FreeNAS 9.2.0-RC is now available

freenas-ixsystems-new-logo

The FreeNAS team has announced FreeNAS 9.2.0-RC for testing purposes. As the name implies, this is the next-to-final image of 9.2.0. If nothing significantly wrong is discovered with this image, it will become the official release!

“We did go through a bit of a rough patch after 9.2.0-BETA went out as we we reorganized a few things and took on some last-minute performance improvements we felt to be worth the risk, but we feel this is all ironed out now. Please please test this release as extensively as you can so that any remaining issues can be worked out before 9.2.0-RELEASE is rolled (hopefully in just 2 weeks, depending on how this testing goes). This is literally our last chance to find and fix anything serious before 9.2.0 goes “production status” for the general public!”

FreeNAS 9.2.0-RC announcement

AsiaBSDCon 2013 FreeBSD videos

Sato-san (bsdconferences) has created a playlist of 15 videos from AsiaBSDCon 2013.

Some of the FreeBSD related videos are:

John Hixson: FreeNAS Plugins everything you ever wanted to know

 

Kris Moore: Automating the deployment of FreeBSD & PC BSD systems

 

Michael Dexter: Hands on bhyve, the BSD Hypervisor

 

Takuya ASADA: Implements BIOS emulation support for BHyVe: A BSD Hypervisor

 

Davide Italiano: Calloutng: a new infrastructure for timer facilities in the FreeBSD kernel

 

FreeNAS 9.2.0-BETA is now available

The FreeNAS team has announced freenas-ixsystems-new-logothe availability of FreeNAS 9.2.0-BETA. As will be evident from the name tag, this version is for testing purposes only. Should you come across any issues, please get in touch with the team and file a bug report.

We have also made a number of enhancements to the UI and generally done our best to bring more polish to the FreeNAS system, both in usability and performance.  Those doing benchmarks against 9.1.1 and 9.2.0-BETA should notice some measurable improvements on any reasonably capable hardware.

Some of the changes are from the Release Notes for FreeNAS 9.2.0-BETA are:

  • Version 9.2-RELEASE of FreeBSD with performance improvements, bug fixes, and updated software packages.
  • The Kernel UMA allocator is now the default for ZFS. This results in higher ZFS performance.
  • Avahi (multicast DNS, aka Bonjour) registration of all services, include the web service, means you no longer need to have a head on the box to know its IP address, even for initial configuration. freenas.local is the default (or freenas-n.local, where n is the # of freenas.local machines already on the local network). This can be changed by changing the hostname.
  • The built-in admin user account is no longer used and the Admin Account removed. The first time the FreeNAS graphical interface is accessed, a pop-up menu will prompt for the root password. Subsequent logins to the graphical interface will require this password.
  • A complete REST API has been created for FreeNAS, allowing a FreeNAS instance to be controlled remotely.
  • The “Permit Sudo” field has been added to the add and edit screens for Users and Groups. A column in View Groups and View Users now indicates whether or not “Permit Sudo” has been set.
  • HTTP and HTTPS access to the FreeNAS graphical interface are no longer mutually exclusive. The fields “WebGUI HTTP Port” and “WebGUI HTTPS Port” have been added to System Settings -> General.
  • An “Edit” button has been added to the “Hostname” field of System Information to make the hostname easier to change.
  • The results from the latest ZFS scrub now appear in Volume Status.
  • Netatalk has been updated to version 3.1.0.
  • The AIO options have been removed from CIFS.
  • Fourteen TLS-related fields have been added to the Advanced Mode of FTP.
  • An “IPv4 Address” column has been added to the View Jails screen.
  • A shell button has been added to Jails, making it easy to access the command line of the selected jail.
  • A “Create directory” checkbox has been added to the Add Storage function of a jail so that the user does not have to first access the jail’s shell to make sure that the directory already exists. A “Read-Only” checkbox has also been added to this screen.
  • A jails templating system has been added, allowing the quick deployment of new jails from existing templates and the ability to create custom templates. Linux jail support has also been added and installation templates are included for Debian-7.1.0, Gentoo-20130820, Ubuntu-13.04, Centos-6.4, Fedora-19, and Suse-12.3.
  • A link to the online FreeBSD manual pages has been added to Help.
  • Added bxe(4) driver for Broadcom NetXtreme II Ethernet 10Gb PCIe adapter.
  • Added padlock(4) driver which provides cryptographic hardware acceleration for VIA C3, C7 and Eden processors.

