FreeNAS

Josh Paetzel from iXsystems has announced the availability of a new stable release, FreeNAS 8.0.4-RELEASE, of its open source FreeBSD powered network-attached-storage  (NAS) operating system.

Some of the main changes are

  • The image size increased in 8.0.1-BETA3. The new size requires a 2 GB storage device. The GUI upgrade can be used to upgrade a system from BETA3, BETA4, or RC1 but upgrades from earlier releases can only be done from the CD. The other option is to save the config, reinstall the new version, then restore the config.
  • FreeBSD can be really touchy with hardware. Please be sure to update your BIOS/BMC firmware when upgrading / installing FreeNAS if you run into OS hang issues. There have been cases identified where a BIOS upgrade has fixed driver hangs, and/or other issues with FreeNAS;
  • Previous builds were branded as i386/amd64 (32-bit and 64-bit respectively). 8.0.3-RC1+ rebranded the architectures as x86 and x64, respectively.
  • 8.0.1 and 8.0.2 images advertised CIFS shares to Macs by default but 8.0.3 and later images don't advertise CIFS shares by default. If you want to advertise CIFS shares in 8.0.3 and later, be sure to turn on "Zeroconf" support in the CIFS global settings.
  • Builds prior to 8.0.3-RELEASE with 'CIFS' didn't actually have AIO (asynchronous I/O) enabled. So, if you experience performance degradation after upgrading from prior versions of FreeNAS to 8.0.3-RELEASE or newer, turn off AIO or tune the AIO size from '1' to something more reasonable (the new default in 8.0.3-RELEASE-p1 is 4096 or 4kB).

For those interest in the FreeNAS 0.7 multimedia and streaming capabilities, you may download and install a CLI-only 8.0.4 "multimedia" release with support for Firefly media server, iTunes and Transmission bittorrent client. A multimedia GUI for these and other services and plugins will be available in a future version of FreeNAS.

More details about the update, including a full list of fixes and changes, can be found in the release notes. FreeNAS 8.0.4 is available to download for 32- and 64-bit systems, and documentation is provided.

Though the main development of FreeNAS (8) has been taken over by iXsystems, there are still improving and updating the previous 0.7 series. This due to some "home user features" that are missing from the FreeNAS 8 series (torrent downloading, streaming media, small footprint etc).

The latest release is FreeNAS 0.7.2.8191. Some of the changes included are:

  • Add DHX2 support. (AFP service)
  • Fix broken build. (iSCSI initiator module)
  • Improve ESXi5 compatibility. (iSCSI service)
  • Fix broken library. (UPnP service)
  • Add online version check. (Firmware)
  • Update translation files.
  • Default QueueDepth is 32. (iSCSI service)
  • Add zdb utility. (ZFS debugger)
  • Upgrade to FreeBSD 7.3-p7.
  • Upgrade istgt to 20111008. (ESXi5, 10GbE ready iSCSI target)
  • Upgrade mDNSResponder to 320.5.1. (Zeroconf/Bonjour)
  • Upgrade netatalk to 2.2.1. (AFP, TimeMachine for OS X Lion)
  • Increase image size.
  • Ignore an error in firmware check function.

Download or upgrade FreeNAS 0.7 from SF: http://sourceforge.net/projects/freenas/files/FreeNAS-7-Stable/0.7.2.8191/

The FreeNAS™ Team has announced the release of FreeNAS™ Version 8.0.1. FreeNAS™ 8.0.1 represents a major leap in functionality and stability for FreeNAS™ 8. Features added to FreeNAS™ in the 8.0.1 branch include S.M.A.R.T. and UPS services, USB 3.0 support, and OSX Lion AFP and Time Machine compatibility. In addition, cronjob support and rsync have been added to the GUI, and replication has been improved for increased data integrity.

In addition to the many back end changes and bugfixes, FreeNAS™ 8.0.1 also includes new front end user features. A new stoplight icon in the top right of the GUI functions as an alert system, keeping administrators in tune with the overall health of their installation. This icon is visible from every page of the GUI, and will change color in keeping with the condition of the system as indicated by the alert messages. Clicking the icon brings up a dialogue outlining which messages have keyed the alert.

The stoplight system will be most noticeable to new users and administrators booting a fresh install. As of 8.0.1, FreeNAS™ no longer has a default password, which will cause the alert light to flash red until one is added. This has the added security benefit of blocking SSH or root shell access until a root password is set by the administrator. The GUI also now includes a checkbox to set the root user shell password to be the same as the webGUI administrator's password, if desired.

8.0.1 includes another less immediately obvious, but still notable update - the ZFS deletion system now actually functions as a volume export utility. “Deleted” ZFS volumes can be added through the volume importer until the member disks are eventually reused in another volume. For the security-conscious, the GUI has an option to wipe the disks on deletion rather than leaving them usable, as well as an option to prevent the volume deletion from cascading over and affecting shares attached to the deleted volume.

Another important back end change in 8.0.1 is support for arbitrary mount points for UFS volumes. The size of the FreeNAS™ boot device no longer sets a cap on the size of the /var slice, if properly exported to another storage volume. While this only affects a small number of users in specific applications, this is an important milestone for users with large amounts of temporary data to cache, such as an Active Directory's 'users and groups' data.

“8.0.1 represents a significant advancement towards the goals outlined by the current FreeNAS™ roadmap,”
says Josh Paetzel, Director of IT at iXsystems.
“With all the significant issues addressed, FreeNAS™ development will be able to better focus on total feature parity with Version .7, rather than just solid completion for existing new features.”
Eventually, with the final release of FreeNAS™ 8.0.1, development will shift to the 8.1 branch, which will add a third-party plug-in system. The plug-ins will use a variation on the PBI system pioneered by PC-BSD. Through plugins, FreeNAS™ 8 will be able to support most or all of the features that were part of FreeNAS™ .7 (such as BitTorrent and UPNP) while keeping the base install image slim for those who only want the core functionality of FreeNAS™. Version 8.1 will also feature a supported upgrade path from FreeNAS™ .7.x.