8 Best Free and Open source NAS or SAN software (2019)

NAS aka Network Attached storage devices help to overcome storage problems and gives your data a centralized place. A place where people can access and share the data 24×7 through the network.  There are lots of companies that offer Software + Hardware NAS boxes which are basically an out-of-box NAS solution, for example, Qnap and Synology are two veteran NAS vendors.

The cost of NAS boxes depends on the features such as the amount of storage, RAM, CPU etc. But if you want to convert your old system into a NAS box without spending hundreds of bucks then here is the solution. The Opensource Linux NAS software is light Linux Distros but enough power to handle your storage problem. You can build your own NAS server for your small business by using an old or new server/PC hardware. Here is a list of some best open source NAS Linux Operating system available on the Internet.

You can use the NAS box along with some software like OwnCloud to create personal home cloud storage solution. The personal cloud solution helps you to sync your personal files directly from the desktop to mobile devices. You can also listen to your songs and watch movies on the mobile phone those are stored on your NAS or personal desktop, while on the go using the internet connection. Here are 6 open source personal cloud solutions. 

Best Free NAS Software: Linux Based

If you don’t want to go through the whole article, then here is a quick view of the NAS operating system list. All are listed according to their popularity.

  1. FreeNAS
  2. NAS4Free / XigmaNAS
  3. OpenMediaVault (OMV)
  4. Openfiler
  5. Rockstor
  6. Nexenta Community Edition
  7. Amahi
  8. CryptoNAS


FreeNAS is a most popular free and open-source NAS operating system that has enterprise-class features and enterprise-ready ZFS open source file system.  It can be installed virtually as well as on hardware to create a centralized data environment. The interface it provides is very intuitive (web interface). It supports Windows sharing SMB/CIFS, NFS and Apple file shares (AFP), FTP, iSCSI. Besides this, it also supports plugins to extend its functionally such as CouchPotato, SickBeard, SABnzbd, Maraschino, HTPC Manager, etc.

Freenas open source

One thing should be noticed before installing this OS on some Old specs system is that it needs a good amount of RAM to work, especially when you planning to install a ZFS file system. Website Link

NAS4Free / XigmaNAS

NAS4Free is an Open Source Storage NAS (Network-Attached Storage) distribution based on FreeBSD. Earlier it was known as NAS4Free but in 2018 its developer has renamed it to XigmaNAS. XigmaNAS supports sharing across Windows, Apple, and UNIX-like systems.

It includes ZFS v5000 , Software RAID (0,1,5), disk encryption, S.M.A.R.T / email reports etc. with the following protocols: CIFS/SMB (Samba), Active Directory Domain Controller (Samba), FTP, NFS, TFTP, AFP, RSYNC, Unison, iSCSI (initiator and target), HAST, CARP, Bridge, UPnP, and BitTorrent which is all highly configurable by its WEB interface.

Nas4free free and opensource NAS project

It supports ZFS and encryption services. The web interface is not much user-friendly and one may find some difficulty while navigating and extending its functionality through plugins.

Website Link

OpenMediaVault (OMV)

OpenMediaVault is very solid network-attached storage (NAS) solution based on Debian Linux. It can be your choice if you do not want ZFS.  The services it provides are SSH, (S)FTP, SMB/CIFS, Rsync, BitTorrent client, DAAP media server,  and much more.  It is based on Debian which means you will get frequent updated and patches. Its plugins directory is not much vast but still evolving at a good pace and will keep home users happy. The web interface it possesses is very clean and user-friendly.

OpenMediaVault (OMV) NAS storage

Website Link

Rockstor: Opensource Private Cloud & NAS Server

Rocktsor is based on Centos Linux and BTRFS to provide NAS and cloud storage. It built on a rock-solid CentOs which is another good thing.  It supports BTRFS which is a filesystem like ZFS to provide high data integrity and security.  It can use as a personal cloud server and SMB Cloud Server with a clean and simple web GUI

Rocksto: Opensource Private Cloud & NAS Server

Personal Cloud Server

Rockstor Personal Cloud Server allows you to create your own local private cloud to reduce the risk and cost of the public cloud.


