FreeNAS vs Rockstor

FreeNAS and Rockstor are Open Source network-attached storage operating systems that support SMB shares, Copy-on-Write, and snapshots. Each operating system provides a web interface for easy management and both feature a plugin system for managing additional applications.


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.


Rockstor began development in 2012 and is based on CentOS Linux and the BTRFS filesystem. Rockstor utilizes Docker containers to support additional plugin functionality which it calls “Rock-ons”.

Overview FreeNAS 11.1 Rockstor
Ease of Use Graphical User Interface Graphical User Interface
Documentation User Guide, How-To Videos, Training Videos User Guide
Certified Hardware Available Yes No
Open Source Licence 2-clause BSD LGPLv2
Base Operating System FreeBSD 11.1-STABLE CentOS Linux
File System OpenZFS BTRFS
Architecture 64-bit 64-bit
Downloads Over 10 million 148,600+
Development Language Python, Angular Python, Javascript
Open Source Repository
Core Developers 33 Rockstor
Forums 62,500+ users and over 434,000 posts 1,920 topics
YouTube Community Videos 61,800+ results 5,900 results
Social Media 25,000+ Facebook likes, 10,300 Twitter followers, 3,400+ Google+ members 328 Twitter followers
Restorability Download/Upload configuration file, default settings restore, boot environments Configuration backup/restore (experimental)
Built-in Visual Reporting CPU, disk, memory, network, processes, uptime, iSCSI, ZFS CPU, memory, disk, network, shares
Supported Disk Configurations Stripe, mirror, RAIDZ1, Z2, Z3, hot-swap RAID0, 1, 5, 6, 10
Third Party Application Support Plugins, Jails, Bhyve VMs, Docker VMs Rock-ons
GUI Configurable File System Features Compression, deduplication, instantaneous snapshots, remote replication, disk encryption compression, snapshots (beta), share replication, disk encryption
Alert Services GUI and email alerts, integration with AWS-SNS, Hipchat, InfluxDB, Slack, Mattermost, OpsGenie, PagerDuty, VictorOps email alerts
Built-in Sharing Protocols SMB, NFS, AFP, WebDAV SMB, NFS, AFP, WebDAV
Built-in Block Protocols iSCSI none
Other Built-in Protocols rsync, FTP, TFTP, LLDP, SSH, DDNS, SNMP rsync, SFTP, SSH, SNMP (beta)
Built-in Cloud Synchronization Amazon S3, Azure, Backblaze B2, Google Cloud
Built-in Directory Services Active Directory, LDAP, Kerberos, NIS Active Directory, LDAP, NIS
Built-in Hardware Protocols S.M.A.R.T., UPS S.M.A.R.T., UPS
Built-in Virtualization Bhyve, Docker none

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