FreeNAS 9.3 Released

Here’s an early Christmas present for you all: FreeNAS 9.3!

This FreeNAS update is a significant evolutionary step from previous FreeNAS releases, featuring a simplified and reorganized Web User Interface, support for Microsoft ODX and Windows 2012 clustering, better VMWare integration, including VAAI support, a new and more secure update system with roll-back functionality, and hundreds of other technology enhancements. We’re quite proud of it and excited to make it publicly available.

You can get it here and the list of changes are here. We encourage all existing 9.2.x users and 9.3 beta testers to upgrade.

Last month saw the release of FreeNAS 9.3-BETA. Thousands of users downloaded the beta. Here’s a quick glance at the improvements made to FreeNAS 9.3:

Jordan Hubbard took some time to make a State of the Union video addressing the changes in 9.3 and discussing the plans for 10.x. If you haven’t already, you can see it here:

Additionally, you can watch this video by Linda Kateley, FreeNAS instructor, for an in-depth overview of the changes:

I enjoyed seeing many of you at MeetBSD in San Jose at the beginning of November and I hope everyone enjoys this release of FreeNAS!

Brett Davis
iXsystems Executive Vice President

35 Comments

  1. Rob Heselwood

    Is the latest version the 64bit version for more than 4gb of ram?

    Regards
    Rob

    Reply
    • Brett Davis

      Yes, the recommended minimum is 8GB RAM.

      Reply
      • stefano

        and if I have only 4 GB ? it’s a problem?

        Reply
        • Brett Davis

          8GB is recommended. Fundamentally, some ZFS features (like prefetch) will even be disabled with less than 6GB of RAM. In some cases you might be ok with 4GB, and in others 8GB could even be far too little. For example, if it’s a use case like “Bob” describes above with a single 1TB drive, you could be fine, but at the end of the day, we recommend 8GB because it’s the minimum that we test and can therefore stand behind. Using less than 8GB is an “at your own risk” adventure and not recommended or supported. We plan on releasing a blog regarding this topic soon. Stay tuned!

          Reply
      • Dmitry

        I have 10 GB RAM and lot’s of jails. How can I be sure that this amount of RAM is sufficient?

        Reply
        • Michael Dexter

          That is adequate RAM for FreeNAS and the RAM usage by the jails will be determined entirely what software you run in them.

          Reply
  2. Rick

    Why does the NAS 9.3 require 8 GB ram to run? Insanity. I currently keep an old XP machine for my home server and it works really good and only has 4 GB ram…

    Reply
    • Michael Dexter

      ZFS is quite memory-intensive compared to other file systems but as a trade off provides far more integrity safeguards than most file systems.

      Reply
  3. Dimitri

    Is the upgrade safe for my jails?

    Reply
    • Brett Davis

      It is, indeed.

      Reply
  4. Bob

    is 4GB of ram ok if I plan on running just one 1TB drive without any redundancy?

    Reply
    • Brett Davis

      Unofficially: I’d think you’d be ok in this scenario.
      Officially: this isn’t something we have tested.

      Reply
  5. fraser

    Can I use freenas 9.3 with my highpoint rocket raid 2720?

    Reply
    • Brett Davis

      If it worked with previous versions of FreeNAS, then it will also work with FreeNAS 9.3. Of course, I’d recommend using it in “JBOD” (pass-through) mode to take full advantage of ZFS by letting FreeNAS handle the RAID.

      Reply
  6. Chris B.

    Where is the image file located for 9.3 so i can extract straight to usb?

    Thanks in advance

    Reply
    • Brett Davis

      The “direct extraction” method of installing FreeNAS is no longer available since FreeNAS now takes advantage of the full capacity of the install media with ZFS. One of the reasons FreeNAS uses ZFS for the boot volume is to support “clones” of the boot volume itself as a failsafe in the case of a misconfiguration or bad upgrade. As a result, FreeNAS now requires scripts to be run at install time, which is not possible with the direct extraction method.

      If you don’t have a CD drive available, the ISO image can now be directly copied to another USB drive (not the one for boot) and booted to provide the same installer experience as the CD installer. This is the recommended install method when a CD drive is not available.

      Here is a link to the documentation regarding the install for 9.3:
      http://doc.freenas.org/9.3/freenas_install.html

      And, the release notes contain a clearer discussion of the boot and install features:
      http://download.freenas.org/9.3/STABLE/201412301712/ReleaseNotes

      I smell a new FAQ item coming…

      Reply
  7. Nick M.

    Is there any workaround for those of us with picky hardware that refuses to boot from GPT, and demands MBR? My hardware isn’t even a month old, but Asus isn’t being cooperative.

    Reply
    • Brett Davis

      It seems odd that a motherboard that recent would insist on MBR booting, but ASUS has indeed been an inconsistent motherboard manufacturer when it comes to implementing — and sticking to — standards.

      If you’re experiencing a mountroot problem, here is a workaround from the forum that might help: https://forums.freenas.org/index.php?threads/workaround-semi-fix-for-mountroot-issues-with-9-3.26071/

      If that doesn’t work, I’d look to toggling BIOS settings related to USB booting, if available.

      Reply
      • Nick M.

        The workaround wasn’t usable as my issue is picky BIOS. I have gone through all possible configurations and found no solution there.

