FreeNAS is a great option for home or enterprise level network attached storage(NAS.) It is based on FreeBSD so it benefits from many of the unique BSD tools like jails. Jails are a secure way of segmenting a process. The plugins available run in jails to help with security. Installing FreeNAS itself is as simple as following the prompts. I'm not going to cover the base installation because it is simple, but will focus more on the post-install configuration. Note that the drive you install FreeNAS to can't be shared over the network. They recommend installing to a flash drive to use your space efficiently. If you have a small hard disk you can spare and have space in the computer I would go that route. Let's look at the things we should set up on our first round of configurations. We'll aim to get working shares up and running with less focus on security and permissions. We'll assume this computer is on a secure network and only exposed to trusted computers for now.
On boot, the FreeNAS computer will print to standard out the IP address it bound itself to. Visit that url with your web browser on a separate computer. Example: $ firefox http://192.168.1.67
- First things first, change the admin user password (and the name if you like.)
- Expand Users and click Add User
- Create a 'guest' user. Use defaults and fill out what is needed but make sure 'Disable Password Login' is checked. This user will be useful later when sharing. This actually creates a system level user that could even ssh in with proper permissions.
System & Network
Explore all of the system and network options available, but none of them require modifications for our goals of setting up some Windows and NFS shares.
- Expand the Storage element and then expand Volumes.
- Click View Disks and wipe the drive(s) you want to use. NOTE: In case you didn't know, this will erase all data. Make sure you are are ready for that.
- Create a volume with the Volume Manager. The Volume name is a description of the container that will hold one ore more hard disks. Select the disks you want to add to the volume. Use UFS for a system with low memory resources, or select ZFS for more features and more resource use. With ZFS you can add two 1.0TB drives to a single volume, and end up with about 1.8TB of storage, but your drives will be in a ZFS raid so if one drive fails, FreeNAS will alert you and the other drive will still have all the contents. You can add more drives to the volume from this screen later.
- While in the same area, choose a mount path for the volume.
- Set the mount point partitions to use Unix file permissions and set it to 777 (by checking all 9 of the checkboxes.) Alternatively, you can limit it to read access only if you desire.
- Expand Sharing and then Unix (NFS) Shares and click Add Unix (NFS) Share.
- Set Authorized Networks to 192.168.1.0/24 or whatever your network and mask should be. This example will allow everyone on my home network.
- Don't set any mapped user fields.
- Add the path to the volume mount that was set earlier.
- Expand Windows (CIFS) Shares and click Add Windows (CIFS) Share.
- Set the name and path like the previous share.
- Browsable to Network Clients should be allowed.
- Allow guest Access should be checked.
- Expand Services and click Control Services.
- Turn on CIFS and NFS at minimum.
- Turn on SSH, FTP, S.M.A.R.T. or anything else desired.
Beyond FreeNAS - Other Services
You may choose to install some other services to the machine that FreeNAS does not include. Here are a couple useful ones:
- Rygel - UPnP streaming media server. Great for streaming to a PS3 on the network.
- OwnCloud - Allows folder synchronization across multiple computers as well as bookmarks, streaming media, and calendar functionality. A great way to extend FreeNAS capabilities.
That is all we need to do to get a basic FreeNAS server set up. Everything can be configured through the Web GUI. It even provides a root shell if you really need to take control. There are many plugins available and some are waiting to be written by you!