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I'm about to get a NAS for my home, and I'm thinking about FreeNas as opposed to a commercial solution, but I'm open to the most convenient and smooth solution

The single most important thing I want is being able to add the disks in the nas to a storage pool and then have that pool mapped in e.g. Windows, as a single disk, like on Windows Home Server. Is this even possible? If so, how would it be done?

If I were to get a commercial solution, what would you recommend that has this feature? I'm thinking about a Synology ds1511+, would that work? I recall something about a storage pool setup with ISCSI on that NAS, but I have no idea as to how one would go about that.

Any ideas on how to achieve this?

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This is an essential feature for any NAS device. For FreeNAS, the best way to achieve this is by using ZFS as the file system.

With ZFS, you add physical drives to a virtual device (a vdev), and pick the way the drives are combined (mirrored, aggregated, or RAID-Z). Then one or more vdevs are added to a storage pool, known as a zpool.

With a newly created zpool, you need to specify the file system mount point, and then create directories as needed. Network shares (e.g., SMB/CIFS shares) expose these directories to the other computers on the network.

This might sound a bit involved, but it can all be done from FreeNAS's web interface. I'd recommend getting comfortable with your setup of vdevs and zpools before committing data to the NAS. iSCSI can also be set up from the web interface. I don't have any experience with this, but this question has more info.

Version 8 of FreeNAS is a complete re-write of version 0.7. So, at the moment, version 0.7 still has more functionality.

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+1 for Version 7. –  surfasb Aug 12 '11 at 23:02

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