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we have small network of 15 computer. we want to store data in nas box with raid configured so that it can be accessed by all users. it will be document, excel, pdf and database files. what is best solution use freenas - openfiler or setup ubuntu server with samba. these is a widows workgroup enviroment.

thanks a lot for reply. a comparison on various site states that free nas is slower open filer. how reliable is raid setup with both os. in production environment which will be more durable solution considering it will use CIFS/SMB FOR WINDOWS WORK GROUP

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thanks a lot for reply. a comparison on various site states that free nas is slower open filer. how reliable is raid setup with both os. in production environment which will be more durable solution considering it will use CIFS/SMB FOR WINDOWS WORK GROUP. – Prasant Jain Aug 8 '09 at 5:40

A Comparison FreeNAS vs OpenFiler,

If you are big business, and don’t have the internal resources to setup and manage a SAN, Xinit Systems has different support services for you. But don’t forget that the FreeNAS developers will also welcome your business, and will gladly (I’m sure) help you setup a FreeNAS-based SAN.

If you are a home user and just need a NAS server (most home users will have no need for a SAN), either one should do just fine. Your choice will likely depend on whether you are more comfortable with a Linux-based system or a BSD-based one.


In the conclusion writes, “The main difference between FreeNAS and Openfiler is that one is a network-attached storage (NAS) server, while the other serves as both a NAS and a SAN (Storage Area Network) server. The SAN feature of Openfiler is what makes it appealing to enterprise and business users.”

The reason for this is that the reviewer didn’t know that FreeNAS also has iSCSI target capabilities and they only list iSCSI initiator in the feature list of FreeNAS.

Which probably led to some updates in the initial article.

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FreeNAS is based on m0n0wall which I use a lot so it would normally be my first choice.

However, I chose Openfiler for the AD integration and the fact that I can SSH into the box and play on a Linux kernel. I am not comfortable with FreeBSD which FreeNAS runs on.

So far Openfiler has been great. I have both NFS and SMB/CIFS shares with the SMB shares using AD integration. It also has a local LDAP server if you want to maintain users locally. Clients using the NAS include Vista, XP and VMware ESX. A minor niggle is that controlled/guest setting is per share which means that you cannot have a guest NFS share and a controlled SMB share on the same path.

You can do most things with the GUI but for some you'll have to SSH into the box, e.g. I wanted to migrate the software RAID level from 1 to 10. All in all I was impressed by the GUI which even let me setup NIC bonding.

We had a problem with backing up since we have a lot of multi-gigabyte files which was impractical to transfer over our company network which still has some fast ethernet components. To backup 1.5 TB, we plan to plug in a 2 TB USB drive to the Openfiler server, mount the drive and use rsync to copy changed files.

I simulated hard drive failures by swapping drives. Recovering from a boot drive failure meant reinstalling Openfiler and then reloading the configuration. It is very important to regularly back up the Openfiler configuration file for this reason. Recovering from a failed hard drive that is part of a RAID array requires using a SSH console to add the drive. The array will automatically sync the new drive. During this process the array is fully available.

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I think FreeNAS fits your needs. My personal opinion is that a FreeNAS is easier to set up then OpenFiler and the webinterface is more simple and easy to use and understand.

The biggest disadvantage about openfiler is that the official documentation is only available if you pay for it.

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I agree. I setup both in a VM environment to evaluate them and found FreeNAS to be a lot easier to setup and manage compared to OpenFiler. – Lazlow Aug 8 '09 at 19:37

I have used Freenas for the past 6 months on a machine that cost under £100 (excluding 4 drive caddy holder which looks cool, but i probably shouldn't have bought).

I am very happy with it.

Only down side is Domain Integration is a bit of a hit or miss, but if you do not need this, it is perfect.

Openfiler is also good, but I just found freenas to be a lot more to the point and quicker to use.

I answered a similar question about the reliability for someone else a few days ago, however I write a good quick guide for freenas. you may like to read the post -

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