FreeNAS Review

Efficient, good reporting, and integrates well with both Windows and Linux systems

What is our primary use case?

We are using FreeNAS as a network storage solution, which acts a repository for our data. We have a large amount of data being stored.

How has it helped my organization?

This solution supports our organization quite well. We are able to make the best use of VMware, very easily. 

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the readability of the site system.

FreeNAS is very efficient.

It integrates well into either Windows or Linux environments.

The reporting is good.

What needs improvement?

The support for S3 needs to be improved.

The default settings for taking snapshots are not wisely-set.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using this solution for more than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is quite good. Our system is in production and we have not had any problems with it. When a drive fails, we don't really have any disruption because we can easily rebuild the disk, even if it very large.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I think that scalability is quite good. We have approximately 100 users and the size of the volumes range from 20 terabytes to 100 terabytes. Our total volume is a little bit less than 500 terabytes. We have not found any bottleneck in our current configuration.

At this time, we don't plan on increasing our usage but it may change in a few years.

How are customer service and technical support?

The web support for FreeNAS is good.

We also use TrueNAS and find that the technical support by iXsystems is great.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We also use TrueNAS, which is exactly the same product but it is commercially supported and it has technical support included.

Prior to this, I also worked with a similar solution from NetApp. I prefer FreeNAS over NetApp.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is quite easy. The deployment took us about two weeks.

What about the implementation team?

I deployed this solution on my own.

What was our ROI?

We do not calculate ROI for this solution but I can say that it gives better value than similar solutions by NetApp.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

For our configuration, we pay a little bit less than €10,000 ($12,000 USD) per year. The only other costs are for the hardware in the data center.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I also have experience with storage solutions from Nexenta and DataCore, which I evaluated at the same time as FreeNAS. In our trial, we found that you can migrate from Nexenta to FreeNAS very easily.

What other advice do I have?

One of the improvements in the most recent version is the support to better control the temperature of the equipment. For example, we are able to retrieve and monitor the temperature of devices easily.

My advice to anybody who is considering this solution is to think about what level of support is needed. FreeNAS is web-based, community support, whereas TrueNAS has more reliable support. Either way, the product is stable.

The biggest lesson that I have learned is not to store a large number of snapshots. This solution allows for unlimited snapshot capability, although even for just one month, this can take a lot of storage space. If you maintain years of snapshots then, in my opinion, it is not efficient.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

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**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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