNAS is a Network-Attached Storage (NAS) server". VMware, Inc. Retrieved 2008-02-28. 
  10. ^ "Project of the Month January 2007". SourceForge, Inc. Retrieved 2008-02-28. 
  11. ^ "Best of open source in storage - 2007". InfoWorld. Retrieved 2008-02-28. 

External links[edit]