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Unraid vs Freenas


Unraid and Freenas are two Linux-based operating systems intended for home-built NAS and (home) servers, respectively. The biggest difference:

Freenas is free, Unraid has to be purchased once. Here we compare the two HomeServer / NAS operating systems in a table, followed by a conclusion.

OverviewFreeNas 11.3Unraid 6.9.2
PriceFreeFrom $59, one time
Certified hardware availableSoHo and BusinessNo.
File SystemOpenZFSXFS (default), BTRFS
Integrated visual statisticsCPU, disk, memory, network, processes, uptime, iSCSI, ZFSCPU,disk, memory, network, processes, uptime, Docker
Supported hard disk configurationsStripe,mirror, RAIDZ1, Z2, Z3, hot-swapStripe,single parity, dual parity
Support for encrypted storageSoftware Disk Encryption, Self-Encrypting Drives (SED), and Dataset Encryption in TrueNAS CORE 12  Software Disk Encryption, Command Line Self-Encrypting Disks
Alerting ServicesGUI,email, and SNMP alerts, integration with AWS-SNS,InfluxDB, Slack, Mattermost,OpsGenie, PagerDuty,VictorOpsGUI and email notification
Support for third-party applicationsPlugins,Jails, bhyve VMs, Docker VMsDocker,KVM, Qemu
Integrated file sharing protocolsSMB,NFS, AFP, WebDAVSMB, NFS,AFP
Integrated block storage protocolsiSCSINone.
Integrated cloud synchronizationAmazon S3, Backblaze B2, Box, Dropbox, FTP, Google Cloud Storage,HTTP, Hubic, Mega, Microsoft Azure Blob Storage, Microsoft OneDrive, pCloud,SFTP, WebDAV,YandexNone. (Possible via third-party provider)
Built-in Directory ServicesActive Directory, LDAP, Kerberos, NISActive Directory
Built-in Hardware ProtocolsS.M.A.R.T.,SCSI Enclosure Services (SES), UPSS.M.A.R.T.,UPS (APC)
Built-in Virtualizationbhyve,DockerKVM,Qemu, Docker
App StoreNo.Yes. (Community Applications Plugin)
Number of plugins8121
Docker available directly from the web interfaceNone.1193

Advantages found with Unraid and FreeNAS:

  • Easy to use
  • Interfaces
  • Virtual machine hosting
  • Hosting Docker/Containers

The advantages of FreeNAS:

  • Uses the mature and powerful OpenZFS
  • Standard RAID modes provide increased speed and fault tolerance
  • Fast performance without cache drives
  • Fault tolerance with only two drives

The advantages of Unraid:

  • Uses the maximum capacity of all data disks
  • Parity drives protect a large number of disks without reducing thereduce capacity
  • Easy file-level recovery
  • Data on working drives remains available during recovery
  • Saves power and extends drive life by shutting down unused drives

The disadvantages of FreeNAS

  • Fault tolerance severely limits capacity
  • No choice in file system

The disadvantages of Unraid

  • Mediocre performance without SSD caching

Unraid vs FreeNAS

Both FreeNAS and UnRAID are worthwhile solutions for creating your own file server. There is no clear answer to the question of which solution is better, and you will hear good arguments from proponents of both camps. FreeNAS is the better solution if you need Traditional Raid, while UnRAID is better if you are aiming for maximum capacity for non-critical data sets. We recommend SSD caching for both and your backup strategy will affect the equation.

Unraid Dashboard
FreeNAS Dashboard

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