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FreeNAS or CentOS for server


I’m looking to build a server for my footage. I’m planning to edit off the server as well to a group of editors and compositors. Which of the above do people recommend?



What you expect the server to do? If it is just act as a ZFS file store - use FreeNAS (IMHO).

ZFS on CentOS will be more screwing around (it’s not installed by default, etc.) and to be honest the native ZFS in FreeNAS/FreeBSD is probably more mature and performant. It also sets up scheduled scrubs, has email alerts for disk issues, etc, etc. all pre-canned out of the box.

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I would probably agree with @thro - Freenas. I think for an end user its pretty much ready to go (with some research), has a nice gui, and has a decent amount of documentation.

The only caveat I have is if you have a background with centos or RHEL , and your happy to roll your own then that’s probably going to be option. I think through if this was the case we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

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Worth noting that if want to do other server type stuff, FreeNAS also has jails or VMs available, so you could even spin up a Centos VM on it if you wanted to.

And still get the FreeNAS sane zfs defaults, alarms, detailed reporting, friendly gui for setting up the array, pools, etc. Plus full snapshot/roll back of your CentOS VM, Freenas already has rollback for boot environment, etc.

Honestly, if you’re setting it up primarily as a storage appliance type device, there’s no way in hell i’d recommend doing it on CentOS as the base platform. It will just be a lot more screwing around for a harder to manage and maintain end result that probably performs worse.

If you already had CentOS and were doing other things primarily on the server that might be different…

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Definitely FreeNAS and I would consider Synology depending on your level of expertise. FreeNAS has a somewhat steeper learning curve, especially if you’re managing the hardware yourself (as opposed to buying a prebuilt from iXsystems).



If you plan on using it like a NAS, FreeNAS is great. Even for advanced usage.

If you actually plan a Server (other uses than file storage like, Webserver, Mail, Virtualisation, etc) I’d go with Linux myself. FreeNAS can do most of it, but i’m personally more familiar with running Linux Servers for such stuff.

I wouldn’t choose CentOS though. We have to run it on several Servers and i’m not a huge fan. My personal choice would be Debian or Ubuntu Server depending on usecase and expected lifetime.
CentOS has always been a tad to old and clumsy for my taste. I’ll give it stability though. If it does what you need, most of our CentOS Servers have no hiccups what so ever. They do their job without major maintenance needed for years on end.



proxmox… it has ZFS included.



I haven’t dabbled in ZFS yet, as i don’t have the money to build a “test system” with the hardware requirements ZFS recommends. But on a Server that does a particular job (Webserver etc.) i’m not sure i’d need ZFS anyways. But i could be wrong.

I’m personally just not a huge fan of servers that are only configured with a webinterface. It might be a tad oldschool, but i like to configure my servers through the shell. I think any graphical configuration tool or Desktop for that matter is unnecessary overhead on a server :wink: But that’s just me.



Yeah… well Microsoft is making a Terminal again. They call it ‘terminal’ and made a marketing video for it as if they released a new iPhone. Cant be that old-school… ^^

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The beauty of doing Linux or other VMs on FreeNAS though as opposed to bare metal is that you get full snapshot support on the entire OS. Essentially a single FreeNAS box with VMs on it can act like a poor-mans virtualisation cluster (compute+storage).

package manager or OS upgrade fucks up? roll back the VM/jail to the ZFS auto-snapshot you took an hour ago…

need to test? clone the VM or snapshot the thing and go nuts. all VM server upgrades or play-time become essentially risk free.

FreeNAS itself does boot environment snapshots before upgrades so they are almost risk free as well.