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FreeNAS is a cool FreebSD based NAS solution!
Announcements Posted by Jason on Friday March 30, @12:22PM
from the dept.
Here's an opensource Network Attached Storage (NAS) solution that is built on FreeBSD. It's feature rich and works well in its 0.68 state so I fully expect it to get a whole lot better as it approches a 1.0 release!

FreeNAS ( supports many advanced NAS features. Here are a couple of highlights from pre-release 0.68 that I've been playing around with...

It's OpenSource (alway a plus)
It runs on FreeBSD-6.2 (pre-release)

You don't need to know a thing about the OS (FreeBSD in this case) and it has a very nice WebGUI interface.

CIFS (SMB auth:anonymnous, local-user and even domain logons)
Unison (I haven't tried this)
RSYNCD (I haven't tried this)
UpNP (I haven't tried this)

Hardware & Software RAID 0,1,5 and combos

Currently only an iSCSI initiator is supported but an iSCSI target is said to be in the works!

Quick Overview:

I've tested all the features listed above and I really like this software. I found it easy to setup, easy to use and easy to administer.

The setup was a snap. I inserted the CDROM (made from a downloaded ISO) and it booted to a simple text menu that allows you to configure the host IP address and install the OS to your hard disk. You can also do some other rudimentary things like set the admin password, shutdown, reboot, ping a host or grab a shell prompt.

At boot time FreeNAS assigns the first NIC it finds an address of (beware if that address is already in use on your LAN/WAN). When installed to a single hard disk, FreeNAS will create a very small OS Partition for FreeNAS (ad0s1) and the remaining space is allocated to data (ad0s2). You can also install it to a USB flash drive and boot from that (if your computers firmware supports it). After the installtion is complete you can reboot the system and connect to the WebGUI interface via a browser which allows you to configure RAID, data shares, services etc. Because I'm a real geek I went ahead and tested all of it including RAID and iSCSI. Everything worked without a problem- even joining a Windows Server 2003 Domain and using it for authentication worked flawlessly!

It's worth noting that I found NFS to be slower than CIFS- which surprised me. It could simply be a performance/tuning issue with FreeBSD or some related issue with NFS. My FreeNAS test box for NFS was an old Celeron 700 with 128 megs of RAM and whole 10 gig HD (not exactly a jet airplane). Also, I don't really use NFS so I don't have any benchmarks to compare it to. This is not a problem for me however since our FreeNAS server is just a place to backup a few files and the users (my family) are all using FreeBSD/KDE, OSX and WindowsXP. My son is the XP user (gamer)- there's one in every crowd but he also uses FreeBSD at the tender age of 10 so there's hope he'll come around someday.

Note: FreeBSD/KDE Unix users can connect to the NAS device via SMB with the command SMB://{server_name}/{share_name}, login, create a folder and copy their files over.

If you have some old, unused, hardware sitting around then give this software a try. It's easy to setup as a backup server and it runs on my favorite OS- FreeBSD.


HOWTO: Create RAID1 on FreeBSD with gmirror | panic ffs_valloc then reboots. can only run in single user  >


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    The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them.
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    Re: FreeNAS is a cool FreebSD based NAS solution!
    by Jason on Saturday March 31, @04:46PM
    It's amazing how quickly things change. I posted yesterday and there's already a new version of FreeNAS available for download. It's been updated from 0.68 to version 0.684b.

    The new features listed on the website are...

    Added disk encryption with geli
    Added an iSCSI-Target
    Added swap file feature
    Added powerd/cpufreq system power control utility
    NTFS: Replaced ntfs FreeBSD module with ntfs-3g (R/W)
    Added growfs tools (usable from the CLI only)
    Added EXT2 filesystem creation support
    Added an edoption for upgrading FreeNAS from CDROM
    Multilanguage: Update languages files and add Japanese and Russian
    Force only one UFS type: EFI GPT Partition with Softupdates, and permit to select percent of free disk space to kept (between 8 and 1)

    I download the 0.684b.IMG file, used for upgrading an existing system, and the .ISO file used for installing a new system.

    I upgraded my running system via the WebGUI firmware update feature with the.IMG file, which took only a minute or two, and it went without a hitch. After the update my system rebooted and came right back up displaying the new version in the WebGUI. I also noticed the FreeBSD version was updated to 6.2-RELEASE.

    I decided to try a couple features. The first was UpNP (universal plug and play). I turned it on via the WebGUI and shortly after it appeared in the WindowsXP local network as FreeNAS:1. "Cool I thought", so went ahead and clicked on it. Unfortunately, my browser opened to and gave me a 404 Not Found error message. I fiddled with it for a few miniutes but never got any further.

    Next, I scheduled an automatic shutdown (another handy feature). Since this NAS will be used so infrequently there's no sense in leaving it running 24/7. The schedule feature was easy to use and it worked great. I scheduled it to shutdown everyday at midnight. This way we can turn it on (it's headless), copy some files to it, and it will automatically shutdown at night (handy).

    When I have a chance I'll try the new iSCSI target feature. I've been itching to play with it so it should be soon.
    [ Add a Reply to this ]
    • Re: FreeNAS is a cool FreebSD based NAS solution!
      by vel on Saturday February 23, @09:17AM
      How do you schedule the automatic shutdown? Do you have to specify all the parameters like minutes,Hrs,day,month and week days?
      [ Reply to this ]

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