FreeNAS vs Nexenta

FreeNAS and NexentaStor are network-attached storage operating systems. Both support the SMB and NFS sharing protocols, the OpenZFS file system, disk encryption, and virtualization.


This Open Source project was started in October 2005 by Olivier Cochard-Labbé and quickly grew as a popular network-attached storage operating system. By September 2009, the development team realized that FreeNAS would need to be completely rewritten in order to incorporate modern features like a plugin architecture, updates to the base system, and a modern User Interface. To carry this out, the original FreeNAS Team transferred the project 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.


NexentaStor is derived from Nexenta OS, originally created by Alex Aizman and Dmitry Ysupov, and is based on the Illumian operating system with OpenZFS as the underlying filesystem. NexentaStor Community Edition is free up to 10TB of allocated storage and does not include all the features of the Enterprise version.

Overview FreeNAS 11.1 Nexenta
Ease of Use Graphical User Interface Graphical User Interface
Documentation User Guide, How-To Videos, Training Videos User Guide, training
Certified Hardware Available Yes Yes
Open Source Licence 2-clause BSD Community Edition requires registration of machine ID, Enterprise version requires paid license
Base Operating System FreeBSD 11.1-STABLE Illumian
File System OpenZFS OpenZFS
Architecture 64-bit 64-bit
Downloads Over 10 million Unknown
Development Language Python, Angular Closed source
Open Source Repository Closed source
Core Developers 33 Nexenta
Forums 62,500+ users and over 434,000 posts
YouTube Community Videos 61,800+ results 2,140 results
Social Media 25,000+ Facebook likes, 10,300 Twitter followers, 3,400+ Google+ members 2,100+ Facebook likes, 7,045 Twitter followers, 280 Google+ followers
Restorability Download/Upload configuration file, default settings restore, boot environments Boot environments
Built-in Visual Reporting CPU, disk, memory, network, processes, uptime, iSCSI, ZFS NFS, Fibre Channel, iSCSI, network, ZFS, SMB, CPU
Supported Disk Configurations Stripe, mirror, RAIDZ1, Z2, Z3, hot-swap Stripe, Mirror, RAIDZ1, Z2,Z3
Third Party Application Support Plugins, Jails, Bhyve VMs, Docker VMs none
GUI Configurable File System Features Compression, deduplication, instantaneous snapshots, remote replication, disk encryption Compression, deduplication, instantaneous snapshots, remote replication, disk encryption
Alert Services GUI and email alerts, integration with AWS-SNS, Hipchat, InfluxDB, Slack, Mattermost, OpsGenie, PagerDuty, VictorOps Graphical dashboard
Built-in Sharing Protocols SMB, NFS, AFP, WebDAV SMB, NFS
Built-in Block Protocols iSCSI iSCSI, Fibre Channel
Other Built-in Protocols rsync, FTP, TFTP, LLDP, SSH, DDNS, SNMP SSH, SNMP
Built-in Cloud Synchronization Amazon S3, Azure, Backblaze B2, Google Cloud OpenStack, Cloudstack
Built-in Directory Services Active Directory, LDAP, Kerberos, NIS Active Directory, LDAP
Built-in Hardware Protocols S.M.A.R.T., UPS none
Built-in Virtualization Bhyve, Docker vCenter plugin

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