File sharing is what FreeNAS does best. Every major operating system and hypervisor is supported. File sharing protocols include SMB (Windows file shares), NFS (Unix file shares) and AFP (Apple File Shares). FreeNAS Corral also has FTP, iSCSI (block sharing), WebDAV. iSCSI also supports VMware VAAI/Block, Microsoft ODX and Microsoft CSV.
Most operating systems, including Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux, FreeBSD, and TrueOS can connect using SMB shares with little or no additional configuration needed on the client side. AFP is primarily used by Mac OS X and is well suited for a network environment that only connects with Macintosh clients. FreeNAS also supports Time Machine backups.
If FreeNAS has one goal, it’s simplifying complex administrative tasks for as wide a user base as possible. Every aspect of a FreeNAS system can be managed from a Web User Interface. A setup Wizard further simplifies configurations. Storage provisioning, the setting of permissions on individual shares, and performing software updates can be done without missing a critical step or encountering a silent failure.
Of course, the FreeNAS Team knows we can’t think of everything. Many services in the Web User Interface provide an advanced menu of advanced configuration options. The full power of FreeNAS is just a click away. Ultimately, FreeNAS makes storage, container, and VM deployment easier than ever but doesn’t get between you and the solution you need.
Docker Container Support
FreeNAS Corral supports Docker, an open source software for automating the deployment of applications inside software containers. Docker containers provide a complete file system, runtime, system tools, and system libraries. This guarantees that the application will always run the same, regardless if it is running on FreeNAS Corral or in a different environment. Deploy applications inside software containers using Docker. Applications use the self-healing file system provided by FreeNAS Corral.
Virtual Machine Management
FreeNAS Corral uses the bhyve hypervisor, a FreeBSD virtual machine hosting tool. This tool provides a VM management user interface (UI), resulting in graphical console support for VMs from the Web user interface. The VM management user interface launches guest operating systems in serial consoles using VM templates or .iso installation images.
Self-healing and Unified File & Block Storage
The most important feature in ZFS is that it’s designed to ensure your data’s integrity. RAID-Z, the software RAID that is part of ZFS, offers single parity protection like RAID 5, but without the “write hole” vulnerability thanks to the copy-on-write architecture of ZFS. The additional levels RAID-Z2 and RAID-Z3 offer double and triple parity protection, respectively. A software mirror option is also available. Every ZFS file system is also verified with checksums from top to bottom to ensure data integrity. If inconsistencies are found, parity blocks can be used to repair corrupt data.
FreeNAS Corral unifies NAS and SAN storage. SMB, NFS, and AFP provide file storage, and iSCSI provides block storage. Every common operating system and application is supported, and simple directory service integration means FreeNAS Corral will fit seamlessly into your environment.
Thanks to ZFS, snapshots of the entire file system can be made and saved at any time. As long as a snapshot exists, administrators can access files as they were when the snapshot was made.
Snapshots can be made on a one-off basis or scheduled using the web interface. At any time, the entire file system can be rolled back to the most recent snapshot. Older snapshots can be cloned and accessed to recover data from that version of the file system. From the web interface, users can see how much space a particular snapshot is occupying on the volume and delete, clone, or roll back to individual snapshots as needed.
ZFS Snapshots are more than just local backups – they can be used to create remote backups as well. Replicating snapshots of the file system to a remote ZFS file system creates a complete duplicate there. Furthermore, additional snapshots of the same file system can be sent incrementally, reducing the size of each backup to the changes that were made between snapshots. In case of catastrophic damage to a local ZFS file system (such as disk failure in excess of parity protection or irrecoverable log device failure), any backed-up snapshot can be sent to a new ZFS file system, recovering all data up to that backup.
FreeNAS is the first and only open source project to offer encryption on ZFS volumes! A full-volume encryption option is available during volume creation, called data at rest encryption, which can be hardware-accelerated when the processor has AES-NI capability.
Encryption allows for confidence when retiring and recycling hard drives because the drives no longer need to be wiped provided the master keys are obliterated.
Apple Time Machine
TrueOS Life Preserver