Hardware Requirements

FreeNAS is enterprise-class storage software, designed with data protection as its primary objective, and the hardware you select plays an important role in helping it achieve that. FreeNAS is designed to be installed on commodity x86 hardware, and below are basic guidelines for designing your very own storage system, from bare minimum requirements for a functional system to full fledged business-ready hardware design. Enjoy!


Minimum Hardware Requirements:

These specifications will suffice to get a small FreeNAS install running reliably with moderate performance for a few users.

  • Multicore 64-bit* processor (Intel strongly recommended)
  • 8GB* Boot Drive (USB Flash Drive suffices)
  • 8GB* RAM
  • At least 1 direct attached disk (Hardware RAID strongly discouraged)
  • One physical network port

* FreeNAS no longer supports 32-bit hardware. The last FreeNAS Release with 32-bit hardware support was FreeNAS 9.2.1.9. This release also supported the UFS filesystem. Deployments on 32-bit hardware using UFS had lower hardware requirements of a 4GB boot device and 4GB of RAM. PLEASE NOTE that further security and stability updates to the 9.2.1.x branch are not guaranteed.


Recommended Minimum Hardware:

These are the specifications for a hardy home media server or small office file share. At this point, your FreeNAS device will have the resources to run third party services and provide respectable performance.

The iXsystems FreeNAS Mini Storage Device fulfills these specifications.

  • Multicore 64-bit processor
  • 16GB Boot Drive (USB Flash Drive suffices)
  • 16GB (ECC Recommended)
  • At least 2 direct attached disks (Hardware RAID strongly discouraged)
    • For best results, see FreeBSD Hardware Compatibility List for Supported Disk Controllers
  • Drives designed for NAS (such as WD Red drives) are recommended.
  • At least one physical network port (Intel Recommended)
    • For best results, see FreeBSD Hardware Compatibility List for Supported Ethernet Chipsets

Business-Class Hardware Recommendations:

When using FreeNAS in a business setting, the hardware requirements are much less defined by FreeNAS itself and more defined by your capacity, performance, reliability, and support needs.

To remove the guesswork from this process, iXsystems offers FreeNAS Certified Servers, which are pre-configured with FreeNAS using fully qualified hardware configurations.

For critical applications where downtime can’t be tolerated, iXsystems also offers theTrueNAS Storage Appliance, which features full enterprise support, High Availability, tuned performance, and a much greater degree of scalability.


Typical Requirements for Small and Medium Business:

Software Support from iXsystems can only be obtained by using TrueNAS

  • One to four Enterprise-class 64-bit multicore processors.
  • Two mirrored 16 GB Boot Drives (USB or SATA DOM recommended)
  • 32GB ECC RAM Minimum (1GB per TB of storage is a good rule of thumb but might need to be adjusted depending on workload/application)
  • At least 4 direct attached disks (Hardware RAID strongly discouraged. It reduces the data protection and recovery features of FreeNAS considerably.)
  • If necessary to add disks above what the motherboard supports, do not use RAID cards. Host Bus Adapters (HBAs) are recommended instead to give FreeNAS/ZFS direct access to the individual drives. LSI HBAs are the best choice with FreeNAS.
    • For best results, see FreeBSD Hardware Compatibility List for Supported Disk Controllers
  • Enterprise quality SATA/SAS hard drives are recommended.
  • High-endurance Flash/SSD-based write log device (ZIL) for synchronous writes only (Flash/SSDs with “Power Loss Protection” recommended). Two devices mirrored if uninterrupted performance is critical.
  • High-performance SSDs for read acceleration if the most-requested data doesn’t fit in RAM and the random read load is high.
  • At least two physical network ports. Intel recommended for 1GbE. Chelsio recommended for 10GbE.
    • For best results, see FreeBSD Hardware Compatibility List for Supported Ethernet Chipsets
  • If Support is required, consider iXsystems TrueNAS Enterprise Storage Arrays.