Unbelievably inexpensive networked storage options have emerged, but it's a case of 'False Economics 101.'

PCMag has  a post advising how to avoid the pitfalls of cheap storage:

The proliferation of huge, cache-laden SATA disks in the consumer market has led to an ever-expanding array of very inexpensive networked storage products for business. More often than not, these devices offer both NAS and iSCSI SAN functions that, until recently, were found only in enterprise-class storage products -- at a fraction of the cost. Are these ultracheap alternatives right for you? That depends on who you are and what you do.

A huge range of performance variables separate true enterprise-class storage products from their inexpensive pretenders. The most glaring is transactional performance. Most low-cost storage devices are based on a small number of very large SATA disks rather than larger numbers of SATA or higher-speed SAS/FC disks. These types of configurations will yield extremely anemic transactional performance, which would generally make them poor choices for hosting a busy database or mail server.

What if that's not what you want, though? If you're a small business without a whole lot of transactional disk performance needs or a big business that just needs a very large, low-cost parking lot for some big data, are these low-end storage devices a good option?

Carry on reading the article:  What does "Enterprise Class" storage really mean?

So be careful when you venture into the land of low-cost storage. Take a hard look at what your storage will be used for -- and how it's going to get fixed when it breaks -- before you congratulate yourself for saving a dump truck full of money. Sometimes, the dump truck you know is better than the one you never saw coming until it ran you over.

FreeNAS is a free network attached storage server (NAS server) that is under active development and improving with every release. Though its release number may indicate an alpha/beta product (version 0.7), FreeNAS is stable and can be used on production machines. FreeNAS supports CIFS (Samba), FTP, NFS, rsync, AFP protocols, iSCSI, S.M.A.R.T., local user authentication, and software RAID (0,1,5); all this manageable through an intuitive web-based configuration interface.

We are already a few weeks into 2010, but what's wrong with looking back over 2009? Below I have collected a number of FreeNAS related posts, howto's and videos that were posted in 2009. Most of these were found via FreeBSD News, Google News (Alerts) and the Learn FreeNAS blog.

The FreeNAS community and forums are vibrant, full of activity. There are always new users with questions and problems, and experienced users to help out. Others write up useful howto's and share tips. It is difficult how many FreeNAS users there exactly are, but we can be fairly confident it is quite a number, including corporate enterprises.

Late 2009 Voker Theile, the core FreeNAS developer, announced that further development of the FreeBSD-based FreeNAS would be halted. FreeNAS 0.8 was going to be a Debian-based NAS server. This decision was reverted shortly afterwards, when iXsystems, the sponsor behind the PC-BSD project, offered to sponsor further development of (a FreeBSD based) FreeNAS with Olivier Cochard-Labbé, the founder of the FreeNAS project, returning and assisting with the development. OpenMediaVault is the new Debian-based NAS and developed by Volker, independently from FreeNAS.

A Debian based OpenMediaVault will have better hardware support, but it won't (as it stands now) be able to include the ZFS file system. Later this year I will write a comparison of the two NAS operating systems

Contents:

  • I FreeNAS Releases
  • II FeeNAS videos
  • III How does FreeNAS Compare?
  • IV FreeNAS Howto's
  • V FreeNAS hands-on Howto's and  guides
  • VI FreeNAS Book

I FreeNAS Releases

Volker Theile and developers working with him released the following versions in 2009 (in chronological order):

FreeNAS 0.69 (Kwisatz Haderach) - 17/01/2009

Majors changes:

  • Add TFTP service. It is accessible via 'Services|TFTP' in the WebGUI.
  • Add Samba patch CVE-2008-4314.
  • Upgrade nano to 2.0.9.
  • Upgrade PHP to 5.2.8.
  • Add WOL support for misc NIC's. Thanks to Tobias Reber for porting WOL patch to FreeBSD 6.4.
  • Upgrade nfe driver. Thanks to Tobias Reber for backporting FreeBSD 7.0 driver and adding WOL support.
  • Finally fixed Samba lock file problem (they are located in/var/db/samba now). You can increase the memory filesystem size for /var for LiveCD and'embedded' installations by modifying the rc.conf variable named 'varsize'. This is necessary if you are running out of file space for *.tdb files (this normally happens on heavy Samba share usage with many users). The default size
  • is 32MB.
  • Replace FTP server pure-ftpd 1.0.21 with proftpd 1.3.2rc3. Please note that there can be set additional options via rc.conf variables which are not displayed in the service WebGUI. Please have a look into /etc/rc.d/proftpd script for a detailed list of options.
  • Add TCP Wrappers. All applications linked against libwrap support this feature, for example services like FTP, TFTP, SSH, NFS… The rules can be configured via WebGUI 'Network|Hosts'.
  • Upgrade ATAidle to 2.4.
  • Upgrade transmission to 1.42.
  • Upgrade rsync to 3.0.5.
  • Upgrade cdialog to 1.1.20080316.
  • Upgrade msmtp to 1.4.17.
  • Add ability to create a SWAP partition during installation.
  • Enhance the 'System|Advanced|Swap' page to select a file or disk device as swap space.
  • Full changelog

