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CentOS and FreeNAS

Mitch discusses the advantages and disadvantages of two popular Linux distros, CentOS and FreeBSD.

Here at 45 Drives we have a few characteristics that are at the core of our identity, and one of those is being as transparent and open as possible. This comes through in many different ways, whether it be breaking down the cost of our servers to show exactly what our customers are buying, to our Github which includes any and all scripts and playbooks we use to support our products.

Keeping that in mind, then it makes perfect sense that we love open source and free software here at 45 Drives that we can then tailor to customers’ needs, and without the use for any expensive licensing fees. The Linux is much more secure when compared with something like Windows, and it doesn't require resource hungry antivirus programs for your piece of mind. Another reason why we love Linux so much is just how lightweight the installation can be; so this allows us to allocate much more horsepower of your server towards applications that our customer may want to use.

So Linux comes in many different flavors or distributions, and our favorite here is CentOS. CentOS is a community driven effort that uses sources provided to it by Red Hat. CentOS aims to be fully functionally compatible with Red Hat Linux, which is sent to us as upstream Source, and is as close to enterprise level as it can be while still being free and open source. Since it's built on Red Hat, it uses only the most stable software packages. This helps greatly for things like system stability, which is a huge for us because most of our customers are using these servers in things like mission-critical situations, and so stability is absolutely key. We love using CentOS with ZFS for our storage arrays because it allows for so much flexibility to add other services or add-ons which can act as sort of all-in-one solution for many of our business needs.

So the next operating system we're going to talk about today is FreeNAS. So FreeNAS is built on FreeBSD which is another Unix-like operating system, with a few key differences. So the main key differences are the way it distributes to software packages and the way it manages the source code. So FreeNAS is another very flexible lightweight operating system that can be installed on virtually any hardware platform. So it's built with the main purpose in mind to share data over a network, where as we manage our CentOS systems on a command-line.

FreeNAS includes a fully-featured in robust graphical interface that can be accessed through your web browser. So FreeNAS, just like our implementation of CentOS uses ZFS as the underlying storage architecture. So FreeNAS has all the things you'd expect in a fully featured enterprise storage solution such as SMB, NFS, I-scuzzy, AFP, as well as FTP. So FreeNAS also supports something called jails which are essentially lightweight virtual machines that are isolated from the host system. So this allows FreeNAS to support many third-party applications that it wouldn't be able to normally. Even still, when it comes to a user that requires many different services running on their storage server, I would still recommend going with CentOS.

So that was a little bit about the two main operating systems we support here at 45 Drives, and a little bit on why we like them so much. If you have any questions or comments, we definitely suggest you leave it down below. I really appreciate you guys watching and we'd like to see you next week for another tech tip.

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