What is FreeNAS?
FreeNAS is an operating system that can be installed on virtually any hardware platform to share data over a network. FreeNAS is the simplest way to create a centralized and easily accessible place for your data. Use FreeNAS with ZFS to protect, store, backup, all of your data. FreeNAS is used everywhere, for the home, small business, and the enterprise.
What is ZFS?
ZFS is an enterprise-ready open source file system, RAID controller, and volume manager with unprecedented flexibility and an uncompromising commitment to data integrity. It eliminates most, if not all of the shortcomings found in legacy file systems and hardware RAID devices. Once you go ZFS, you will never want to go back.
What can I do with FreeNAS?
FreeNAS supports the most common file-sharing protocols: AFP, NFS, SMB/CIFS, WebDAV and also supports iSCSI (which can be configured for a SAN over Ethernet in virtualization applications). FreeNAS is compatible with Active Directory and can join an existing AD network or act as a domain controller. FreeNAS natively contains a hypervisor for hosting guest virtual machines and also supports various plug-ins for other purposes (for example: bittorrent, media streaming, cloud backup). In a nutshell, with FreeNAS you can host VMs, files, backup repositories, media libraries, databases, and much more.
Snapshots: Scheduled snapshots can be made of entire filesystems.
Replication: Save snapshots to a remote backup in case of catastrophic failure.
Encryption: Supports full-volume, AES-XTS encryption and supports AES-NI hardware acceleration.
Data Protection:through ZFS's parity protection and mirroring options.