Best Software Nas – Learn more about four of the best free NAS software solutions for home and business users to prevent your data loss.
Today, the average household who wants to share photos and enjoy a library of digital entertainment no matter where they are is using a NAS.
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So whether you want to set up your own private network, collect movies, music, and TV shows, or take data backup to the next level, a NAS might be just what you need.
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NAS (Network Attached Storage) is a term used to refer to a storage device that connects to a network and provides file access services for computer systems.
A NAS is most simply thought of as a dedicated file server. It enables authorized network users and various clients to store and retrieve data from a central location.
In other words, NAS is like a private cloud in your home or office. However, it’s faster, cheaper, and offers all the benefits of an on-premises public cloud, giving you complete control.
There are many types of NAS software solutions. Finding the right product for your needs can be a real challenge. There are many NAS servers and options available today, but how do you find the best NAS software for your home or business needs?
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TrueNAS SCALE is built on the same core software and middleware as TrueNAS CORE, probably the world’s best known, most widely used and powerful free open source storage software.
It is based on Debian, which is different from the original version running on FreeBSD. This greatly expands the tools available to users who want greater control and functionality over their network storage devices.
In other words, TrueNAS SCALE supports the existing features of TrueNAS CORE as well as new Linux-specific features, including Docker containers, Kubernetes, KVM, and more.
At the heart of TrueNAS SCALE is OpenZFS, which combines the functionality of a file system and volume manager. This means that ZFS can create file systems that span multiple drives or pools, unlike other file systems.
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It is a scalable file system including comprehensive protection against data corruption, support for large storage capacities, efficient data compression, integration of file system and volume management concepts, copy-on-write snapshots and clones, continuous integrity checking and automatic repair, RAID – Z, native NFSv4 ACLs, and can be configured very precisely.
Of course, TrueNAS SCALE provides all possible file sharing network protocols, such as SMB, NFS, Gluster, iSCSI Block Storage, S3 Object API integration, etc. Beyond that, however, it goes well beyond “just a storage solution.”
The point is that TrueNAS SCALE provides easy access to a mature Linux container ecosystem and makes application deployment easy.
With support for KVM virtual machines, Kubernetes, and Docker containers, countless applications can be easily customized and added to meet different needs.
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So who should use it? Well, it’s mostly for home use, small businesses, and tech labs. But of course, there’s no reason why users shouldn’t use TrueNAS SCALE for large enterprise solutions, because it excels at it.
We currently think this is the best free NAS solution out there, with far more features than its paid competitors.
TrueNAS SCALE is completely free to download and use. What are you waiting for? Join the “storage freedom” movement and enjoy the benefits of the open source economy.
TrueNAS CORE (aka FreeNAS) is a FreeBSD-based operating system that provides free NAS services. It is an open-source, community-supported fork of the TrueNAS project, sponsored by iXsystems.
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TrueNAS CORE is probably the best known NAS software. It has been in development since 2005 and has over 10 million downloads. However, it’s more aimed at advanced users, so it might not be recommended for first-time NAS server builders.
The OpenZFS file system is at the heart of TrueNAS CORE. It is an open source, enterprise-ready file system, RAID controller, and volume manager with unprecedented flexibility and an unwavering commitment to data integrity.
It eliminates most, if not all, of the shortcomings of legacy file systems and hardware RAID devices. Once you use OpenZFS, you’ll never want to go back.
RAID-Z is the software RAID portion of OpenZFS that provides single-parity redundancy equivalent to RAID 5. Additional levels RAID-Z2 and RAID-Z3 provide double and triple parity protection respectively.
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So, if you want to nearly completely eliminate any possibility of data loss, and stability is the name of the game, then OpenZFS is what you’re looking for.
TrueNAS CORE has some of the best features you can find in NAS software, such as data snapshots, self-healing file system, data volume encryption, and more.
