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On this page you will find information about free, open source and proprietary network attached data storage operating systems, i.e. sofware turning a system or server into a file server.

1. Free and Open Source NAS Operating Systems



Amahi is a free and open-source Home Server built on Fedora Linux that provides:

  • Media streaming
  • Shared Storage (disk pooling technology is handled by Greyhole)
  • Automated backups
  • File Sharing
  • Disk Monitoring
  • One-click apps
  • Secure VPN
  • Shared applications like calendar and wiki.

Amahi Linux Home Server makes your home networking simple and manages basically the networking and backup of all the computers, game consoles and other devices in your network, and provides secure access to your network from the internet. Amahi’s

The core functionality available in the base Amahi HDA install includes:

  • Protect Your Computers – Backup all your networked PCs simply and easily on your home network. If one of your PCs “dies” you can easily restore it!
  • Organize Your Files - Access, share and search your files from any machine on your network, making it easy to share and find your photos, music and videos.
  • Internet Wide Access - Automatically setup your own VPN so you can access your network from anywhere: safely and securely.
  • Private Internet Applications – Shared applications like calendaring, private wiki and more to come, will help you manage your home and your family!



CryptoNAS is a NAS project that concentrates on disk encryption for NAS servers. CryptoNAS, formerly known as CryptoBox, is a Linux-based LiveCD that incorporates encryption with a NAS server.

CryptoNAS aims to make NAS file encryption as easy and straight-forward as possible. It provides two packages:

  1. The CryptoNAS-Server package is targeted at network administrators and adds hard disk encryption to a file server (running Samba, NFS, DAV, etc.) and a user-friendly, web-based frontend for harddisk encryption to an existing fileserver.
  2. The CryptoNAS-CD is targeted at home users who want to set up an encrypting file server without bothering about complicated administration issues. CryptoNAS-CD allows for easy NAS device encryption and browsing through a web interface.

The CryptoNAS-Server can be installed on an existing Linux system with a minimum kernel 2.6, cryptsetup with LUKS support, kernel support for the crypt target of the device mapper, and Python 2.4. It runs on pretty much any Linux distribution, but the CryptoNAS developers only provide packages for Ubuntu and other Debian distributions.

Once an encrypted volume has been activated through the CryptoNAS web frontend, the server can be accessed on the local network via a SMB/CIFS share. The encrypted disk partitions are LUKS (Linux Unified Key Setup) volumes, which can be opened from any PC on the network by using FreeOTFE in Windows to decrypt and access the files, or directly with modern Linux systems.

The minimum requirements to run the CryptoNAS-CD is a 200MHz CPU with 64 MB RAM, a CD-ROM, a network connection, and a storage disk. The storage disk can be any drive supported by the Linux kernel (2.6.20), such as IDE, SCSI, USB, FireWire, SATA, and RAID.

It is important to remember, that if you switch off the computer on which CryptoNAS is running, that the encrypted hard drives on your NAS will shut down and it will be inaccessible until you reopen it again entering the correct passphrase. You must remember that as long as CryptoNAS is running with the disks mounted the data is unencrypted and the encryption key held on RAM memory, only if someone disconnects your NAS device (i.e. NAS device gets stolen) or you turn it off encryption will secure your data.


EON ZFS Storage

EON stands for Embedded Operating system/Networking. It is the first embedded Solaris ZFS (Zettabyte File System) Network Attached Storage distribution based on Opensolaris.

EON ZFS Storage is a RAM-based ZFS storage appliance running live from CCD/DVD, USB, CF or other devices, optimized to give you an embedded NAS storage appliance feeling. The appliance image provides a high performance 32 or 64-bit storage solution built on ZFS, using regular disks which eliminates the use of expensive RAID arrays, controllers and volume management software.

EON focuses on using a small memory footprint so it can run from RAM while maximizing the remaining free memory for ZFS performance. Running from RAM adds the advantage of being one hard disk greener in power consumption and removes the OS install disk as a point of failure. And if your hardware fails, no costly measures are needed to recover your precious data. Simply attach the disks to another machine with a ZFS capable operating system or EON.

