Ten suggestions for free storage software that works


There’s nothing like free software to save some drain on your storage management or data protection budget — if that free software works, of course.

Here are 10 storage utilities you can download and start using to manage your storage-area network (SAN), deploy network-attached storage (NAS) or monitor and assess the privacy of your network.

While the software listed here is freely downloadable, it is offered mostly as an enticement to try that vendor’s other software or hardware. Products such as Brocade’s SAN Health Diagnostics Capture and SAN Health Professional may whet your whistle for the company’s subscription-based Change Analysis and SAN Health Expert. They will also make you a target for a telephone-based sales pitch on the company’s other products. In most cases to download the software, you’ll first need to supply your name, e-mail address and a phone number to the vendor’s database and if the vendor is doing things right, you can expect that call within weeks of downloading the software. Some utilities, such as the Amanda backup utility and the FreeNAS deployment software, are truly offered without strings. … That’s not entirely true — for an additional charge, you can purchase support for Amanda from Zmanda.

Network World hasn’t tested these products and can’t be held responsible for their effect on your network or on your storage (in)sanity.

1. Brocade

Product: SAN Health Diagnostics Capture and SAN Health Professional .

Description: SAN Health Diagnostics Capture generates reports on the health of your SAN that is strung together with Brocade and McData switches. The software runs on any Windows workstation that has TCP/IP connectivity to the management port on the Fibre Channel switch. The SAN Health Professional is a data analysis framework that allows monitoring of all the switches in the SAN and the configurations of all the connected devices.

2. Sourceforge.net


Description: FreeNAS is an operating system that can be used to convert a PC to a NAS system. It provides disk management capabilities and RAID protection and supports the Unix/Linux Network File System and Windows Common Internet File System. FreeNAS was developed by Oliver Cochard-Labbe, an IT consultant in France. Cochard-Labbe, who heads up support for FreeNAS on SourceForge, estimates that the software is downloaded about 1,000 times a day.

3. IBM

Product: Omnifind Yahoo Edition .

Description: Omnifind Yahoo Edition is a software-based search capability that lets IT administrators search both enterprise networks and the Internet from a single interface. It supports as many as 500,000 documents and more than 200 file types. The software supports wildcard and Boolean searches. It runs on any workstation that has a 1.5GHz processor, 1GB of RAM and 80GB of disk space, running Windows or Red Hat or SUSE Linux.

4. Neopath Networks

Product: Fileyzer .

Description: Fileyzer is software that lets IT administrators analyze the files on Windows file servers and NAS devices. It presents the information in a graphical manner, showing administrators how storage can best be utilized and letting them recover wasted storage. Fileyzer works on Windows XP SP2 workstations that have 512MB of RAM and 10MB of disk space.

5. Nimbus Data Systems

Product: MySAN iSCSI Server .

Description: MySAN lets an IT administrator create an iSCSI SAN from existing servers and storage hardware. It turns a Windows hard drive or array into an iSCSI target. Users can download Microsoft’s free iSCSI driver and load it on the Ethernet adapter located in the server to connect the server to the iSCSI storage system. The software requires a Windows Server 2003 SP1 machine with .Net 2.0 installed. The server must have an 800MHz processor, 512MB of RAM and 20MB of disk space.

6. Scentric

Product: Data Privacy Assessment Tool.

Description: The Data Privacy Assessment Tool will monitor the file system on your workstation or server and highlight possible security breaches. It looks for confidential and copyright information, credit card and Social Security numbers, objectionable content and payroll and health information. The software requires that Windows .Net Framework 2.0 is installed.

7. Sourceforge.net

Product: Amanda .

Description: Amanda (Advanced Maryland Automatic Network Disk Archiver) is a backup and recovery system for Unix and Windows servers and workstation. The software was developed by researchers at the University of Maryland College Park for their use and was released into open source in 1998.

8. Symantec

Product: Veritas Storage Foundation Basic .

Description: This free version of Storage Foundation combines Veritas File System and Veritas Volume Manager and allows the IT administrator to manage and monitor storage utilization across heterogeneous storage networks. The free version is limited to four data volumes or file systems and two processor sockets on a single physical server.

9. Symantec Product: Veritas Storage Foundation Management Server .

Description: Storage Foundation Management Server is a free add-on to Veritas Storage Foundation, which provides application, server and storage management capabilities for heterogeneous storage infrastructures. It provides a centralized management interface.

10. Xinit Systems

Product: Openfiler .

Description: Openfiler is a storage management operating system that lets IT administrators build NAS or iSCSI appliances from industry standard x86 and x86_64 servers. It supports the Unix/Linux Network File System and Microsoft’s Common Internet File System. It supports network directories such as LDAP and Microsoft’s Active Directory and includes Kerberos 5 authentication.


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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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