“RAIDZilla”, a FreeNAS based, advanced featured NAS appliance

FreeNAS 8 is shaping up nicely (FreeNAS 8.0-BETA available) and developers at iXsystems are putting in a lot of time and work into it. Apart from working on the software side, iXsystems also offers a FreeNAS based appliance, the iX-2120.

I had a chat with Matt Olander, CTO of iXsystems, about a new FreeNAS appliance they’re working on, internally codenamed ‘RAIDZilla’. When launched, it will get a corporate name in line with some of their other products, probably something like iX-NAS XXXX.

“RAIDZilla” is a combination of specially developed hardware running FreeNAS. iXsystems is building an inexpensive, standardised and fast NAS appliance with easy to use management tools. RAIDZilla runs FreeNAS with some closed-source goodies such as like drive failure detection, notification, auto-replacement option and NFS head failover, along with array duplication so both head units can write to the same array.

By providing both the hardware platform and an optimised operating system, iXsystems is able to maximise the appliance’s reliability and speed, as well as to provide a good user experience. iXsystems plans to open-source the closed-coded features in the future.

The big thing about the new iX-NAS, especially enterprises will be interested in this, is that it’s going to be available in Europe as well. A main distributor is getting set up to finish FreeNAS builds in Belgium, and there will be opportunities for VARs (value added resellers) and integrators to sell units at retail price after a channel partner discount and earn additional income providing consultation, setup, and deployment services. If you’re interested, please contact Matt (matt at ixsystems dot com).

There’s a post on the iX blog with an interview between Corey Vixie and Doug White, Senior Test Engineer at iXsystems about RAIDZilla: Doug White on RAIDZilla.

  • What exactly is RAIDZilla?
  • What makes it different than FreeNAS?
  • What does the software platform look like?
  • What about the hardware?
  • Tell me about ‘Head Redundancy’?
  • Speaking of cool features, a little bird mentioned something about Fusion-IO cards being an option
  • So, just how fast is very fast?

I’m looking forward to the launch of this appliance and will let you know when it’s available.

Available: New FreeNAS 8 snapshot (r5788)

The guys from iXsystems have released a new beta snapshot for FreeNAS 8. This image based on r5788 of the SVN repo is very close to being Release Candidate status.

Some of the highlights and new additions are:

  • The TreeMenu GUI is now the default (the old GUI is still available)
  • There’s a far better GUI for managing ownership/group/permissions of volumes and datasets.
  • Dynamic DNS should work.
  • ZFS parameters per dataset have been added
  • A bug that was preventing the system from seeing all available disks has been fixed.
  • FTP is now working.

Be aware, there are still some known issues:

  • AFP generates bogus configs.
  • iSCSI configs don’t work in some environments.
  • Link Aggregation setup is still a bit twitchy, the GUI doesn’t reboot the system even though in some cases that is needed.  Have the console nearby to play with the networking configs.

The latest beta can be downloaded from FreeNAS page on sourceforge.

Should you come across any bugs or quirks, please mail them to the new FreeNAS Testing Mailinglist: https://lists.sourceforge.net/lists/listinfo/freenas-testing

Links: FreeNAS website | Download FreeNAS | Release Notes

FreeNAS is an embedded open source NAS (Network-Attached Storage) distribution based on FreeBSD, supporting the following protocols: CIFS (samba), FTP, NFS, TFTP, AFP, RSYNC, Unison, iSCSI (initiator and target) and UPnP. It supports Software RAID (0,1,5), ZFS, disk encryption, S.M.A.R.T/email monitoring with a web browsers configuration interface.

Android FreeNAS App Updated

Walter of the TechWave Dev team has announced a new version of the Android based mFreeNAS 7. The application’s name was previously known as MobileFreeNAS.

This application allows you to control your FreeNAS Server within your local network.

Supported features are:

  • Wake On Lan
  • Reboot
  • Shutdown
  • System Info
  • HDDs Info

Check out the two new features (System Info & HDDs Info) and please provide feedback to Walter on any new additions or changes you would like to see implemented in future versions.

New FreeNAS beta snapshot released (r5648)

Warner Losh has announced a new beta snapshot for FreeNAS 8.0

Here’s a highlight of the issues that have been fixed since the last beta (r5606):

  • Upgrades from prior FreeNAS 8 beta releases are now supported.
  • zfs creation failures have been fixed. The gui would indicate it succeeded, but you couldn’t share it.
  • ufs creation failures have been fixed.
  • booting off USB or SCSI cdrom is now supported.
  • Many disk initialization errors that showed up as odd failures have been corrected.
  • lagg has been introduced.
  • Errors in the network screen have been corrected.
  • The storage wizard no longer says ‘of X’ when creating the storage unit. This eliminates the confusing 1 of 3 -> 2 of 2 dialog heading.
  • Improved compatibility with IE and Safari.
  • The installer has been streamlined.

The latest beta can be downloaded here, and the release notes can be viewed here.

