Is there a need for open source storage software? Just look at the forecasts.
According to a study by EMC and IDC, the amount of data stored on digital systems is doubling every year. In 2012, the world's computers stored 2.8 ZB worth of data, which will increase to 40 ZB by 2020. To put that in perspective, 40 ZB is the equivalent of 57 times the number of all the grains of sand on all the beaches on earth.
As the amount of data continues to grow, storing and managing all that data becomes increasingly challenging for both businesses and home users. Fortunately, the open source community has developed a number of tools that can help with the data explosion. And many of those tools are mature enough that they can be considered viable replacements for expensive commercial products.
Here are 56 open source applications for enterprises, SMBs and home users that can replace other storage tools. And if you know of other open source software that should be on our list, feel free to note it in the comments section below.
FreeNAS counts The United Nations, The Salvation Army, Reuters, Michigan State University and Disney among the more than 5 million users who have downloaded the software. It turns standard hardware into a BSD-based storage appliance with features like replication, data protection, encryptions, file sharing and more. Operating System: FreeBSD
Owned by Red Hat, Gluster is a highly scalable, distributed file system that allows users to cluster together numerous storage boxes. Designed for enterprises and "big data," it offers storage virtualization capabilities and can support up to 72 brontobytes worth of data and thousands of clients. Operating System: Linux
This project allows users to create their own NAS storage appliance for sharing files across multiple operating systems. Features include ZFS v28, Software RAID (0,1,5), disk encryption, S.M.A.R.T and more. Operating System: FreeBSD
Openfiler offers unified storage capabilities that combine the benefits of NAS with the benefits of a SAN. The site claims most users should be able to use it with commodity hardware to set up a storage appliance within 15 minutes. Paid support is available. Operating System: Linux
Designed for home or SMB use, this NAS solution boasts simple setup, an intuitive Web-based interface, monitoring capabilities and more. It's based on Debian Linux and includes services like SSH, (S)FTP, DAAP media server, RSync and a BitTorrent client. Operating System: Linux
Turnkey offers dozens of pre-configured appliances that aim to make it easy to use various open source applications. Several are related to storage, including the CouchDB, MongoDB, File Server and Torrent Server appliances. Operating System: Linux
Replaces RAID storage devices
With DRBD, organizations can turn their networked storage devices into high availability clusters. It essentially applies RAID Level 1 at a network level. Support and training are available through LinBit. Operating System: Linux
Replaces RAID storage devices
Designed for home media storage systems, SnapRAID adds redundancy to a disk array so that it can recover from a failure of up to two separate disks. It's applies a non-standard RAID format that works best with large files that change infrequently. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X
Short for "Advanced Maryland Automatic Network Disk Archiver," AMANDA allows organizations to backup their networks to tape, disk or optical media. A company called Zmanda now sponsors the project and offers cloud-based backup based on AMANDA. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
10. Areca Backup
While AMANDA offers network-based backup for businesses, Areca is a good option for home users backing up a single system. Key features include encryption, compression, delta backup support, filters, as-of-date recovery, email reports and more. Operating System: Windows, Linux
This enterprise-grade network backup solution offers fast performance with minimal I/Os. It uses pooling and compression to minimize the size of backup files, and it offers advanced management features for IT administrators. Operating System: Windows, Linux
Designed for enterprises, this network backup solution offers highly advanced capabilities and claims to be the most popular open source backup solution available. A group called Bacula Systems offers paid support for users who want it. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X
Clonezilla's developers originally envisioned this app as a free replacement for Norton Ghost. It offers backup, recovery and cloning capabilities for networks or standalone systems with multicasting available in the SE edition. Operating System: Linux
At just 220KB, this backup tool for home users is exceptionally lightweight and fast. It supports multiple languages and includes an easy-to-use scheduling tool. Operating System: Windows
FOG is a networked-based cloning tool that can backup Linux and Windows systems to a Linux server. It's powerful, easy to use, and scalable with the ability to back up 2 to 20,000 systems. Operating System: Linux, Windows.
Partimage can back up standalone systems, networks or disk partitions. According to the website, it's advantages include its fast performance, destination flexibility, fast and simple restores, and no recovery of deleted files. Operating System: Linux
Aimed at home users, Redo Backup and Recovery boasts very simply operation and bare-metal restores that take as little as 10 minutes. It's a very popular option that's been downloaded more than 750,000 times. Operating System: Windows, Linux
This client-server backup software promises backups that don't interfere with your current work and fast restores. It includes a Web interface to simplify the process of setting up your backup server. Operating System: Windows, Linux