Hardware Requirements

FreeNAS® is enterprise-class storage software designed with data protection as the primary objective. Hardware selection is critical for FreeNAS to be able to achieve this goal. FreeNAS is built to run on commodity x86 hardware. The basic guidelines given here range from bare minimum requirements to full-fledged business-ready systems. Enjoy!

Basic Requirements

  • Boot Device8 GiB is the absolute minimum. 16 GiB is recommended.
  • 64-bit hardware is required for current FreeNAS releases. Intel processors are strongly recommended.
  • 8 GB of RAM is required, with more recommended.
  • FreeNAS was the last release that supported 32-bit hardware and UFS filesystems.
  • SSDs, SATADOMs, or USB sticks can be used for boot devices. SSDs are recommended.
  • 8 GB of RAM is the absolute minimum requirement. 1 GB per terabyte of storage is a standard starting point for calculating additional RAM needs, although actual needs vary. ECC RAM is strongly recommended.
  • Directly-connected storage disks are necessary for FreeNAS to provide fault tolerance. Hardware RAID cards are not recommended because they prevent this direct access and reduce reliability. For best results, see FreeBSD Hardware Compatibility List for supported HBA disk controllers. LSI/Avago/Broadcom HBAs are the best choice with FreeNAS.
  • NAS-specific hard drives like WD Red are recommended.
  • Intel or Chelsio 1 GbE or 10 GbE Ethernet cards are recommended.

Small FreeNAS for a Few Users

  • Multicore 64-bit processor
  • 8 GB or larger boot drive
  • 8 GB RAM
  • One Ethernet network port
  • At least one hard disk for storage

Home Media Server or Small Office File Share

The iXsystems FreeNAS Mini® and Mini XL® meet these specifications.

  • Multicore 64-bit processor
  • 16 GB boot drive
  • 16 GB RAM
  • One Ethernet network port
  • At least two hard disks for storage

Business-Class Systems

When using FreeNAS in a business setting, hardware requirements are defined by capacity, performance, reliability, and support needs. To remove the guesswork from this process, iXsystems offers pre-configured FreeNAS® Certified Servers using fully-qualified hardware.

For critical applications where downtime is unacceptable, iXsystems also offers the TrueNAS® Storage Appliance, featuring full enterprise support, High Availability, tuned performance, and a much greater degree of scalability.


Typical Requirements for Small and Medium Businesses

  • One to four enterprise-class 64-bit multicore processors
  • Two mirrored 16 GB boot drives
  • 32 GB ECC RAM
  • At least four hard disks for storage (enterprise SATA/SAS drives recommended)
  • High-performance SSDs for read acceleration if the most-requested data does not fit into RAM and there is high random read load.
  • High-endurance SSD write log device (SLOG) for synchronous writes only (devices with Power Loss Protection (PLP) recommended). Two devices can be mirrored if uninterrupted performance is critical.
  • At least two 1 GbE or 10 GbE Ethernet ports
  • If support is required, consider iXsystems TrueNAS® Enterprise Storage Arrays.