        However, with Clover Bootloader, it turned out to be a simple UEFI boot extension. Some users booting from USB may not like having a second USB boot device, but in simple fact, it works and works well. This should work for all systems that refuse to boot from the new GPT/ZFS boot format.

        http://sourceforge.net/projects/cloverefiboot/

        Reply
        • Seth

          Hi Nick,

          How exactly did you configure Clover to boot FREENAS? I can’t seem to force Clover to see it, and the documentation for Clover is rather light.

          TIA,
          Seth

          Reply
  8. Pascal

    Just for anyone who is wondering: After upgrading from 9.2.1.5 to 9.3 `zpool upgrade` tells me that there are three ZFS features I can get for upgrading my zpools to the newest version: embedded_data, filesystem_limits and large_blocks.

    Reply
  9. Kyle

    When upgrading to 9.2.X to 9.3, does the root file system get converted to ZFS, or is this only supported on a clean install?

    Reply
    • Brett Davis

      Whether upgrading, or performing a fresh install and importing the old configuration, the end result is the same: the filesystem will be ZFS root.

      Reply
  10. Josh

    This will be the first time I’ve ever upgraded, and I’m a bit nervous. So, my questions are:

    1. I believe my drives are in a software raid 0 +1 configuration, will my data be safe?
    2. Can I upgrade from 9.1.1 to 9.3?

    Reply
    • Michael Dexter

      Note that the FreeNAS operating system resides on a separate device from the storage pool and that the pool is portable between installations and even ZFS-compatible operating systems. So yes, your data should be safe and yes, you should be able to upgrade from FreeNAS 9.1.1 to later 9.* versions.

      Reply
  11. Dexter

    I am new to freenas.I am installing 9.3 and i have four 1 TB drives.Do i need to setup raid or wait until I have installed the program?

    Reply
    • Brett Davis

      The RAID setup happens using the volume manager after you perform the FreeNAS install.

      Reply
  12. Silvia

    I have a Freenas 9.2.0 running with two raid1 (1T and 4T). It runs on a pendrive with 4Gb and 4Gb of Ram. If I upgrade to the Freenas 9.3, will this configuration run?

    Reply
    • Brett Davis

      I would advise you to upgrade the RAM and USB drive to 8GB before updating.

      Reply
  13. AXEL SCHANZ

    Is there a way to install Freenas without using a monitor? I’m using a xeon processor which won’t do graphics and the only pci slot on the mobo is being used for the HDD controller.

    Reply
    • Michael Dexter

      You can direct the output to a serial port: Settings: Advanced: Serial Port…

      Reply
  14. Deonast

    Sorry if this is a double post, just wasn’t sure if there is a delay on posting comments.

    I was shocked when I saw this in your installation notes “UFS is no longer supported” hence I’m still stuck on 9.2

    Just thought I’d ask if there was any chance you guys would reconsider killing off r/w UFS support (I’m fine with it not being used for booting) but killing it off leaves me with no viable backup options. Unless you can suggest a way you can format disks as ZFS and mount them similar to what you can do for a UFS drive.

    Basically I hook drives via a caddy directly via SATA to my storage server. I then use scripts to mount those UFS drives (2 drives one after the other is my weekly backup, via two scripts). eg

    mkdir /mnt/BackupDrive
    mount -t ufs /dev/da6p1 /mnt/BackupDrive

    Then I rsync to the mounted drive which gives me good speed.

    I chose UFS as I seemed to have issues with NTFS and I knew I could restore from that format on windows (via drivers) or ubuntu in the event of catastrophe. Drives are kept off site.

    From my discussions on the forms and after reading your release notes it appears 9.3 has only read support I guess just so data can be migrated.

    https://forums.freenas.org/index.php?threads/freenas-9-3-and-ufs-mounting-support.25964/

    So if I can’t use UFS for backups, I don’t have another system that I can realistically rsync everything to and backup from there and replicating data to another instance of freenas (just for offsite backups) isn’t practical. May I ask how do I backup all my data.

    Surely others must have this issue too. A google on the web and I see stupid suggestions like removing a drive from the array as a back which isn’t and degrades the array redundancy.

    I’m no ZFS expert, can you advise is there a way to format a drive to ZFS and mount it like I used to with UFS but not have it in a pool. Since I have drives of different sizes in my backup sets and they need to be added and removed each backup I can’t see how a ZFS pool would be helpful for backups in my scenario.

    Sadly I’ve only been using FreeNAS for 5 months and I now wonder if I need to look into another platform.

    Anything you can advise would be appreciated.

    Reply
    • jkh

      You can still use UFS as a filesystem on some external device, just not as your “main file store” because FreeNAS is trying to provide for *reliable* file storage, and UFS provides no redundancy or self-healing features. You can also, for that matter, format a single drive as a ZFS filesystem if you simply wish to copy files over as a last-ditch DR strategy – that’s easy to do from the UI even. Just create another pool on your external drive, replicate your data from a snapshot over to it, then detach it. Done! You don’t need UFS.

      Reply
  15. Paul

    That’s odd I commented in Firefox nothing appeared on page. Tried again through Chrome and I get a message about a duplicate comment, but I see nothing here of my comment. Do you guys have to approve them before posting. It would be good if the leave comment area mentioned that. So does that mean you wasn’t post my earlier comment?

    Reply
    • Michael Dexter

      Yes. Comments are moderated to keep SPAM down. Sorry about the delay.

      Reply

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