I currently have a Debian Lenny file server for my small network (4 machines). I have 4x1TB drives in a RAID5 config. Since I botched the Lenny-Squeeze upgrade, it seems like a perfect time to give ZFS a try.

I'm debating between NexentaStor and FreeNAS. I'm leaning towards NexentaStor since it uses the original ZFS implementation, as opposed to a port, but I wonder if I miss out on some awesome feature if I go that way.

I don't want to stay with Debian because it's more more shell I have to worry about maintaining. I'm very happy with a coLinux install that fullfills all my hacking needs.

Your input is greatly appreciated.


Let's start by saying that since this is for a home lab it really doesn't matter one way or another unless you have some business need to go with one solution over another. By business need I mean to gain experience with a particular application in order to put it on your resume.

I personally do not like NexentaStor because it doesn't provide an UI based way to limit your storage traffic to either a particular NIC or a particular network segment. You can of course hack that in via iptables but I couldn't be bothered.

There's another option which is OpenIndiana. There are a whole bunch of different resources on the net in terms of implementing ZFS. One very helpful resource with a lot more information than your average SF reply can be found at Hardforum: OpenSolaris derived ZFS NAS/ SAN (Nexenta*, OpenIndiana, Solaris Express) . The folks are Hardforum are extremely helpful and knowledgeable and with over 500 replies to that thread you'll find a wealth of information posted by folks who actually implemented different scenarios and give an unbiased view of the pros and cons.

  • Agreed. For home lab use, I'd go with OpenIndiana/Solaris Express & manage it via Napp-IT: napp-it.org. However, for production, I'd want something that's supported, so I'd go with NexentaStor. I probably wouldn't use FreeNAS because their ZFS version is several behind the current Solaris version. – churnd May 3 '11 at 10:56

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