FreeNASFreeNAS is an open source operating system exclusively built to serve the purposes of implementing a small Network Attached Storage (NAS for short) device. NAS devices allow for centralization of data, data backup, and collaboration. The beautiful part, besides it’s being free, is the ease in setting it all up.

At TTU we have begun using a FreeNAS server for organizing all of our files that are commonly used throughout our department. One of the issues that kept coming up within our department was versioning control (people using different versions of the same document). We were also struggling to keep all of our files that we commonly shared in one central location. It was not uncommon for one person to go on vacation and inadvertently lock us out of accessing documents that we all needed access. FreeNAS allows one central location for all of these solutions. FreeNAS’s features really shine in its versatility. With FreeNAS, one can connect to the NAS as a shared network drive, an ftp server, and many other useful methods that meet a wide variety of operating systems needs. With FreeNAS we can insure proper backup either by using a hardware RAID or the built in software RAID.

As one can already see the possibilities for education are pretty varied and wide. It for one can offer life to legacy hardware by turning older machines with lower power processors into centers for data management. A NAS does not need the heavy computing power that many other services need. FreeNAS can also be fun from a usb drive or compact flash drive further reducing its footprint. FreeNAS offers efficiency and access to files from either work, home, or abroad. It offers a method for sharing files that would other wise have to be handed off physically or broken into chunks and sent through email. It also gives schools the opportunity to centralize their documentation and backup. When combined with backup software one can greatly decrease the likelihood of data loss due to hardware failure. It also offers integration with LDAP and local user authentication and restriction control. All in all the software provides another free and easy to configure alternative to expensive projects.

This is a review by rschapman. Bold by me.