FreeNAS is an open source BSD operating system based on the FreeBSD distribution and designed to provide users with NAS (Network-Attached Storage) services. It is distributed as installable-only minimalistic CD ISO images and deployable on both 64-bit and 32-bit architectures. It support CIFS (Common Internet File System), FTP (File Transfer Protocol) and NFS (Network File System) protocols, fully configurable via a web-based interface.
There's no graphical desktop environment
Being a minimal FreeBSD distribution, FreeNAS doesn't feature a live desktop environment. Therefore, it can only be used by system administrators who want to deploy stable and reliable Network-Attached Storage (NAS) services. FreeNAS uses the powerful ZFS filesystem for new installations. The entire installation will take only a minute. After that, you can reboot the machine and use the operating system, which will automatically configure your hardware components during the boot process.
Distributed as a hybrid CD-sized ISO image
The CD image can be written to a blank CD disc or on a USB stick. It will provide users with the ability to boot into multi user or single user modes, use the command-line programs that are available on the disc, and configure various boot options. If you choose one of the first two options, you’ll be greeted by a text-mode console setup wizard that allows users to install the operating system, upgrade an existing FreeNAS installation, use a shell prompt, as well as to reboot or shutdown the machine.
It can be configured using a web-based interface
After the operating system starts, users will be able to configure the network interfaces, link aggregation, VLAN interface, default route, static routes, and DNS, reset the login credentials of the web interface, reset the system to factory default, drop to a shell prompt, as well as to shutdown or reboot the computer. From here, your FreeNAS server’s web-based interface can be easily accessed via any modern web browser, using the URL provided after the boot process.