Best homelab NAS OS ? TrueNAS / FreeNAS / UnRAID / OpenMediaVault / etc


I would like to have your opinion and also the pros and cons of NAS OS we can use for home/lab usage.

Personnally, I use UnRAID and I will explain why I choose this solution. I’m not a fan of the parity/protection process of UnRAIS vs ZFS, but I believe for home usage, the biggest disavantage of ZFS is the impossibility of adding rapidly new disks. As far as I know, to add storage, you must create new pool, and if you want add a “protected” pool, you must create a RAID0 pool, involving you must buy 2 new disks to add storage. For someone already having all his disks and … much more, it’s perfect. But when you plan to add new storage for example every year, it’s not perfect. In UnRAID, it’s very easy.

The main disavantage I have with UnRAID, it’s the impossibility or the “not supported possibility” to use it as a good storage solution as a VMWare datastore. NFS is not the best solution and iSCSI is not officially supported for now. I also feel TrueNAS/FreeNAS much more robust and enterprise grade.

Am I the only one living this dilemma ? Your experience … And also, if someone can convince me to switch to another solution, I must keep in mind to “store” my 10Tb data somewhere during the migration.

Thank you for sharing your experiences

OpenMediaVault isn’t in the same class of other well known NAS options, I see it as more of a glorified file server, at least that’s how I use it. It doesn’t compare well to my QNAP.

TrueNAS looks optimal but the cases for QNAP / Synology are very handy I don’t have space for a huge PC case.

I will say a few years ago, 6, QNAP / Synology were well priced but since they have gone up by 50%. It is now much cheaper to build your own, but that’s hassle.

I am using Unraid at home. As my big data is more a cold storage I am very happy that my disks are not running permanently and can spin down. Also playing with Docker (rare instances VMs) is/was way better den OpenMediaVault. Don’t know what development OMV made in the last years, because I switched to Unraid and never looked back.

I can’t say anything about your dilemma with VMware because at home I actually use only Docker and my VMware experience comes from my work. (VMware ESXi).

I am also supporting 2 very small businesses in m free time and for them I bought a Synology NAS. I wasn’t brave enough to build them a custom server. For them the Synology with encrypted shares and a unifi docker (+ pfsense box) is all they need.

As for FreeNAS. At the moment I see no use case at my home.

Your terminology at least or maybe understanding of how TrueNAS handles data is inaccurate I’d go and watch Tom’s videos on ZFS and read some of the docs on IXSystem’s site to get a better grasp on it. Essentially with TrueNAS you create a pool or pools and add vdevs which are groups of disks to the pool. The parity/data protection is done at the vdev level and its best practice to add vdevs in equal groups of disks ie if you have a pool with 4x8TB drives in Z1 then you should only add additional vdevs of 4x8TB+ drives in Z1 to increase the pool capacity. Yearly increases are fairly easy as you have the entire year to save up for the number of drive you decide to use for each vdev however you can’t just add single disks randomly like UnRaid apparently supports. I think TrueNAS/ZFS is the better storage system and is definitely more “enterprise” than UnRaid which seems to be geared more towards home users with a single home media server setup.As long as you can get on board with buying disks in groups and planning ahead ZFS is the better solution imho.