FreeNAS videos, FreeBSD on Amazon EC2 and Intel GPU FreeBSD driver update

Three noteworthy links today to FreeBSD related news:

I. FreeBSD on Amazon’s EC2

Colin Percifal mentioned on his blog that he managed to successfully run FreeBSD on Amazon’s EC2 via defenestration, tricking EC2 to think Windows is running.

How can we trick EC2? Take advantage of the fact that Elastic Block Store disks can be detached from EC2 instances and reattached to different instances, and replace the boot disk of a “Windows” instance with a disk containing FreeBSD. In other words, defenestrate the EC2 instance. (Note to pedants: While “defenestrate” usually means “to throw out of a window”, etymologically it could equally mean “to throw windows out” — and the Oxford English Dictionary does show a recorded use in this sense dating from 1927.)

II. Intel GPU FreeBSD Kernel Driver project update

The FreeBSD Foundation announced on 16 Feb that it had awarded Konstantin Belousov a grant to implement support of GEM, KMS, and DRI for Intel Drivers.

The project is to implement GEM, port KMS, and write new DRI drivers for Intel Graphics, including the latest Sandy Bridge generation of integrated graphic units. The work should allow the latest Intel open-source driver to run on FreeBSD, expanding the range of hardware where FreeBSD is suitable for the desktop.

Kostik has now uploaded (part of) his code for review, comments and feedback: Intel GPU Kernel Driver:

I created the first code drop for the ongoing GEM/KMS project. Please note that this is not an end-user release, and even _not_ a call for testing. The project is not finished yet, and I expect quite more efforts from me even after the scheduled project end, and from ports/x11 people, before the driver and usermode infrastructure will be ready for the general public consumption.

That said, the patch is only of use for you now if you want to review, debug or otherwise help the project. The driver is known to be unstable, some parts are missing, some (esp. VM changes) are under the discussion and propably will be changed.

III. FreeNAS 8 videos

iXsystems has done a great job rewriting FreeNAS and making a great enterprise ready NAS system, but it is also providing good documentation and videos showing stp-by-step how different FreeNAS features can be set up and used.

Install FreeNAS 8 in VMWare
Learn how to work through a basic installation of FreeNAS 8, with the added bonus of VMWare specific options.

System Configuration Overview
A brief look at how to configure the basic systems settings under FreeNAS 8, and a quick look at some of the more popular and helpful options to enable

Volumes Overview
After configuring your system, setting up your volumes is an important next step towards sharing files and using FreeNAS in any environment

Shares Overview
Learn to set up shares on your FreeNAS installation in order to enable access for users on different systems and protocols.

Network Configuration Overview
A brief overview of FreeNAS 8′s Network Configuration options, and a look at what each of the options means.

Active Directory Overview
A very quick look at how to get started with active directory under FreeNAS 8, and an overview of the options

You can watch the videos over at

FreeNAS 8 – Audio interview and Magazine Article

There’s an audio interview (bsdtalk 206- FreeNAS 8 with Josh Paetzel) on BSD Talk with Josh Paetzel, IT Director at iXsystems. Will Backman and Josh discuss FreeNAS 8 in a 17 minute interview. (MP3OGG)

The June 2011 issue of BSD Magazine (NanoBSD and ALIX) has an article “Introducing FreeNAS 8.0“. The issue can be downloaded for free from here.


FreeNAS 8: interview and review

Techworld Australia caught up with Josh Paetzel, director of IT at iXsystems and project manager for FreeNAS 8, to talk about the current state of the OS, what lies ahead for it, and the relationship to FreeNAS 0.7.

Check out the article for the full conversation. One interesting piece of information is the fact that a multimedia plugin (PBI) is in the making that will bring back former home functionalities that are currently missing in FreeNAS 8.

Open source identity: FreeNAS 8′s Josh Paetzel


LinuxUser has a short review of FreeNAS 8: FreeNAS 8 Review

Pros: FreeNAS is an advanced NAS operating system with an easy-to-use web interface, especially if you love to use ZFS as your filesystem.
Due to the complete rewrite, FreeNAS 8 has lost some interesting functionality for home users, and upgrades from a previous FreeNAS release are not possible.

LinuxUser gives FreeNAS a 4/5 verdict and concludes:

iXsystems has turned FreeNAS 8 into a modern, modular and future-proof NAS operating system. The new web interface is really easy-to-use without hiding the advanced features. Unfortunately some features didn’t make it through the re-write, but they are promised to reappear in FreeNAS 8.1. All in all, this makes FreeNAS currently the most advanced NAS operating system for home networks.

