NAS4Free is typically my goto OS when I need a spark up a virtual NAS quickly. It’s lightweight and simple to configure. I’ve never actually used it for any real production work on a physical box. I liked NAS4Free when it was still based off of the original FreeNAS, as the rewritten FreeNAS 8 was too buggy for my liking.
Unlike FreeNAS, NAS4free is aimed at lower end machines which means that I can deploy this to machines with very little RAM where ZFS would simply not work as ZFS requires a lot of memory for it’s caching. Sometimes I just need simple software multi disk RAID-10 or RAID-4 setup with no frills (e.g backup target).
Based on some testing even though the performance of the OS is similar to FreeNAS, FreeNAS simply offers a lot more features and management options. What should be simple tasks just take too much clicking. Sounds like NAS4Free will remain as a low end alternative for me, for now. One biggest gripe with this OS is that after performing failure tests, the OS didn’t send any kind of notifications.
– Very light, embedded install
– Fast UI
– Have to manually format and mount disks
– Creating UFS RAID 10 is a bit of a chore
– No failure notifications received