  • Reduce cost
  • Effectively scale capacity, manage privacy and performance
  • Access data from desktops, laptop or mobile devices from anywhere.
  • Move data between public cloud, Rockstor, and your devices

SMB Cloud Server

Rockstor Small and Midsize Business (SMB) Cloud Server is a special build for small businesses that require the capacity of several hundred Terabytes to capture the business demands. You can save you crucial business data on Rockstor SMB cloud server and less sensitive data on the public cloud. This practice will decrease the cost and increase the security of data. Also, an organization doesn’t need to rely completely on an expensive public cloud.

Helpful resource: How To Install Rockstor NAS On Ubuntu/Debian in Virtual Machine

Features of SMB Cloud Server:

  • Build your Private Cloud Storage with a hybrid workflow
  • Seamlessly integrate with public cloud storage
  • Scale your storage as needs

Website Link

Openfiler Community edition

Openfiler is another enterprise-level NAS/SAN Distro like FreeNAS.  It can easily convert your old system into IP-based storage. Openfiler provides some very useful features such as iSCSI target for virtualization, Fibre Channel target support and block-level replication.

Openfiler Community edition

You might face some update problems with it. Also, the operating system on which it based is rPath Linux distribution which not updated since 2008 which makes it not a very reliable choice but you can lay your hands upon it for learning or to fork out some new NAS software distro.

Website Link

Nexenta Community Edition

Nexenta’s edition is a free edition which basically a community version of a commercial storage product. The free version can support up to 18TB of storage. It gives ZFS support and based on open Solaris called Illumos. As it is a strip version of the commercial product so you don’t have worry about updated, stability and support.

nexentafusion NAS OS

It can be very useful for very small business and home users with limited features but if you’re looking for big enterprise grid functionality then you have to go for commercial Nexenta

Website Link


Amahi cannot be considered as NAS operating system instead of NAS it is a well-known Home server. It is a community version built around the commercial version.

It is a home server with tons of apps and plugins to expand the functionality such as WordPress, Plex media server, OpenVPN, Own could and more. It handles your entertainment, storage, and computing needs.

Amahi home media server

You can store, organize and deliver your recorded TV shows, videos, and music to media devices in your network. It is based on the most popular distros Fedora & Ubuntu. As it is not a full-fledged NAS so don’t use it for your critical or top-secret data. Also, we cannot rely completely on their cloud system they are providing because we don’t know how much secure it is.

Website Link

Some other open-source NAS/SAN projects

ESOS – Enterprise Storage OS

Enterprise Storage OS is a quasi Linux distribution based on the SCST project. Its purpose is to provide SCSI targets via a compatible SAN (Fibre Channel, InfiniBand, iSCSI, FCoE). For

Website Link

Openattic: Open Source Ceph and Storage Management

openATTIC is an Open Source Ceph and storage management solution for Linux, with a  focus on storage management in a data centre environment. The project is sponsored by SUSE.



A cloud storage gateway and filesystem.



PetaSAN is an open-source Scale-Out SAN solution. PetaSAN is designed from the ground up to do one thing: provide highly available clustered iSCSI disks.



CryptoNAS is web-based NAS server OS formerly known as CryptoBox. This NAS project is especially focused on-disk encryption.  It comes as CryptoNAS live-CD and  CryptoNAS-Server package.

CryptoNAS live-CD: The live CD can use to encrypt data without bothering about complicated technical issues. A computer running on live-CD works as a file server (NAS) that encrypts your private data.

CryptoNAS-Server package adds a user-friendly, web-based front end for hard disk encryption to an existing file server.


Website Link

Note: The CryptoNAS has not been updated for last 7 year, so this would not be a trustworthy project. For just a knowledge purpose it is here.

Other Useful Resources:


  1. Nimo April 5, 2017
    • Heyan April 5, 2017
  2. Gunnar May 13, 2017
  3. Heylel Teomim July 20, 2017
  4. ccc July 27, 2017
    • Heyan July 27, 2017
  5. NiccyB February 6, 2018
    • Some Guy August 6, 2018
  6. CarrotyPltn February 8, 2018
  7. Adriano Mendes May 7, 2018
    • H2S Media Team May 7, 2018
  8. Maged Mokhtar July 5, 2018
    • H2S Media Team July 5, 2018
  9. - January 22, 2019
    • Damian March 10, 2019
  10. Bill Cornish September 28, 2019
  11. james lott October 28, 2019
    • H2S Media Team October 28, 2019

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.