FreeNAS vs Nexenta

FreeNAS and NexentaStor are storage operating systems based on OpenZFS. Both support the SMB and NFS sharing protocols, and disk encryption.


FreeNAS is an operating system that can be installed on virtually any hardware platform to share data over a network. FreeNAS is the simplest way to create a centralized and easily accessible place for your data. Use FreeNAS with ZFS to protect, store, and back up all of your data. FreeNAS is used everywhere, for the home, small business, and the enterprise.


Nexenta’s product NexentaStor is software for network-attached storage (NAS) and storage area network (SAN) services. NexentaStor was derived from the Nexenta OS based on the illumos operating system. The software runs on commodity hardware and creates storage virtualization pools consisting of multiple hard disk drives and solid-state drives. Data can be organized in a flexible number of filesystems and block storage, and files can be accessed over the widely used Network File System (NFS) and CIFS protocols, while block storage uses iSCSI or Fibre Channel protocols. NexentaStor allows online snapshots to be taken of data and replicated to other systems. For high availability Nexenta uses RSF-1 cluster to build a HA storage.

Overview FreeNAS 11.3 Nexenta
Ease of Use Graphical User Interface Graphical User Interface
Documentation User Guide, How-To Videos, Training Videos User Guide, training
Certified Hardware Available SoHo and Business Yes
Open Source Licence Primarily 2-clause BSD Commercial, requires paid license
Base Operating System FreeBSD 11.3 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 25+ Nexenta
Forums 66,500+ users and over 550,000 posts
YouTube Community Videos 134,000+ results and 22K+ subscribers 2,140 results
Social Media 28,800+ Facebook likes, 13,700 Twitter followers 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
Encrypted Storage Support Software Disk Encryption, Self-Encrypting Drives (SED), and Dataset Encryption in TrueNAS CORE 12 Self-Encrypting Drives (SED)
Third Party Application Support Plugins, Jails, bhyve VMs, Docker VMs none
API REST, websockets REST
Alerting Services GUI, email, and SNMP alerts, integration with AWS-SNS, InfluxDB, Slack, Mattermost, OpsGenie, PagerDuty, VictorOps Graphical dashboard
Built-in File Sharing Protocols SMB, NFS, AFP, WebDAV SMB, NFS
Built-in Block Storage Protocols iSCSI iSCSI, Fibre Channel
Other Built-in Network Protocols rsync, FTP, TFTP, LLDP, SSH, DDNS, SNMP SSH, SNMP
Built-in Cloud Synchronization Amazon S3, Backblaze B2, Box, Dropbox, FTP, Google Cloud Storage, HTTP, Hubic, Mega, Microsoft Azure Blob Storage, Microsoft OneDrive, pCloud, SFTP, WebDAV, Yandex OpenStack, Cloudstack
Built-in Directory Services Active Directory, LDAP, Kerberos, NIS Active Directory, LDAP
Built-in Hardware Protocols S.M.A.R.T., SCSI Enclosure Services (SES), UPS none
Built-in Virtualization bhyve, Docker vCenter plugin
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