This article compares FreeNAS with NextentaStor Community. They are both storage operating systems, FreeNAS being based on FreeBSD.


RGB_FreeNAS_Shark_Logo_Onlight_Lg nexenta

High Level Comparison

FreeNAS and NexentaStor Community are Storage Operating Systems that support many of the same features like CIFS, SMB, NFS, and iSCSI protocols. Each system works with OpenZFS (v5000) with feature flags, most virtualization platforms, and have support, training and certification available.


Started in October 2005 by Olivier Cochard-Labbe, FreeNAS is a free and open-source software network-attached storage (NAS) system based on FreeBSD and the OpenZFS file system and is licensed under the terms of the BSD License. In September 2009, the development team realized that FreeNAS would need to be completely re-written in order to incorporate modern features like a plug-in architecture, updates to the base system, and an up-to-date User Interface. To carry this out, the FreeNAS Team transferred the project over 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 Community Edition

Alex Aizman and Dmitry Ysupov created the Nexenta OS project after Sun Microsystems released the bulk of its Solaris operating system under free software licenses as OpenSolaris. NexentaStor is derived from the former Nexenta OS and based on the illumos operating system, utilizing OpenZFS as an underlying filesystem. The software delivers unified file and block storage services to consumers. NexentaStor Community edition is free up to 18TB of raw storage and does not include all the features of the professional version.

If you have any updates or corrections to this page, please contact us at web[at]

FreeNAS NexentaStor Community Edition
Overview FreeNAS 9.3 NexentaStor Community Edition
Ease of Use Advanced UI, Very Little Command Line Required Advanced UI, Very Little Command Line Required
Storage Experience Required Some Recommended (less) Some Recommended (less)
UNIX Command Line Only Experience Required Minimal Moderate
Documentation Complete Manual & User Guide Complete Manual & User Guide
Languages Supported 49 US English Only
Educational Resources Professional Training/Certification Available Professional Training/Certification Available
How-To Videos Yes Yes
Certified Hardware Available Yes No
Professional Support Available Yes (on iXsystems hardware) Yes
Professional Training Available Yes Yes
Professional Certification Available Yes Yes
Open Source Yes No
Base Operating System FreeBSD 9.3-STABLE Illumos
File System ZFS v5000 w/ feature flags (UFS available on <v9.3) ZFS v5000 w/ feature flags
64 Bit Hardware Supported Yes Yes
32 Bit Hardware Supported Yes (on <v9.3) Yes
Project Info
Active Developers 49 14
Project Activity Very High Moderate
Project Commits 17,000+ 274
Development Language Mostly Python Mostly shell
Lines of Code 450,000+ 17,722
Commits in Past Year 3,800+ 100+
Community Info
Open Source Repository Not Available
Core Developers 49 Not Available
Forum Activity Higher Lower
Forum Members ~27,000 Not Available
Forum Posts ~170,000 Not Available
YouTube Community Videos 38,000+ 1,500+
IRC Channel #FreeNAS on Freenode #Nexenta on Freenode
Facebook Page 20,000+ Likes 2000+ Likes
Twitter 5,700+ Followers 5,700+ Followers
Google+ 2,800+ Followers 280+ Followers
Graphical User Interface (GUI) Yes Yes
UI Speed/Responsiveness Slower Faster
Downloadable/Uploadable Configuration file Yes No
Default Settings Restore Yes No
Visual Reporting Yes Yes
Simple IP Management Yes Yes
Web-based Volume Management Yes Yes
Online Upgrades Yes Yes
RAID Levels Supported (ZFS) ZFS Stripe*, ZFS Mirror, RAIDZ1, Z2,Z3 ZFS Stripe*, ZFS Mirror, RAIDZ1, Z2,Z3
RAID Levels Supported (UFS) RAID 0, 1, 5, 6*, 10, 50, 60* (on <v9.3) N/A
Hot-Swap Hard Drives Yes Yes
Encryption support Yes Yes
Third Party Services (Plugins) Built-in sandbox Yes
Web API Yes Yes
Compression lz4, gzip, zle, lzjb lz4, lzjb, gzip
Deduplication Yes Yes
Snapshot management In Web UI In Web UI
ZFS Replication In Web UI In Web UI
Remote Replication In Web UI In Web UI
Root-on-ZFS In Web UI Yes
Boot from RAID-Z Yes Yes
ZFS Import/Export to Other Systems Yes Yes
Export/Import pool Yes Yes
Mirrored Boot drive Yes Yes
ZFS Monitoring (Email) Yes Yes
SSD Trim Support Yes No
Live CD Option No No
Protocols, Utilities, and Directory Services
NFS (Supported Versions) Yes (v3, v4) Yes (v3, v4)
Apple Shares (AFP) Yes No
iSCSI Management Yes Yes
Kernel iSCSI Yes Yes
Rsync Yes Yes
FTP Yes Yes
WebDAV Yes No
Unison Yes No
SSH Yes Yes
Dynamic DNS Yes No
UPnP Command Line Only No
Lighttpd Command Line Only Yes
Active Directory Integration Yes No
Active Directory Domain Controller Yes Yes
LDAP Yes Yes
Kerberos Yes Yes
NIS Yes No
NT4 Yes Yes
S.M.A.R.T. Yes Yes
SNMP Yes Yes
UPS Integration Yes Yes
Virtualization Support
Virtualization Host Support KVM/XEN/VMware/VirtualBox KVM/XEN/VMware/VirtualBox/HyperV
VirtualBox Guest Support Yes Yes
Hyper-V Guest Support Yes Yes
KVM Guest Support Yes Yes
ESXi Guest Support Yes Yes
ESXi (VMXNET3) support Yes Yes
VMWare Coordinated snapshots Yes Yes
VMWare VAAI Support Yes Yes
Third Party Plugins & Additional Services
Bacula network Backup Server Plugin Available No
BT Sync Plugin Available No
CouchPotato Movie Downloader Plugin Available No
Crashplan Plugin Available No
Crucible WDS Plugin Available No
Firefly Media Server Plugin Available No
HTPC-Manager (graphical HTPC software manager) Plugin Available No
LazyLibrarian eBook Downloader Plugin Available No
Maraschino XBMC HTPC Web Interface Plugin Available No
MediaBrowser Media Center Plugin Available No
MineOS Minecraft Server Plugin Available No
Mylar (Comic Book Downloader) Plugin Available No
Owncloud Plugin Available No
Plex Media Server Plugin Available No
s3cmd Amazon S3 backup utility Plugin Available No
Sabnzbd Plugin Available No
Sickbeard PVR Plugin Available No
Subsonic Plugin Available No
Syncthing Plugin Available No
Transmission (BitTorrent client) Plugin Available No
XDM eXtendable Download Manager Plugin Available No

*Can be applied to any disk or raid group
**Certain configurations only