FreeNAS 0.69.1 (Omnius) - 19/04/2009

Majors changes:

  • Upgrade Samba to 3.0.34.
  • Upgrade ProFTPD to 1.3.2.
  • Upgrade mDNSResponder to 1.08.6.
  • Upgrade lighttpd to 1.4.22.
  • Upgrade cdialog to 1.1.20080819.
  • Upgrade e2fsprogs to 1.41.4.
  • Upgrade nut to 2.4.1. This version uses TCP wrappers instead of the internal ACL mechanism. Because of that all client can listen the UPS. If you want to prevent this you have to
  • use the FreeNAS client firewall to block specific IP ranges.
  • Upgrade transmission to 1.51.
  • Upgrade fusefs-ntfs/ntfs-3g to 2009.2.1.
  • Upgrade 3Ware serial ATA RAID controller driver to 9.5.1.
  • Upgrade bash to 4.0.10.
  • Full Changelog

FreeNAS 0.69.2 (Muad’Dib) - 11/06/2009 - maintenance release to the 0.69 branch.

Majors changes:

  • Add another WOL patch. It is tested for nfe(4) und xl(4).
  • Add switch in ‘System|Advanced’ WebGUI to enable the console screensaver
  • Upgrade Adaptec SCSI RAID administration tool to 6.10.18359.
  • Add ability to enable or disable rc.conf variables configured via ‘System|Advanced|rc.conf’.
  • Add danish WebGUI translation
  • Add kernel patches to get ARTiGO A2000 hardware working.
  • Add ability to use %d (date) and %h (hostname) in email subjects
  • Full changelog

FreeNAS 0.7 RC1 (Sardaukar) - 20/06/09

Majors changes:

  • Upgrade to FreeBSD 7.2.
  • Include ZFS support.
  • Upgrade iSCSI initiator to 2.1.1.
  • Replace iSCSI target by istgt. Please note, if you have used devices with the previous iSCSI target software you have to recreate your target.
  • Upgrade transmission to 1.61. Add ‘Watch directory’ and ‘Extra options’ fields to ‘Services|BitTorrent’ WebGUI.
  • Announcement & changelog

FreeNAS 0.7 (Khasadar) - released 06/11/2009

Majors changes:

  • Add ability to configure the login shell for a user.
  • Local users must join the group ‘ftp’ to be able to login via FTP if ‘Local users only’ in ‘Services|FTP’ is enabled.
  • Add a user portal. This allows a local user to login and change it’s password. The user must have access permissions to login to the user portal.
  • Announce AFP shares using Bonjour/ZeroConf
  • Add AFP FP_SYNCFORK command support
  • Add Adaptec AACRAID 32/64-bit driver to v5.2.0 Build 17517
  • Announcement & Changelog

II FreeNAS Videos

FreeNAS in depth [link]


YouTube Direkt

Building a 3 TB Backup Server Using FreeNAS [link]


YouTube Direkt

FreeNAS Installation [link]


YouTube Direkt

III How does FreeNAS Compare?

FreeNAS vs. Windows Home Server (Part 1 and part 2)

FreeNAS Vs. HP MediaSmart WHS (link)


YouTube Direkt

How to choose the best network storage for a MAC-PC home
FreeNAS vs AirPort Extreme vs Synology DS207+

IV FreeNAS Howto's
FreeNAS is  a file server by default, but since its code is open and based on the versatile FreeBSD operating system, it can be tweaked and enhanced to take on other jobs as well.

FreeBSD's slogan is "The power to serve" and that's exactly what is true for FreeNAS too. FreeNAS can be used as

And the list can go on. The following are some guides and howto's that may be of use too:

EXSi & iSCSI related guides

V FreeNAS hands-on Howto's and guides

You will gather from the above links that there is a lot of background information, videos and howto's available online.

Want to get your hands dirty and build your own server? Have a look at these websites:

Or, have a look at Jonathan Brown’s Six Part Adventure with FreeNAS. He shows you how he built a 2.6TB storage device.

