FreeNAS is an Open Source Storage Platform based on FreeBSD and supports sharing across Windows, Apple, and UNIX-like systems.
FreeNAS 8 includes ZFS, which supports high storage capacities and integrates file systems and volume management into a single piece of software.
- Feature Chart
- FreeNAS 8 has FreeNAS has a really large feature set. This list has most of the user-facing ones, along with a brief description.
- Thin Provisioning
- Thin Provisioning is another excellent addition to the FreeNAS™ features list. Thin Provisioning allows the administrator to allocate users more space than physically exists in the system. When paired with ZFS, it becomes easy to manage your total data pool size, and quickly and effectively grow to meet your users needs as they use more of their allotted space.
- Backup and Restore
- Remote Replication allows you to copy a snapshot to an offsite server, for maximum data security.
- Command Line Interface
- FreeNAS™ 8 is based on FreeBSD 8.x, and will update and keep current with the FreeBSD project. So if you're a savvy user, and prefer to use the command line, no problem! ssh in, and control your FreeNAS™ device from the FreeNAS™ custom CLI.
- Driver Support
- FreeNAS is based on FreeBSD 8.2 and features much of the same driver support. This gives anyone building their own FreeNAS device or re-purposing old hardware a wide selection of hardware choices.
- If your data is somehow lost, FreeNAS™ makes it easy to restore from a previously generated snapshot. With the periodic snapshots feature, you can worry less about data loss, and use your system stress free.
- Zettabyte File System
- One of FreeNAS™ 8's most important features is full support for the ZFS filesystem. ZFS includes data integrity protection, practically unlimited size caps, cloneable snapshots, automatic repair, RAID-Z, and more. ZFS is fully open-source, and is a great way to store and manage your important files.
- Web User Interface
- FreeNAS™ 8 features a ground up redesign of the web user interface. No mess, no fuss – your server is easily controlled from any web-enabled device. Configuration is straightforward and simple, and you can make your changes on the fly.
- File Sharing
- FreeNAS™ supports many popular networking protocols, and is easy to set up in most home and enterprise environments. You'll be up and running in no time, and your users can connect with the protocol of your choice, no matter what operating system they run.
USB 3.0 support is disabled by default as it currently is not compatible with some hardware, including Haswell (Lynx point) chipsets. To enable USB 3.0 support, create a Tunable named xhci_load, set its value to YES, and reboot the system.
The Kernel UMA allocator is now the default for ZFS. This results in higher ZFS performance.
ZFS will now alert the administrator for pools that are not 4K-aligned.
By default, FreeNAS will treat all disks as 4K sector (“Advanced Format”) disks. This is a future-proof setting that allows AF disks to later be used as replacement drives for older, legacy 512 byte sector drives without compromising performance. The administrator can optionally disable this 4K-by-default behavior by setting vfs.zfs.vdev.largerashiftminimal to 0 in both sysctl and loader tunables.
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, if the system your browser is running on supports mDNS (e.g. a Mac or mDNS-enabled Windows/Unix box). The default address will be freenas.local (or freenas-n.local, where n is the # of freenas.local instances already on the local network). This can be changed by changing the hostname in the FreeNAS system or network configuration screens.
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.
FreeNAS no longer sends daily emails when email reporting is enabled unless actual errors or issues of concern have arisen. Simply saying “all is well!” each and every day was causing email fatigue and obscuring actual errors. Those wishing for daily “all is well!” reports can simply add a cron job that does this.
The plugin system now offers in-place updates for plugins, also segregating installed plugins from available plugins to make the UI less cluttered.
A complete REST API has been created for FreeNAS, allowing a FreeNAS instance to be controlled remotely. See examples/api in the FreeNAS source repository (https://github.com/freenas/freenas/tree/master) for some examples of this in action. Complete API docs are available in docs/api.
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.
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