Screenshot of the FreeNAS web interface
FreeNAS-9.10-STABLE / 21 April 2017
FreeNAS Corral-RELEASE / 11 April 2017
FreeNAS is a free and open-source network-attached storage (NAS) software based on FreeBSD and the OpenZFS file system. It is licensed under the terms of the BSD License and runs on commodity x86-64 hardware. FreeNAS supports Windows, OS X and Unix clients and various virtualization hosts such as XenServer and VMware using the SMB, AFP, NFS, iSCSI, SSH, rsync and FTP/TFTP protocols. Advanced FreeNAS features include full-disk encryption and a plug-in architecture for third-party software.
The OpenZFS file system
FreeNAS supports the OpenZFS files system which provides data integrity checking to prevent data corruption, enable point in time snapshotting, replication and several levels of redundancy including striping, mirroring, striped mirrors (RAID 1+0), and three levels of RaidZ .
FreeNAS is managed through a comprehensive web interface that is supplemented by a minimalistic shell console that handles essential administrative functions. The web interface supports storage pool configuration, user management, sharing configuration and system maintenance.
As an embedded system appliance, FreeNAS boots from a USB Flash device or SATA DOM. This image is configured using a USB Flash/CD-ROM bootable installer. The FreeNAS operating system is fully independent of its storage disks, allowing its configuration database and encryption keys to be backed up and restored to a fresh installation of the OS. This separation also allows for FreeNAS system upgrades to be performed through the web interface.
The FreeNAS project was started in October 2005 by Olivier Cochard-Labbé who based it on the m0n0wall embedded firewall and FreeBSD 6.0. Volker Theile joined the project in July 2006 and became the project lead in April 2008. In September 2009, the development team concluded that the project, then at release .7, was due for a complete rewrite in order to accommodate modern features such as a plug-in architecture. Volker Theile decided that the project best be reimplemented using Debian Linux and shifted his development efforts to the interim CoreNAS project and eventually OpenMediaVault where he continues as the project lead. Cochard-Labbé responded to community objections to "The Debian version of FreeNAS" and resumed activity in the project and oversaw its transfer to FreeNAS user iXsystems. Developers Daisuke Aoyama and Michael Zoon continued FreeNAS 7 development as the NAS4Free project while and iXsystems rewrote FreeNAS with a new architecture based on FreeBSD 8.1, releasing FreeNAS 8 Beta in November 2010. The plug-in architecture arrived with FreeNAS 8.2 and FreeNAS versioning was synchronized with FreeBSD for clarity. FreeNAS 8.3 introduced full-disk encryption and FreeBSD 9.1-based FreeNAS 9.1 brought an updated plug-in architecture that is compatible with the TrueOS Warden jail management framework. FreeNAS 9.1 was also the first version of FreeNAS to use the community-supported OpenZFS v5000 with Feature Flags. FreeNAS 9.2, based on FreeBSD 9.2 included performance improvements and introduced a REST API for remote system administration. FreeNAS 9.3, based on FreeBSD 9.3 introduced a ZFS-based boot device, an initial Setup Wizard and a high-performance in-kernel iSCSI server. FreeNAS 9.10, based on FreeBSD 10.3-RC3 brought an end to the FreeNAS/FreeBSD synchronized naming and introduced Graphite monitoring support and experimental support for the bhyve hypervisor.
In October of 2015, ten years after the original FreeNAS release, FreeNAS 10 ALPHA was released, providing a preview of what would become FreeNAS Corral GA on March 15th, 2017. FreeNAS Corral introduced a new graphical user interface, command-line interface, underlying middleware, container management system and virtual machine management system. FreeNAS Corral departs from FreeNAS by providing not only NAS functionality but also hyper-converged functionality thanks to its integrated virtual machine support. However, on April 12th 2017 iXsystems announced that FreeNAS Corral was relegated to being a 'Technology Preview', citing reasons such as "general instability, lack of feature parity with 9.10 (Jails, iSCSI, etc), and some users experiencing lower performance than expected" and the departure of the project lead. Instead, the decision was made to rebase on 9.10 code and bring Corral features to 9.10.3 and further.
- Web-based graphical user interface with optional SSL encryption
- Localized into over 20 languages
- Plug-in Architecture
- Included Transmission, Plex and FireFly plug-ins
- Performance graphing
- Email log and reporting notification
- Downloadable configuration file and encryption keys
- OpenZFS v5000 file system with Feature Flags
- Theoretical storage limit of 16 Exabytes
- File system snapshotting and replication
- Six levels of file system compression including lz4 and gzip
- Disk encryption with GELI and AESNI hardware acceleration
- Disk deduplication
- S.M.A.R.T. disk diagnostics
- UFS2, NTFS, FAT32 and EXT2/3 read support for data import
- SMB, AFP, NFS, iSCSI, SSH, FTP/TFTP protocols
- LDAP and Active Directory client support with Windows ACLs
- Apple Time Machine support
- rsync replication
- Link aggregation and failover
- VLAN networking
- Dynamic DNS client
- Remote syslogd forwarding
- SNMP monitoring
- UPS (Uninterruptible power supply) support
- iozone, netperf, OpenVPN, tmux and other utilities
- Bacula network backup server
- BitTorrent Sync distributed peer-to-peer file syncing application
- CouchPotato movie downloader
- Crashplan backup system
- CrucibleWDS Windows Deployment Solution
- Emby Media Server component
- Firefly Media Server
- Gamez automated downloader for video games
- HTPC-Manager graphical HTPC software manager
- LazyLibrarian eBook downloader
- Maraschino XBMC HTPC web interface
- MediaBrowser media center
- MineOS Minecraft server
- Mylar automated comic book downloader
- Nextcloud personal file hosting service
- ownCloud personal file hosting service
- Plex Media Server component
- s3cmd Amazon S3 backup utility
- Sabnzbd binary newsreader with Headphones audio download support
- Sickbeard PVR for newsgroup users
- Subsonic (media server)
- Syncthing file synchronization utility
- Transmission BitTorrent client
- XDM eXtendable Download Manager
- SoHo, SMB and Enterprise file serving
- Virtualization server storage backing
- Media center audio/video serving and streaming to DLNA devices
- VMware — "Ultimate Virtual Appliance Challenge, Consumer"
- sourceforge.net — Project of the Month, January 2007
- InfoWorld — Best of open source in storage
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- "FreeNAS Tech-Preview Downloads". Retrieved 2017-04-23.
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- "FreeNAS 8 Beta released". Warner Losh. Retrieved 2013-08-23.
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- "FreeNAS 9.2 Release Notes". FreeNAS Team. Retrieved 2017-03-27.
- "FreeNAS 9.3 Release Notes". FreeNAS Team. Retrieved 2017-03-27.
- "FreeNAS 9.10 Release Notes". FreeNAS Team. Retrieved 2017-03-27.
- "FreeNAS 10-ALPHA is now released!". FreeNAS Team. Retrieved 2017-03-27.
- "FreeNAS Corral Release Notes". FreeNAS Team. Retrieved 2017-03-28.
- "Important announcement regarding FreeNAS Corral". FreeNAS Community. Retrieved 2017-04-19.
- "FreeNAS translation website". FreeNAS Team. Retrieved 2013-08-23.
- "FreeNAS is a Network-Attached Storage (NAS) server". VMware, Inc. Retrieved 2008-02-28.
- "Project of the Month January 2007". SourceForge, Inc. Retrieved 2008-02-28.
- "Best of open source in storage - 2007". InfoWorld. Retrieved 2008-02-28.
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