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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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]
Building a 3 TB Backup Server Using FreeNAS [link]
FreeNAS Installation [link]
III How does FreeNAS Compare?
FreeNAS Vs. HP MediaSmart WHS (link)
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
- File server (using SMB/CIFS and FTP services)
- Media server
- CVS server
- podcast downloader
- Jabber (OpenFire) server
- wiki server
- Disaster Recovery server (part 1 and part 2)
- Torrent Downloader
- iTunes playlist server
- Stream multimedia content to your PS3, Xbox, Media Center PC.
And the list can go on. The following are some guides and howto’s that may be of use too:
- Roses networks guide to FreeNAS
- How to Install FreeNAS Using VirtualBox
- Growing Mirrored and Encrypted Partitions in FreeNAS
- Use on OS X Leopard Time Machine with FreeNAS
- How to Resize ZFS in FreeNAS (Part 1 and part 2)
- Setup Samba Shares With FreeNAS in 5 mintus (FrugalTech)
- Installing MySQL And phpMyAdmin on FreeNAS (HowToForge)
EXSi & iSCSI related guides
- Using FreeNAS as SAN – (Using FreeNAS as a SAN for an ESXi demo)
- Add iSCSI storage to a free deployment of ESXi using FreeNAS
- Creating a Network Attached Storage VMware using FreeNAS
- FreeNAS and iSCSI – When a Local Disk is Not Local
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:
- Instructables.com has published some instructions on how to build a FreeNAS server in an Ikea EMU box.
- Goondu DIY has put together a guide to building a FreeNAS server based on a mini-ITX board with a dual core Atom
- Build your won Open Source NAS device using FreeNAS by Train Signal Training – (Part 1 and Part 2)
Or, have a look at Jonathan Brown’s Six Part Adventure with FreeNAS. He shows you how he built a 2.6TB storage device.
- My FreeNAS Project Part 1: Introduction
- My FreeNAS Project Part 2: The Parts
- My FreeNAS Project Part 3: The Build
- My FreeNAS Project Part 4: The Install
- My FreeNAS Project Part 5: The Config
- My FreeNAS Project Part 6: Final Build and Overview
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
- Local User Management in FreeNAS
- Preparing to Add FreeNAS to Your Network
- Installation and configuration of the FreeNAS Server
- Troubleshooting the FreeNAS Server
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.