Sharing Configuration

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Once you have a volume, create at least one share so that the storage is accessible by the other computers in your network. The type of share you create depends upon the operating system(s) running in your network, your security requirements, and expectations for network transfer speeds.

NOTE: shares are created to provide and control access to an area of storage. Before creating your shares, it is recommended to make a list of the users that will need access to storage data, which operating systems these users are using, whether or not all users should have the same permissions to the stored data, and whether or not these users should authenticate before accessing the data. This information can help you determine which type of share(s) you need to create, whether or not you need to create multiple datasets in order to divide up the storage into areas with differing access and permission requirements, and how complex it will be to setup your permission requirements. It should be noted that a share is used to provide access to data. If you delete a share, it removes access to data but does not delete the data itself.

The following types of shares and services are available:

Apple (AFP) Shares: the Apple File Protocol (AFP) type of share is a good choice if all of your computers run Mac OS X.

Unix (NFS) Shares: the Network File System (NFS) type of share is accessible by Mac OS X, Linux, BSD, and the professional/enterprise versions (not the home editions) of Windows. It is a good choice if there are many different operating systems in your network. Depending upon the operating system, it may require the installation or configuration of client software on the desktop.

Windows (CIFS) Shares: the Common Internet File System (CIFS) type of share is accessible by Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and BSD computers, but it is slower than an NFS share due to the single-threaded design of Samba. It provides more configuration options than NFS and is a good choice on a network containing only Windows systems. However, it is a poor choice if the CPU on the FreeNASĀ® system is limited; if your CPU is maxed out, you need to upgrade the CPU or consider another type of share.

If you are looking for a solution that allows fast access from any operating system, consider configuring the FTP service instead of a share and use a cross-platform FTP and file manager client application such as Filezilla. Secure FTP can be configured if the data needs to be encrypted.

If data security is a concern and your network's users are familiar with SSH command line utilities or WinSCP, consider configuring the SSH service instead of a share. It will be slower than unencrypted FTP due to the overhead of encryption, but the data passing through the network will be encrypted.

NOTE: while the GUI will let you do it, it is a bad idea to share the same volume or dataset using multiple types of access methods. Different types of shares and services use different file locking methods. For example, if the same volume is configured to use both NFS and FTP, NFS will lock a file for editing by an NFS user, but a FTP user can simultaneously edit or delete that file. This will result in lost edits and confused users. Another example: if a volume is configured for both AFP and CIFS, Windows users may be confused by the extra filenames used by Mac files and delete the ones they don't understand; this will corrupt the files on the AFP share. Pick the one type of share or service that makes the most sense for the types of clients that will access that volume, and configure that volume for that one type of share or service. If you need to support multiple types of shares, divide the volume into datasets and use one dataset per share.

This section will demonstrate how to create AFP, NFS, and CIFS shares. FTP and SSH configurations are described in the Services Configuration section.

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