The Life of Hex blog has a 3 part series on FreeNAS. The tutorial will take you through setting up, installing and configuring a FreeNAS Server

Before installing FreeNAS, have a look at FrugalTech's 11 FreeNAS tips

VI FreeNAS Book

If you are looking for a good FreeNAS reference book, you may consider buying Gary Sims' Learning FreeNAS: Configure and manage a network attached storage solution book. Packt Publishing has published a few extracts of this book online

Another extract can be found on Linux.com: Configuring storage in FreeNAS

That's it for now. Many links, useful videos and write ups. Do the reading and why not give it a go and build, install and configure your own NAS file server? Doing it yourself saves you a bit of money over buying a NAS appliance, give you hands-on experience and gives true job satisfaction.

http://jonathanbrown.me/my-freenas-project-part-4-the-install

Volker keeps adding great features to OpenMediaVault (OMV) and at this rate it's going to be the best open source network attached storage (NAS) system available.

Over the last few days he has added/started with

Journaled File System or JFS is a 64-bit journaling filesystem created by IBM. It is available as free software under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL). There are versions for AIX, eComStation, OS/2 and Linux operating systems. HP-UX has another, different filesystem named JFS that is actually an OEM version of Veritas Software's VxFS (wikipedia)

Voker has started to upload some files to SVN (SourceForge) and has decided that openmediavault will be GNU General Public License version 3 (GPLv3) licensed.

Nexenta Systems, the leader in OpenStorage solutions, today announced that 2009 was a breakthrough year for the company. Key milestones for the year included a 740 percent increase in full year revenue from the previous year and an increase in quarterly sales of 630 percent from the last quarter of 2008. The growth reflects the overwhelming global demand for an open alternative to legacy proprietary enterprise storage, particularly in virtualized environments, and Nexenta’s flagship product, NexentaStor, as the product best able to meet this demand.

“We will ramp up open source innovation even higher in 2010 to meet our customers most complex storage and data center requirements.”

NexentaStor is the leading hardware independent storage solution built upon the breakthrough open source ZFS file system. With NexentaStor, customers can for the first time experience the benefits of enterprise storage, including high performance and air tight data integrity with multiple replication methods, without the vendor lock-in and aged technologies of legacy storage vendors. Nexenta’s OpenStorage model allows customers to save up to 80 percent of storage costs while reaping the benefits of superior storage functionality, tight integration across virtualization products, and faster development cycles versus proprietary storage products.

Customer, Partner, Revenue and International Growth

2009 was a breakthrough year for the company in which it achieved remarkable growth in virtually every area of the company. Key milestones for the year included:

  • NexentaStor license sales increased by almost 700 percent year over year. Sales to service providers (such as Hosting and Internet Service Providers) and Research and Development departments within large organizations fueled a significant part of the growth.
  • Addition of 50 partners worldwide, reflecting the company’s commitment to the channel. Sales through the channel grew to account for 75 percent of total revenues.
  • Sales in Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) grew from 10 percent to over 25 percent of overall sales year over year.

Open Storage Innovation

The driving force behind Nexenta’s growth is the company’s commitment to delivering a robust commercial solution to handle the most extreme enterprise storage requirements at a fraction of the cost of legacy proprietary offerings. In 2009, Nexenta advanced its commitment through strategic partnerships and product innovation, including:

  • Incorporation of enhancements to the open source ZFS file system within NexentaStor, enabling the company to collaborate with customers and partners to provide best of breed solutions. This integration led to the embedding of NexentaStor into numerous storage solutions sold by resellers globally.
  • Increased virtualization implementations with VMware, Citrix, and Microsoft as enabled by Nexenta’s VMDC virtualization management application and the StorageLink Adapter for Citrix XenServer. VMDC is unique in the industry in that it helps manage storage in heterogeneous virtualization environments. The StorageLink adapter helps manage storage for Citrix/Xen and Microsoft Hyper-V environments.
  • The introduction of Pomona, an advanced software suite that automates the provisioning and management of multiple NexentaStor and other storage systems. With Pomona, customers can define flexible and reliable policies for storage provisioning that dramatically reduces the labor involved with storage provisioning and management, particularly in virtualized environments.

“Nexenta’s OpenStorage approach gives customers a viable choice to proprietary closed storage software and is the driving force behind our rapid growth and the increased reach of our channel program,”

said Evan Powell, CEO of Nexenta. “We will ramp up open source innovation even higher in 2010 to meet our customers most complex storage and data center requirements.”

About Nexenta Systems

Founded in 2005 and privately held, Nexenta Systems, Inc., has developed NexentaStor™, the leading open storage enterprise class hardware independent storage solution and sponsors NexentaCore, an open source operating system that combines the high performance and reliability of OpenSolaris with the ease-of-use and breadth of applications of Linux. Both solutions leverage the revolutionary file system ZFS.

Source