Happy downloading and testing ;-)

FreeNAS is an embedded open source NAS (Network-Attached Storage) distribution based on FreeBSD, supporting the following protocols: CIFS (samba), FTP, NFS, TFTP, AFP, RSYNC, Unison, iSCSI (initiator and target) and UPnP.
It supports Software RAID (0,1,5), ZFS, disk encryption, S.M.A.R.T/email monitoring with a WEB configuration interface

Released: FreeNAS 8 (Beta)

Warner Losh, of iXsystems, announced last week the availability of FreeNAS 8. Since there were some issues with the initial beta, ensure you’re downloading the latest version (r5605).

Warner writes:

“iXsystems is pleased to announced FreeNAS 8.0 Beta. FreeNAS 8.0 has undergone a complete rewrite. We’ve redesigned the GUI to be easier to use and extend. We’ve upgraded many technologies in the system for improved hardware support, faster I/O, better modularity, and easier upgrades. We trust that you’ll find the system easier to use and, in time, much more feature rich than the current FreeNAS offering.

The base system has migrated from FreeBSD 7.x and the m0m0wall build system to FreeBSD 8.1-RELEASE and NanoBSD. The system startup has migrated from the older php scripts to the standard FreeBSD rc.d boot system. We’ve pushed many of the bug fixes and system improvements back into FreeBSD.

We’ve rewritten the GUI using Python and Django. We’ve completely removed the old php system. In addition to Django, we’re using Dojango and Dojo to implement AJAX features. The new system is much more modular than the old system. We will use this modularity in a future version for easy integration of custom features into your FreeNAS box.

The installer has been rewritten using pc-sysinstall, the future FreeBSD installation technology. The scripts have a similar feel to the old PHP scripts for users of the current system. The ISO now is only an installer. You can no longer run in live mode from a CDROM.

The installation types have changed; there’s no longer an embedded or full install, nor can the image be installed on a data disk. You must now install FreeNAS onto a dedicated device. FreeNAS supports USB flash, CompactFlash, hard drives, ssd or any other mass storage device supported by FreeBSD.”

Full announcement: FreeNAS 8 Beta released

The Beta can be downloaded from Source Forge and the release notes can be found on the FreeNAS wiki.

FreeNAS is an embedded open source NAS (Network-Attached Storage) distribution based on FreeBSD, supporting the following protocols: CIFS (samba), FTP, NFS, TFTP, AFP, RSYNC, Unison, iSCSI (initiator and target) and UPnP.

It supports Software RAID (0,1,5), ZFS, disk encryption, S.M.A.R.T/email monitoring with a WEB configuration interface

FreeBSD quick news and links (week 42)

Some links and leftovers:

1. Update on DAHDI Project

Max Khon has completed the FreeBSD Foundation funded DAHDI Project and submitted a report.

DAHDI (Digium/Asterisk Hardware Device Interface) is the open source device interface technology used to control Digium and other legacy telephony interface cards.

2. FreeNAS vs OpenSolaris ZFS Benchmarks

Test results often lead to a lot of debate about the setup, hardware used, default settings etc. This test is no different: FreeNAS vs OpenSolaris ZFS benchmarks. Hopefully we will see a massive improvement in FreeNAS 0.8 which is currently available as alpha (new FreeNAS alpha).

We have received a lot of feedback from members of the IT community since we published our benchmarks comparing OpenSolaris and Nexenta with an off the shelf Promise VTrak M610i. One question we received from several people was about FreeNAS. Several people asked “How does FreeNAS compare to OpenSolaris on the same hardware?” That was an excellent question, and we decided to run some tests to answer that question.

3. Install FreeNAS in Hyper-V

To install FreeNAS in a Hyper-V virtual machine one needs to do some configuration of the virtual machine, just as one would with a physical machine. Allocating hardware resources is much easier in Hyper-V versus physical machines because you can do it remotely through screens instead of physically taking a box offline and installing hardware. This guide will show the basic Hyper-V virtual machine setup for installing FreeNAS, an open source NAS appliance based on FreeBSD

Step-by-step guide here: Install FreeNAS in Hyper-V

4. Debian GNU/kFreeBSD Benchmarks with its new Kernel

This is an interesting test: Debian GNU/kFreeBSD running the FreeBSD 8.1 kernel is performing faster in a number of tests than FreeBSD 8.1.

As was reported recently, the Debian GNU/kFreeBSD port now has limited support for handling ZFS file-systems and its stock kernel has been upgraded against that of FreeBSD 8.1. Due to the upgraded kernel we ran a quick set of benchmarks to see how the performance of Debian GNU/kFreeBSD to that of Debian Linux.

Using the Phoronix Test Suite we ran a variety of benchmarks to compare the Linux and FreeBSD kernel performance under Debian. These test profiles included 7-Zip compression, Gzip compression, LZMA compression, GnuPG, POV-Ray, C-Ray, dcraw, MAFFT, GraphicsMagick, BYTE, Sudokut, Himeno, SQLite, PostMark, and the Threaded I/O Tester.

All results and graphs here:  Debian GNU/kFreeBSD Benchmarks with its new Kernel