FreeNAS 8.0 Review (

FreeNAS 8.0-RELEASE now available (detailed)

Following one beta and five release candidates (RC’s), FreeNAS 8.0-RELEASE has been made availabe earlier this week by iXsystems, the corporate sponser behind the FreeNAS Project. The last stable release was FreeNAS 0.7.2 (Sabanda), released mid-October 2010.

FreeNAS is a popular FreeBSD-based network storage server (NAS) that includes a full web based GUI, with support for FTP, NFS, CIFS (Samba), AFP, rsync, iSCSI protocols and software RAID (0,1,5).

FreeNAS 8 includes major architectural optimisations and is more modular than previous versions. To make the system easier to use, the GUI has been redesigned and rebuilt using Python and the Django web framework.

Highlights include better Apple Filing Protocol (AFP) and Common Internet File System (CIFS) configurations, as well as reworked and improved iSCSI support. Other changes include the addition of a volume importer, support for 6gbps 3Ware RAID controllers and GUI access via the HTTPS protocol.

The ZFS and UFS2 filesystems are both supported, but ZFS is the primary filesystem (ZFS on FreeBSD videos) which comes with many features, including quotas, snapshots, compression and replication that are not available in UFS2.

FreeNAS 8 requires a device of at least 1Gb in size and should be installed to a USB stick or Compact Flash device. Unlike previous versions, the drive that FreeNAS is installed on cannot be used as a component for a volume, nor can it be partitioned for sharing.

Upgrades from FreeNAS 0.7.x are unsupported as “the system has no way to import configuration settings from 0.7 versions of FreeNAS”. However, the volume importer “should” be able to handle volumes created with FreeNAS 0.7.

The FreeNAS stable versioning numbers have changed from 0.7.x to 8.0 to reflect the version number of the underlying FreeBSD base version. This version of FreeNAS (8) version is based on FreeBSD 8.2, but it is called 8.0 as there are near-future plans to add functionality that will get the versions caught up. Once FreeNAS 8.2 is out, a suffix will be added, such as 8.2.1 and 8.2.2.

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FreeNAS 8.0 Released

iXsystems has announced the availability of FreeNAS 8-RELEASE. Along with the new .0 release, the FreeNAS website received a make-over.

Some of FreeNAS 8′s main features are:

1. FreeNAS 8.0-RELEASE supports NFS, CIFS, AFP, FTP and TFTP as filesharing mechanisms.  It also supports exporting devices via iSCSI as an iSCSI target.

2. Active Directory or LDAP for user authentication.

3. The ZFS and UFS2 filesystems are supported.  ZFS is the primary filesystem and enables usage of many features, including quotas, snapshots, compression and replication that are not available in UFS2.

Download FreeNAS 8.0

More information and background information to follow later today.

iXsystems’ recent contributions to FreeBSD and FreeNAS

iXsystems has been working hard recently to make the FreeBSD and FreeNAS operating systems even better storage solutions. Some of their recent announcements:

New GEOM-based FreeBSD RAID Driver

“Recently iX completed work on graid, a revised software-assisted RAID driver for FreeBSD. The graid driver replaces the existing ataraid driver with a new GEOM-based implementation. This allows graid to create stable, OS-independent software RAID arrays.

OS-independence in a RAID array means that no matter which operating system you use or install, the RAID will be recognized and addressed the same way. This also allows for the metadata format the RAID is built with to be migrated to another type.

Synchronizing a RAID across multiple operating systems is difficult to do manually, and the stakes are high if the user isn’t careful. For this reason, it is preferable to automate the process in order to protect user data and avoid headaches”. More

The GEOM-base FreeBSD driver will be merged with FreeBSD Current.

II iXsystems Teams with Fusion-io to Deliver FreeNAS Appliance

iXsystems has also announced it is collaborating with server-deployed memory innovator Fusion-io to introduce the Titan FreeNAS Pro Appliance.

Fusion-io provides a next generation storage memory platform for data decentralization that significantly improves processing capabilities within a datacenter by relocating process-critical data from centralized storage to the server where it is being processed.

