FreeNAS vs Openfiler

High Level Comparison

Both FreeNAS and Openfiler are open source storage operating systems/projects that support many of the same features like CIFS, SMB, and NFS sharing protocols. The operating systems provide a web interface for easy management with additional command line capabilities.


Started in October 2005 by Olivier Cochard-LabbÈ, FreeNAS is a free and open-source software network-attached storage (NAS) system based on FreeBSD and the OpenZFS file system and is licensed under the terms of the BSD License. In September 2009, the development team realized that FreeNAS would need to be completely re-written in order to incorporate modern features like a plug-in architecture, updates to the base system, and an up-to-date User Interface. To carry this out, the FreeNAS Team transferred the project over to iXsystems, who moved from a m0n0wall and PHP-based architecture to one based on FreeBSD’s NanoBSD embedded build system, the Python programming language, the Django CMS, and the dojo JavaScript toolkit.


Openfiler is a CentOS Linux Based storage operating system (Linux Kernel 2.6) that supports NAS & SAN functionality. Openfiler ensures that storage administrators are able to make the best use of system performance and storage capacity resources when allocating and managing storage in a multi-platform network. Openfiler provides key features such as iSCSI target for virtualization, Fibre Channel target support, block level replication, and High Availability that are the mainstay of any business critical storage environment.

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Overview FreeNAS 11.1 Openfiler
Ease of Use Advanced UI, Very Little Command Line Required UI, Some Command Line Required
Storage Experience Required Some Recommended (less) Some Recommended (more)
UNIX Command Line Only Experience Required Minimal Moderate
Documentation Complete Manual & User Guide Wiki
Languages Supported 49 5
Educational Resources Professional Training/Certification Available None
How-To Videos Yes None
Certified Hardware Available Yes No
Professional Support Available Yes (on iXsystems hardware) No
Professional Training Available Yes No
Professional Certification Available Coming Soon No
Open Source Yes Yes
Base Operating System FreeBSD 11-STABLE CentOS Linux
File System OpenZFS v5000 w/ feature flags (UFS available on <v9.3 ext3, JFS, XFS
64 Bit Hardware Supported Yes Yes
32 Bit Hardware Supported Yes (on <v9.3) Yes
ARM Architecture Support No No
Installation Method Flash Module or Hard Disk Flash Modules or DVD/Disc
Project Activity
Active Developers 49 2
Project Activity Very High None (as of April 2015)
Project Commits 17,000+ 505
Development Language Mostly Python Mostly PHP
Lines of Code 450,000+ 52,000+
Commits in Past Year 3,800+ 0
Project Community
Open Source Repository
Core Developers 49 2
Forum Activity Higher Low (Closed to new registration)
Forum Members 27,000+ Not available
Forum Posts 170,000+ Not available
YouTube Community Videos 38,000+ 4,300+
IRC Channel #FreeNAS on Freenode #openfiler on Freenode
Facebook Page 20,000+ Likes 386+ Likes
Twitter 5,700+ Followers 98+ Followers
Google+ 2,800+ Followers 1 Follower
Graphical User Interface (GUI) Yes Yes
UI Speed/Responsiveness Fair Good
Setup Wizard Yes No
Downloadable/Uploadable Configuration file Yes Yes
Default Settings Restore Yes Yes
Visual Reporting Yes Yes
Simple IP Management Yes Yes
Web-based Volume Management Yes Yes
Online Upgrades Yes Yes
RAID Levels Supported (ZFS) ZFS Stripe*, ZFS Mirror, RAIDZ1, Z2,Z3 n/a
RAID Levels Supported (UFS) RAID 0, 1, 5, 6*, 10, 50, 60* (on <v9.3) RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5, 6, 10, 50
Hot-Swap Hard Drives Yes Yes
Encryption support Yes TrueCrypt
Third Party Services (Plugins) Yes Command Line Only
Web API Yes No
Compression lz4, gzip, zle, lzjb No
Deduplication Yes No
Snapshot management In Web UI In Web UI
ZFS Replication In Web UI n/a
Remote Replication In Web UI Manual
Root-on-ZFS Yes n/a
Boot from RAID-Z Yes n/a
ZFS Import/Export to Other Systems Yes n/a
Export/Import pool Yes No
Mirrored Boot drive Yes No
ZFS Monitoring (email) Yes n/a
SSD TRIM Support Yes No
Live CD Option No No
Protocols, Utilities, and Directory Services
NFS (Supported Versions) Yes (v3, v4) Yes (v3, v4)
Apple Shares (AFP) Yes No
iSCSI Management Yes Yes
Kernel iSCSI Yes No
rsync Yes Yes
FTP Yes Yes
TFTP Yes Yes
WebDAV Yes Yes
Unison Yes No
SSH Yes Yes
Dynamic DNS Yes Yes
UPnP Command Line Only Command Line Only
Active Directory Integration Yes Yes
Active Directory Domain Controller Yes No
LDAP Yes Yes
Kerberos Yes Command Line Only
NIS Yes Command Line Only
NT4 Yes Command Line Only
S.M.A.R.T. Yes Yes
SNMP Yes Command Line Only
UPS Integration Yes Yes
Virtualization Support
Virtualization Host Support KVM/XEN/VMware/VirtualBox Xen/VMware
VirtualBox Guest Support Yes No
Hyper-V Guest Support Yes No
KVM Guest Support Yes Yes
ESXi Guest Support Yes Yes
ESXi (VMXNET3) support Yes No
VMWare Coordinated snapshots Yes No
VMWare VAAI Support Yes No
Third Party Plugins & Additional Services
Bacula network Backup Server Plugin Available No
BT Sync Plugin Available No
CouchPotato Movie Downloader Plugin Available No
Crashplan Plugin Available No
Crucible WDS Plugin Available No
Firefly Media Server Plugin Available No
HTPC-Manager (graphical HTPC software manager) Plugin Available No
LazyLibrarian eBook Downloader Plugin Available No
Maraschino XBMC HTPC Web Interface Plugin Available No
MediaBrowser Media Center Plugin Available No
MineOS Minecraft Server Plugin Available No
Mylar (Comic Book Downloader) Plugin Available No
Owncloud Plugin Available No
Plex Media Server Plugin Available No
s3cmd Amazon S3 backup utility Plugin Available No
Sabnzbd Plugin Available No
Sickbeard PVR Plugin Available No
Subsonic Plugin Available No
Syncthing Plugin Available No
Transmission (BitTorrent client) Plugin Available No
XDM eXtendable Download Manager Plugin Available No