The History (and Future) of FreeNAS & TrueNAS

Written by Annie Zhang on .

The FreeNAS project got its start way back in 2005, when Olivier Cochard-Labbé wanted to turn his old PC into a home server. There wasn’t an open source project that fit all of his needs, so he did what any self-respecting software developer would do: he sat down and wrote his own. Just like that, the software that would eventually become the world’s most popular open source software defined storage was born.

History of FreeNAS

Development continued until 2009, when one of the project developers proposed moving FreeNAS to a Debian Linux based system. This move would have meant losing access to the FreeBSD community and the overall quality of its software, and FreeNAS would also lose its native ZFS support, since the ZFS On Linux project didn’t even exist at that time. iXsystems had used FreeNAS for many years and sold servers specifically made for FreeNAS, so Matt Olander, one of the iXsystems founders, reached out to Olivier and offered to take over FreeNAS development on FreeBSD. Olivier gave his blessing, and iXsystems started immediately working on FreeNAS 8. In order to modernize FreeNAS, the development team at iXsystems rewrote almost all the code and replaced the m0n0wall PHP code with a full featured, easy-to-use webGUI.

From there, iXsystems continued to improve the FreeNAS code and add new features. A new plugin system was introduced in FreeNAS 8.3 that allows users to install ports, packages and PBI’s and extend the use of the system. In March 2013, with the release of 8.3.1, FreeNAS became the first and only open source storage project to offer encryption with ZFS. In the most recent 9.3 release, we redesigned the UI again, moved to ZFS completely, and added the ability to boot from multiple boot environments and roll-back updates or other configuration changes. It also added the ability to automatically check for updates, added support for NFSv4, supports booting from multiple boot environments, and makes it easier to roll-back updates or apply other configuration changes.

There’s a smooth continuum between FreeNAS development and our for-profit work. The time we put into open source supports projects around the globe. It also supports the company because the software is directly incorporated into our storage offerings. The feedback and bug reports we get from the FreeNAS open source community allow us to refine our software and deliver that refinement to our customers – other storage companies only wish they had access to the QA resources we do!

The first generation of the TrueNAS storage appliance launched in August 2011 and, since then, we have launched the second generation of TrueNAS appliances. In late 2014, we also unveiled our all-flash TrueFlash system.

There are very big things planned for the future of FreeNAS. FreeNAS 10 will feature a dramatic overhaul of the user interface, completely rewritten underpinnings, and a re-base on FreeBSD 10.x. Overall, it will be far more responsive and intuitive to use, feature many more Enterprise level storage features, and offer greatly enhanced reporting and monitoring options. We think long-time FreeNAS users will be quite impressed by it.

We are also releasing frequent incremental updates for FreeNAS 9.3 while the community waits for FreeNAS 10 to hit its initial release milestones in 9-12 months. We promise the wait will be worth it!

Jordan Hubbard
FreeNAS Project Manager and iXsystems CTO

FreeNAS 10 Switches to Windows 10 + NTFS

Written by James T. Nixon III on .

In an effort to continue the evolution of free and open software, FreeNAS Leadership is now working with Microsoft on a brand-new platform. Early this morning, Microsoft reached out to FreeNAS Leadership with a proposal to build FreeNAS 10 on an arm-based Windows 10 device capable of storing nearly half a petabyte of data. To accomplish this feat, FreeNAS 10 will utilize NTFS, Microsoft’s recently open-sourced filesystem, bringing FreeNAS better ACL support than ever before!

Easiest setup, ever.

Featuring an easy-to-use, point & click graphical user interface with bullet proof syncing done by directly wiring systems together via thin-net 10base2 coax cabling.

Apps for everything!

Not-to-worry, all your Applications, Apps, extensions, and Plug-ins, and Jails, and VMs all run natively, and securely. Xbox game data is streamed over the network and stores shadow copies of your game states via the tried & true copy-on-write technique that NTFS is bringing to FreeNAS. Modern filesystems are nice, in theory – but in practice, a mature platform is always better.


Microsoft Windows 10 & FreeNAS 10 w/ NTFS: Storage fit for Everyone

For more details please contact beastie@local.domain


The Arrival of TrueNAS 9.3 | Fun Things to Do with FreeNAS | Replacing Failed HDDs | Issue #19

Written by Annie Zhang on .

Hello FreeNAS Users,

We’ve been busy working on TrueNAS 9.3 and we’re ready to unveil the results. We’re also sharing some new articles this month including an in-depth look at the FreeNAS Mini and a collection of unconventional ways to use FreeNAS.

The FreeNAS Team

The Release of TrueNAS 9.3
We’re proud to announce the best release of TrueNAS yet! Some of the new features in TrueNAS 9.3 include encrypted HA, configuration wizards, and an update manager that allows users to apply most future updates without rebooting. Read more >>
5 Fun Things to Do With FreeNAS
FreeNAS has countless uses and applications, but if you’re wondering what kind of fun you can have with it, here’s our roundup of five interesting ways to use FreeNAS. Read more >>

FreeBSD Journal
How to Replace Failed HDDs
It’s inevitable – one of the drives in your FreeNAS system sputters to a stop and fails. What do you do now? Our newest video tutorial demonstrates how to replace failed HDDs in FreeNAS 9.3. Check it out >>
Building a FreeNAS Home Server via Tested
Will Smith (not that one) of Tested recently built a home server using FreeNAS and wrote about his experience. He explains his build, the installation process, and how he configured the system.
FreeNAS at SCALE 13x
The FreeNAS team attended SCALE 13x in February. Check out photos of the team from day 1, day 2, & day 3 and our after-show recap. Dru Lavigne of the FreeNAS team also gave a presentation about the new features and changes in FreeNAS 9.3.
FreeNAS Certification Classes
We offer a free Intro to FreeNAS class that runs every day. For those of you interested in learning more about advanced topics, we also offer paid, fully interactive classes. Read more >>
6 Reasons Why TrueNAS is replacing NetApp and EMC – Free Webinar
What’s the difference between FreeNAS and TrueNAS? For the answer, we invite you to join Matt Olander, Co-Founder of iXsystems, in a free webinar about TrueNAS. Find out why people are making the switch from big-name, legacy storage vendors to TrueNAS. Read more >>
Live Events


TechTip #15
FreeNAS isn’t the only OS with boot environment snapshots – PC-BSD has them too!
Join the Team
iXsystems, the company that sponsors FreeNAS, is looking for a few good people to join our team. Interested? The full list of available positions can be found on our website.
Links of the Month