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The 6 best open source tools for IT workers

You should be utilising these projects

The employees who do the actual work in IT need all the help they can get; these open source tools are handier than most.

FreeNAS: Build your own nearline storage server

Every IT shop needs to provide network storage, and more and more shops are implementing SANs to achieve this goal. Commercial SANs are fairly expensive, but they also generally provide stability and support. However, the data stored on those expensive boxes is sometimes better suited to a less expensive device - things like system images, IT installation packages, or any number of other items that makes IT tick, but aren't mission critical. Offloading those things to a cheaper storage solution buys more space on the expensive gear.

The good news is that you can build a very capable nearline storage server for next to nothing with FreeNAS. Using a decommissioned server, or even a whitebox with a pile of cheap SATA drives, you can have FreeNAS up and running in a matter of minutes with the simple installation. You can access the data via CIFS, NFS, HTTP, FTP, TFTP, iSCSI - basically every file sharing protocol available - and the administration interface is on par with many commercial solutions. For basically the cost of some 1TB or 2TB hard drives, you can pack a ton of data on a FreeNAS box with minimal effort.

I can personally attest to each of these tools, as I've been reaping the rewards from their implementation for years and years and have deployed and configured them in IT organisations of just about every size. There's no time like the present to make your life easier and your infrastructure more robust - and these tools go a long way toward achieving those goals. After all, that's why they exist.

See also: Is Microsoft losing the open source battle?

  1. You should be utilising these projects
  2. Rancid
  3. FreeNAS

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