EON, based on Solaris Express Community Edition (SXCE) OS (codenamed “Nevada”) offers rock solid, reliable, enterprise featured storage, with unlimited filesystem snapshots (version-ing or rollback points), transparent filesystem compression and de-duplication(duplicate elimination).



napp-it is the first free project of a browser-managed ZFS-server. It is a perl script that you install over an OpenSolaris, Nexenta or EON installation

napp-it is targeted to be a quickly installed, ready to run and easy to use browser managed appliance server for common internet, nas and san (INS) server needs.

napp-it can be used as:

  • base system with root ssh-access via putty, winscp and midnight commander file browser
  • SMB fileserver for MAC/ WIN workgroups and windows domains (OpenSolaris CIFS)
  • NFS and iSCSI SAN and iSCSI strorage for Apple’s Time-Machine (OpenSolaris comstar)
  • Apache webserver with perl, php and gd graphic library
  • MySQL database server
  • backup server




is an easy to use storage appliance, that harnesses the power of the ZFS filesystem. It provides enterprise class experience, with an easy to use web based interface to administer your file server. It features iSCSI support, unlimited incremental backups or ‘snapshots’, snapshot mirroring (replication), block level mirroring (CDP), integrated search within ZFS snapshots and a custom API.



OpenFiler is a full-fledged, NAS/SAN operating system, based on the rPath Linux distribution and released under the open source GPLv2 license. OpenFiler can be installed on PCs and servers, or can be alternatively be run as a virtual machine. Unlike FreeNAS, Openfiler requires ‘decent’ server hardware with minimum specs of 1GHz CPU, 2GB RAM, 10GB disk space and an Ethernet adapter.

Openfiler supports the SMB/CIFS, NFS, HTTP/WebDAV and FTP network protocols. Network directories supported by Openfiler include NIS, LDAP, Active Directory, and Hesiod. Openfiler also offers extensive sharing management features, such as multi-group based access control. Protocol settings and many other settings can be managed by a web interface.

OpenFiler can act as a simple file server, or if you want you can configure it as an iSCSI, or even a Fibre channel SAN. Not only that, but what sets it apart from other free NAS operating systems like FreeNAS is that you can actually configure Openfiler in a high Availability (HA), Active/Passive cluster for redundancy.

Thanks to commercial support, support for iSCSI, integration into LDAP and Active Directory, and other basic features for businesses, makes OpenFiler a much opted storage operating system  within enterprises.


The open network attached storage solution – Built to give your data a home.

OpenMediaVault (OMV) is a next generation network attached storage (NAS) solution based on Debian Linux. Though not released yet, OMV utilises the many strong points of FreeNAS, but instead of using FreeBSD as its base, it uses Debian

OMV aims to be a simple NAS solution for home environments which means that OMV is no router, firewall or storage solution for hundred of users. OMV has a modular design so it can be easily extended with plugins and other contributions from the community.

OMV contains services like SSH, (S)FTP, SMB/CIFS, AFP, UPnP media server, DAAP media server, RSync, DDNS, BitTorrent client and many more.

In summary: OpenMediaVault is primarily designed to be used in home environments or small home offices, but is not limited to those scenarios. It is a simple and easy to use out-of-the-box solution that will allow everyone to install and administrate a Network Attached Storage without deeper knowledge.

2. Proprietary NAS Operating Systems

This page list network attached operating systems that are not free (as in beer) and where the source code is not freely available (proprietary).

  • EuroNAS website
  • NASlite – website –  A low-cost commercial NAS operating system from the developers of NanoNAS.
  • NanoNAS – website
  • NexentaStor – website – A ZFS-based, proprietary and derivative operating system built by the developers of the open-source Nexenta that has been optimised for use in virtualised server environments, supporting NAS,iSCSI and Fibre Channel.
  • Open-E – website
  • OSNEXUS – website
  • Windows Home Server (WHS) – website


EuroNAS GmbH, based in Germany, is a leading provider of data storage software solutions, and has developed a have developed a reliable, high-performance, hardware-independent business-class NAS Software that helps you to turn any PC or Server into a powerful NAS Server. EuroNAS is specially designed as simple to configure, robust, feature rich and scalable software for small and medium business. Their Premium 32-bit offers the reliability of enterprise-class software in an easy to use and cost-effective package. This makes it the perfect storage for all organisations that need a scalable, hardware-independent, inexpensive solution with high levels of data security and performance.


NASLite ($34.95) is a Network Attached Storage (NAS) server operating system designed to transform a basic computer into a dedicated file server. Utilising  optimised versions of Samba, uCLibc, BusyBox, and various other Linux tools, it provides SMB/CIFS, FTP, or NFS filesystem support. It accommodates multiple client OSes: Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. NASLite offers SMART disk monitoring and large file support, and is incredibly easy to install and administer.