Additionally, TrueNAS CORE supports virtually any file share, including major file systems such as SMB/CIFS (Windows File Share), NFS (Linux/UNIX File Share), and AFP (Apple File Share), FTP, iSCSI, and WebDAV.
It also supports integration with cloud storage providers like Amazon S3 and Google Cloud.
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If TrueNAS CORE has one goal, it is to simplify complex management tasks for users. A web-based management interface allows you to operate any system component.
As a result, administrative operations from storage provisioning to share and user management to software updates can be done reliably without skipping critical steps or encountering silent failures.
While storage is its main function, there’s more to this product. TrueNAS CORE supports plugins to extend its functionality, such as Plex Media Server, Nextcloud, BitTorrent, OpenVPN, MadSonic, GitLab, Jenkins, etc.
That means it’s not just capable of storage. For example, TrueNAS CORE can be used as part of your home entertainment setup to serve media to your home theater PC, PSP, iPod or other networked devices.
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TrueNAS CORE is recommended if you are building enterprise-grade servers for your home, office, or large enterprise where data is centrally stored and shared. Also, TrueNAS CORE is your best choice when looking for a reasonable storage network.
On the other hand, TrueNAS CORE is not suitable for users with small memory. Instead, it’s a very advanced and feature-rich NAS software solution that recommends at least 8GB of RAM, a multi-core processor, and a reliable storage drive to keep your data safe.
One thing we should note before installing TrueNAS CORE on some systems with older specs is that it requires a lot of RAM (you need at least 8GB of RAM) to run, especially if you plan to install the OpenZFS filesystem .
Additionally, TrueNAS CORE requires 1 GB of RAM for every TB of storage. Therefore, you will need newer hardware to build your server.
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You can install TrueNAS CORE by downloading the ISO image, then burning it to a USB drive, placing it on your computer/server, and booting the system.
OpenMediaVault (OMV) is a Linux distribution of Debian-based NAS software known among home users and small businesses. It supports all major protocols such as SSH, (S)FTP, SMB, CIFS, and RSync, and offers home users an easy way to set up a NAS server.
Furthermore, the server is modular and can be extended with various official and third-party plugins. For example, you can turn your NAS into a torrent client, downloading data directly to the NAS storage.
You can also use it to stream stored music and video over the network with the Plex Media Server plugin.
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Thanks to a well-designed web-based user interface, OpenMediaVault is easy to deploy and manage for non-technical users. The user interface can be further enhanced using its plugin directory.
OpenMediaVault supports all popular deployment mechanisms, including multiple levels of software RAID, each requiring a different number of drives.
The project shares some features with TrueNAS CORE, such as storage monitoring, file sharing, and disk management, and supports various file systems such as ext4, Btrfs, JFS, and XFS.
However, it lacks some more advanced features than TrueNAS CORE, such as hot-swapping or the OpenZFS file system.
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One of the best features of OpenMediaVault NAS is its low system requirements compared to TrueNAS CORE. You can run OMV on low power devices like Raspberry Pi.
OpenMediaVault is one of the best NAS software distributions out of the box. However, it can be more advanced, with many features for integrating plugins into the base system, even third-party plugins using the OMV-Extras repository.
OpenMediaVault installable media is available for 64-bit machines and even supports some ARM architectures, including the one used by the Raspberry Pi.
Users can also use the ISO image to create a USB stick along with a hard drive and SSD, which is especially useful if you plan to use a single-board computer like a Raspberry Pi.
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Rocksto is a free NAS software management system and probably the best alternative to TrueNAS CORE. It is a Linux-based NAS server distribution based on the solid openSUSE Leap, and it focuses exclusively on the Btrfs file system.
In addition to standard NAS features like file sharing via NFS, Samba, SFTP, and AFP, advanced features like online volume management, CoW snapshots, asynchronous replication, compression, and Bitrot protection are supported.
The most notable difference between TrueNAS CORE and Rockstore is that it uses the Btrfs file system, which is very similar to using ZFS