FreeNAS Review

No data are lost when a hard drive fails


What is our primary use case?

I use it primarily for backup and for transfer of very large files between Windows and Linux computers on my LAN.

How has it helped my organization?

The ease and reliability of transferring data is a big plus. I use this feature all the time now. Also, the reliability of the backup is reassuring.

What is most valuable?

The fact that no data are lost when a hard drive fails. I have had two of five drives fail at one time, and no data were lost.

What needs improvement?

Make it easier to find out how to fix things when something goes wrong. There is pretty good documentation, but sometimes it is difficult to find the right solution. When a hard drive has failed, it usually takes me quite a while to find out how to replace it. Since it is usually a very long time between occurrences, when it does happen, I have forgotten how to do it, and where I found the answers last time.  

Since there is so much storage, backing it up to another drive (e.g. before doing a major upgrade) over the LAN takes a VERY long time.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Extremely stable, provided that your hardware is rock solid (I am talking about the mainboard, SATA cables, etc. not the hard drives themselves

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is scalable to an extent. However you cannot simply add more drives without reinstalling (at least as far as I can tell -- I could be wrong).

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support was excellent when I was first setting it up, but now it has been so long since I last needed it, I cannot say how it is today.  That in itself is a testimonial to the stability of the system

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

I have used WD network drives, but they are no where near as robust in the event of failure

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was quite complicated, but I had excellent support from IX Systems, even though I was using the free software

What about the implementation team?

In-house

What was our ROI?

I have not figured that out.

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

Since it is free (except for the hardware cost), and robust, I would advise others to use it. If the user is not technologically proficient, I might suggest TRUE NAS for a guaranteed turnkey solution

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

It was so long ago now that I cannot remember

What other advice do I have?

The only other alternative that I could suggest might be  a Cloud backup solution

Which version of this solution are you currently using?

9
**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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