NASLite-2 is a Network Attached Storage (NAS) Server Operating System designed to transform a basic computer into a dedicated SMB/CIFS, NFS, AFP, FTP, HTTP and RSYNC file server. The DAAP (Digital Audio Access Protocol) and UPNP (Universal Plug and Play) protocols are also supported. This gives you the ability to stream audio and video content, such as to iTunes, gaming consoles, and Windows Media Player

NASLite-2 boots from a variety of IDE, SATA SCSI, USB, FireWire or Hardware RAID devices and is intended for use in any application that requires the simultaneous availability of large amounts of fast and inexpensive networked storage. A single NASLite-2 server is capable of exporting terabytes of networked storage and can handle hundreds of networked users easily and efficiently, even when running on modest hardware.

The NASLite server suite is optimized to perform at maximum efficiency with minimum hardware requirements. It can be installed or booted directly to RAM, similar to LiveCDs but NanoNAS uses a floppy disk. Still it only requires at least 64MBs of RAM.

NASLite-2 offers unsurpassed versatility allowing full access to all its storage resources. Content can be accessed simultaneously using any of the supported protocols. Fully-automated monitoring and intelligent resource management make NASLite-2 an excellent performer in high-traffic storage applications. Daily mirror backups between local or remote drives ensure data safety. High performance and low maintenance have established NASLite-2 as one of the best investments in networked storage. Using NASLite-2 is simple and a perfect solution for both home and business.

By design, NASLite-2 is a community workgroup server and does not support features such as user management, disk quotas or the ability to join domains. However, it is very easy to set-up, to administer and to use.

Similar to CryptoNAS, NASLite isn’t a full-fledged NAS server. It does not offer user management, disk quotas, or the ability to join domains. However, it is probably more than enough for home and small business networks. | Freshmeat Page | Wikipedia page


NanoNAS ($9.95) is designed to fit on a single floppy disk, NanoNAS is perhaps the most compact 32-bit NAS OS available. NanoNAS is intended for use in any low-security environment or application that requires the simultaneous availability of large amounts of inexpensive networked storage. A single NanoNAS server is capable of exporting terabytes of networked storage and is capable of handling 50 or more networked users easily and efficiently even when running on modest hardware. By design, it is a community workgroup server and does not support features such as user management, disk quotas, or the ability to join domains. However, it is very easy to set-up, to administer, and to use.

NanoNAS is v2 of the Linux distribution NASLite. For x86-based computers, with PCI interface, the entire OS fits onto a 3.5 inch floppy disk, providing a way of using the computer as network-attached storage. It supports serving files to clients running Windows, Linux or Mac OS X. Other versions are available which support different networking protocols, or booting the operating system from CD-ROM, USB Mass Storage device or hard disk drive. All versions of NASLite and its variants, contain GPL’d and proprietary components. The GPL’d components are available to the end user per the GPLv2.

NanoNAS turns its target machine into a simple file server. Since file serving takes up very little processing speed as opposed to network speed or hard drive speed, it is able to run on comparatively old computers with little processing power. As it runs from a floppy disk, hypothetically all (usually four) IDE channels can be used for harddrives. NanoNAS can also support additional IDE controller cards.

NanoNAS has two variants supporting different file serving protocols. The NanoNAS CD-ROM can run in two modes, both booting off and saving the configuration settings to floppy disk. The NanoNAS SMB mode supports SMB/CIFS and HTTP, primarily for Windows clients. The NanoNAS AFP mode supports AFP and HTTP and is designed for Mac OS X clients.

Since it is based on Linux, NanoNAS (like other Linux distributions) supports new larger hard drives that often are not supported by older machines, by bypassing the BIOS and directly accessing the harddrive(s), greatly increasing the usefulness of an older computer for serving large amounts of data.

NanoNAS runs well on obsolete hardware, but requires at least a computer with PCI interface. Other minimum requirements are a Pentium CPU, 32 MB RAM, a PCI megabit ethernet card, IDE hard disk drive, and a conventional floppy disk drive. | Freshmeat Page



Open-E is develops IP-based data storage software. Their software turns any server into a SAN or NAS appliance. The products have the ability to support a variety of protocols, such as iSCSI, Fibre Channel or Infiniband and offers automatic failover for high availability and business continuity.

Open-E has key features such as:

  • Enhanced Graphical User Interface
  • Symantec Backup Exec backup agent
  • Basic API Configuration
  • Windows Server 2008 Clustering Support
  • Hardware RAID Support
  • Volume and Data Replication
  • Multiple Network Interface Card (NIC) Support
  • Fibre Channel Support
  • Multi-CPU Support


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