3 Open Source Storage Software Alternatives For Beginners

open source storage software

Build Your Own Storage Solution!

Reflecting on my trip to VMworld in 2009, I recall storage was already moving to the forefront of virtualization technologies.

Hmm…has much changed in 5 years considering VMware’s announcement at VMworld 2014 was about VSAN? But stop right there because I’m not going to talk about VSAN right now. There’s something much more important I want to share today!

Newbie Alert: This is especially important for beginners to know about!

Do you know there are 3 storage options that most vendors are not talking about?

No, these are not the traditional scale-up or scale-out storage solutions that host big booths at conferences. Nor are they the big brands that dominate Tech-blogs.

In fact these storage solutions are very low-key and their names are hardly known. And the most interesting tidbit I can say about these storage alternatives is they are free

Well, anyways the software is free.

What’s a FREE storage software include?

As I was reviewing the website of each of the 3 software options, I was surprised to find many of the key features big storage brands offer were also available, free.

Storage features such as:

  • encryption
  • snapshots
  • file sharing
  • de-duplication
  • and even an API

Actually, I found they all had a lot of interesting whistles and bells if you can handle breaking the traditional storage mold and thinking outside the box!

Here’s a thought for the IT manager reading this post. Maybe instead of donating all those old servers you should be turning some of them into storage heads and mounting them to white-box storage shelves?

Open Source Storage Software

Let’s not waste anymore words getting to why you are reading this post.

1. Ceph

Ceph has been making waves across the open source community because of its adoption by OpenStack as their De Facto Storage solution.  Source: OpenStack Summit 2013

Whether or not Ceph is the right storage software choice for you would depend on your environment. In my investigation it does seem like Ceph is very much tailored to the OpenStack platform and KVM virtualization. This combination does fit well if you are a Linux shop.

Ceph: OpenStack Summit 2013

2. FreeNAS

Next on the list is FreeNAS, which boasts on their website to be loved by: REUTERS, Disney and even Dr. Phil.

FreeNAS has a full feature set that is tailored for home and business usage. The free version of their storage software looks very user-friendly but is not certified for VMware or Citrix, but I’m guessing it will probably work okay for lab testing.

Although, I also want to note FreeNAS has a paid version, TrueNAS, which does claim to include VMware certification and Citrix validation.

open source storage software

FreeNAS Features

3. Openfiler

Finally, there is Openfiler which I have seen in action. First as a VMware Openfiler VM that was presenting an iSCSI target to MSSQL as backup storage. And second, as a dedicated ESXi storage system hosted on old Dell 2950 servers each loaded with 3TB of local storage.

Creating a Free iSCSI SAN with Openfiler


In my comparison, I did find Openfiler and FreeNAS had more in common with each other than with Ceph. Both seemed similar to the look and feel of NetApp Ontap with FreeNAS running FreeBSD and Openfiler running Linux with management through a web interface. Whereas, Ceph was all command-line for more advanced users.

Why should you care?

I know open source storage is not for everyone but big names are using innovative storage options to save money which is why beginners should at least know who’s in the game.

Let’s recap.

  • Ceph looks very sophisticated and seemed to be the most complex. From my review on their website, Ceph’s not for the newbie.
  • FreeNAS was straight forward and from the videos I viewed about the installation, it seemed easy to setup and configure.
  • Openfiler was similar to FreeNAS and had similar features as well as a simple to install wizard beginners can follow.

So there you have it – 3 FREE storage software alternatives for you to download today! I also suggest you take a look at why storage engineer skills are HOT so you don’t miss out a growing trend!

  • 22


  1. magedmokhtar

Leave a Reply

vSphere Data Protection EOA
Finding The Best vSphere Backup Replacement For VDP (3 Alternatives)

Important Notification: vSphere Data Protection (VDP) End of Availability (EOA) That...

vSphere 6
8 Updates That Make vSphere 6 Better – Keith Barker

Editor’s note: Keith Barker has been a CBT Nuggets Trainer since 2012. Some...

VMware Interview Questions
25 VMware Interview Questions And Answers: Tough & Technical (Download PDF)

Free VMware vSphere Interview Guide In this VMinstall Guide, I’ll share...

Project Photon
VMware Project Photon: Technical Review for Linux Admins

My quick and dirty review of Project Photon. I was very happy...

The Best Blockchain Jobs
10 Best Blockchain Jobs Near You (Perfect Match For DevOps Skills)

We’ll cover the best Blockchain jobs in a minute but first, let...

DevOps Plan
Best DevOps Strategy Hack (Winners Start With Why)

As IT Leaders, we’re all looking for innovative ways to improve ourselves,...

DevOps Tools Download
DevOps Toolchain: Download 3 Free Tools Used By Pros (Ansible, Git, Jenkins)

Hack Your Resume with DevOps Skills Lately, I’ve been getting a...

DevOps Guide
The Best Microsoft DevOps Skills: 25+ For Windows SysAdmins

What is Microsoft DevOps? This is an interesting question because first off,...

Shift to the Cloud – Will It Shift the Jobs by Danish Wadhwa

Editor’s note: Danish Wadhwa is a strategic thinker and an IT Pro....

VULTR Reviews
VULTR Review – Best 2018 VPS Alternatives (25 PROs CONs & FAQs)

Should Your App, Website or Blog be Powered by VULTR VPS?...

Assessing Your Company's Cloud Readiness
13 Cloud Readiness Assessment Tips To Guide Your Migration Success (Updated)

Planning your migration to the cloud? If you’re planning to move...

devops engineer skills
11 Best DevOps Skills: Finding The Elusive DevOps Engineer (Updated)

What It Takes To Be A DevOps Engineer in 2018 Growing Demand...

Nutanix Software
Nutanix Software: Find Out If Hyper Converged Infrastructure Is All Hype

Small. Fast. Smart. Hey, thanks for dropping in… If you’re looking...

What’s So Interesting About Woz U?

On 10/12/2017, I had the privilege of attending the AZ Tech...

TensorFlow Tools
TensorFlow Tools (7 Takeaways Toward A Deep Learning Career)

Intro: Deep Learning & A.I. Technology As a follow-up to my...

job rut
How To Get MOVING When You’re Stuck In A Career Rut (Video)

You worked hard to get your degree and after graduation you...

VULTR Reviews
VULTR Review – Best 2018 VPS Alternatives (25 PROs CONs & FAQs)
Website for Small Business
Best Small Business Website Packages (6 Alternatives That Rank!)
Rise of the Robots
Rise Of The Robots Review (You Won’t Guess What’s Going On!)
Click here to learn how to Optimize WordPress Speed
WordPress Speed Optimization: Learn To Rank Higher In Google