The addition of server-deployed ioMemory technology to the Titan FreeNAS Pro Appliance creates a storage server that utilizes non-volatile memory to significantly increase data center efficiency and offer enterprise grade reliability, availability and manageability, with potential performance improvements of up to 10x.

The Titan FreeNAS Pro with Fusion’s ioMemory technology has the ability to fully saturate multiple 10Gb Ethernet connections, full ZFS support, and a host of software and hardware features. More

III FreeNAS 8.0-RC5 Released

FreeNAS 8.0-RC5 was released last week and is the final community peek at FreeNAS 8 before the release. Two major bits that are new are volume drive replacement in the GUI, and the ability to add to ZFS volumes, which also doubles as the ability to create stacked ZFS volumes, such as a stripe of RAIDZs (RAID 50) or a stripe of mirrors (RAID 10).

Release Candidate 5 contains both bug fixes and new functionality over previous release candidates and betas.

This release candidate is the result of a flurry of bug fixes for issues noticed by people using RC4, as well as some added functionality.  This image will now be handed over to QA to begin preparations for 8.0-Release.

New in 8.0-RC5:

The ability to create “stacked” ZFS configurations is now present in the GUI. This also goes hand in hand with the ability to add devices to ZFS volumes. For ZFS the volume wizard will now accept an existing volume name when adding volumes.  If an existing volume name is specified, the volume being created will be added to the existing volume as a stripe.  In this manner one can create complex volumes such as RAID 10, RAIDZ+0, RAIDZ2+0, RAIDZ3+0 in the same manner as conventional RAID controllers build complex volumes.

We are looking forward to the final release of 8.0. It has been a long time since FreeNAS 0.7(.2) became available.

IV FreeBSDMall now shipping FreeBSD 8.2 and 7.4 CDs/DVDs

FreeBSD 8.2 is the latest release from the 8-STABLE branch which introduces many new features along with many improvements to functionality present in the earlier branches.

V mFreeNAS 7 comes to iOS

This is not a release by iXsystems, but since it’s relating to FreeNAS we will mention it here: Walter from has released mFreeNAS 7 for iOS. An Android version is already available: mFreeNAS 7 for Android.

With mFreeNAS it is possible to access your FreeNAS remotely from your iPhone or Android phone and perform some basic tasks.

Thanks Walter for your email!

iXsystems is an all-around FreeBSD company that builds FreeBSD-certified servers and storage solutions, runs the FreeBSD Mall, and is the corporate sponsor of the PC-BSD and FreeNAS Projects.

Available: FreeNAS 8.0-RC4

iXsystems has announced the availability of FreeNAS 8.0-RC4. Barring major bugs this is likely the last release candidate before 8.0-RELEASE.

Beside mostly bug fixes there is one last bit of new functionality, which is GUI replacement of drives in volumes, and a few small pieces, such as the ability to edit powerd settings in the GUI.

Most notable changes in this RC are:

“Snapshot functionality has been added.  There are features to create periodic snapshot jobs, create one time snapshots, clone snapshots (which can then be exported as shares like any other dataset) and rollback to previous snapshot.

VLAN interfaces are fully supported.  VLANs can be created from the GUI or from the CLI menu on the console.

NFS shares can be set to use the full range of maproot and mapall options.  In addition, tuning is available for the NFS service to boost performance past gigE networking speeds.

Users and groups available to the system from any source (local users, LDAP, AD) are now presented anywhere a user or group is specified, whether it’s volume permissions, samba anonymous user, or NFS maproot.

Several functions in System -> advanced were hooked up, a few were deleted. Powerd now works, toggling between the CLI script and a normal login works, the MOTD updates properly, and the serial console works.

The kernel modules to support several RAID controllers were added, as well as the modules to enable mount_smbfs to work from the CLI.”

I’m looking forward to installing and using FreeNAS 8.0-Release. Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long for that one to come out. iXsystems has done a great job so far.

For more information, please refer to Josh’ release announcement: FreeNAS 8.0 RC-4

Available: FreeNAS 8.0-RC3

Josh Paetzel has announced the third Release Candidate of FreeNAS. A number of bugs have been squashed, problems fixed, and, surprisingly for an RC3, new features added (volume importer in the storage application).

Highlights include

  • a volume importer
  • better AFP support (Apple Filing Protocol)
  • better SMB/CIFS configs based on user input
  • iSCSI support reworked and improved
  • support for 6gbps 3Ware controllers addes
  • HTTPS access for the GUI

More information and details can be found in the release notes.