Having a central location to store all your data on the local network can come in very handy when it comes to sharing your files and providing access for other users. FreeNAS is an open source solution that is very quick to setup. My main use for
FreeNAS is for creating shared storage for VMware ESX or ESXi hosts – a requirement when you want to use some of the vSphere clustering features like HA and DRS. I simply provision a VM that it runs on and use that to provide the storage in NFS (Network File System) format to my hosts. FreeNAS supports some great features. Namely – CIFS for Windows shares, FTP, NFS, iSCSI and many others. It also supports software RAID 0, 1, or 5 and is so small, you can even install it on a 64MB flash disk making it portable too.