FreeNAS 9.1.1 released

freenas-ixsystems-new-logoJordan Hubbard has announced the release of FreeNAS 9.1.1, which fixes some issues that have come to light in FreeNAS 9.1. Some of them were cosmetic issues,, others were outright bugs such as 32-bit plugins that were not working.

A few features that were known to be broken, such as AIO in Samba3 or IPv6 in plugin jails, were also disabled to avoid people shooting their feet off.

Finally, a number of important ZFS stability fixes were also picked up from the TrueOS repo during the creation of 9.1.1-RELEASE.

Users will be able to download the images for the i386 and x64 architectures. A complete list of changes and updates can be found in the announcement. Download the FreeNAS 9.1.1 here.

About FreeNAS: FreeNAS is a FreeBSD-based (nanobsd) and BSD licensed open source Network Attached Storage Platform developed by iXsystems, that has been optimised to support file storage and files sharing across Windows, Apple, and UNIX-like systems.

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots, and Some Suggestions

freenas-ixsystems-new-logoFreeNAS 9.1 has been released. We have read the blog posts, the press releases, and we probably all agree that this FreeBSD based NAS is becoming better and better with each release. FreeNAS is still ‘growing up’ and new features are added to each new version.

Since FreeNAS is still changing so much, maybe be developers can do something about the GUI side of things, i.e. the Web Interface.

The goal of FreeNAS is to simplify complex admin tasks in the underlying FreeBSD (nanobsd) base through a poin-and-click Web Interface: volumes can be created, permissions changed, data sharing turned on/off, music/video streaming set up, and most, if not all, ZFS features are included.

All this makes FreeNAS a powerful network attached system (NAS), especially if you consider it is open source and free to download, but I think the Web Interface can still do with some TLC as it can be confusing and is not always newbie friendly.

  • There are 6 menu buttons (top left) linking to “System”, “Network”, “Storage”, “Sharing”, “Services”, “Plugins” and “Jails”. In the Menu tree, under this bar, you will see the same (and more) links, unnecessary duplication. If “Account” is one of the main menus, why is this then one on the right hand top side, and not on the left with the others?
  • When you close / log out of the FreeNAS Web Interface and go back in, the menu tree is left expanded as it was left. It looks nicer if the tree was collapsed each time you open up the GUI.
  • Every time options are saved or when you cancel a screen, the whole menu tree is reloaded/refreshed, which takes about 1-2 seconds. This could be due to some settings or limitation in the Django framework, but it is annoying.
  • When you go into some of the (sub)menus and make changes, a tab gets added to the tab bar (top right), next to “Reporting” | “Settings” | “System Information”. What is the point of this? You’re not going to use your NAS GUI for hours (usually). You make the changes and come out of it. There’s no need for these shortcuts.
  • For new users of FreeNAS, it would be helpful if there was a short introduction with some step-by-step instruction on the first screen to help them set up the basic things (User, Volume, Privileges etc). Yes, there’s the FreeNAS handbook with everything set out step-by-step, but judging from questions on the FreeNAS forums I guess there are more users that don’t read through the manual than those who do.

Conclusion

Personally, I prefer the old FreeNAS 0.7 horizontal menu. It was, and is now in NAS4Free, easy to use and straightforward, with no duplication. The other thing I like in NAS4Free, is that you can make all changes on the opened screen, i.e. there are no pop-up windows with yet more settings. 

I appreciate a NAS GUI is not something you need every day. In an ideal world you install and set up your NAS and let it then run (headless), but there are still some areas where FreeNAS should improve to avoid confusion and duplication.

 

Screenshots

If you have no need to install or use FreeNAS, but are still interested to see what it looks like, have a look at the screenshots below (click on the pictures to magnify).

Main Screen

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots

 

Account Information

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots

 

System Information

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots

 

Network Information

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots

 

Storage Information

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots

 

Sharing Protocols

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots

 

FreeNAS Services

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots

 

Plugins Administration

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots

 

FreeNAS Jails

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots

 

System Processes (Running)

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots

 

Add Duplication Task

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots

 

ZFS Volume Manager

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots

 

Add Replication (rsync) Task

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots