iXsystems Announces Revolutionary FreeNAS 9.1.0 Release

Written by Ben Milman on .

New Major version features new volume manager and easy to use plugin management system

The FreeNAS development team is delighted to announce the general release of FreeNAS 9.1.0. This release offers massive improvements to the usability, extensibility, stability, and performance of FreeNAS. Everything from the web user interface, plugin management system, base operating system, ZFS file system, and even the source control used to manage the project have been substantially improved. With FreeNAS 9.1.0, iXsystems sets a new level of excellence and power in open source storage solutions.

Major parts of the Web User Interface have been overhauled to add functionality and improve usability. The volume creation interface has been completely replaced with a new wizard that assists the user in creating the most ideal storage pool and optimal setup for the number of disks available, also helping those unfamiliar with ZFS to make correct early configuration decisions and avoid painful rebuilds later. The encryption interface has also been modified to emphasize the correct steps for safely and securely encrypting a newly created pool.

The FreeNAS plugin system has been completely revamped to cover a wider variety of use cases, from the needs of the beginner to the expert user. Plugins can be installed from a user-configurable central plugin repository as well as uploaded manually through the easy web interface. Multiple jails and jail types, including jails for FreeNAS plugins, PC-BSD ports, and conventional FreeBSD packages, are now supported. FreeNAS also uses the Warden system from PC-BSD and features a completely redesigned user interface. With more choices to extend FreeNAS than ever before, end-users and developers alike will find this to be the most powerful and extensible version ever released!

FreeNAS now includes ZFS feature flags, bringing it in line with the future of ZFS development. This upgrade lets FreeNAS benefit from the most up-to-date open source work on ZFS such as LZ4 compression, which allows compressed datasets to operate at near real-time speed. With ZFS feature flags, every project can pick and choose which features to add to ZFS and implement new ones to be shared with the community. Other improvements to ZFS in FreeNAS 9.1.0 include TRIM support to get better performance from solid-state drives, enhanced drive failure notification, improved memory use, and reliability enhancements.

The underlying operating system in FreeNAS 9.1.0 has been updated to FreeBSD 9-STABLE, a conservative development branch that offers updates in advance of the next FreeBSD RELEASE version. This allows FreeNAS to benefit from the very latest updates and features. iXsystems engineers have also brought in additional performance and stability enhancements from the even more advanced FreeBSD 10-CURRENT branch, where improvements from outside FreeBSD are often introduced. By working with the latest stable code available, enhancements and bug fixes developed for FreeNAS can more easily be passed back to upstream projects where they will benefit users across the open source community.

Behind the scenes, FreeNAS is now using git as its primary source control system. This switch is intended to make it easier for outside developers to make substantive contributions to FreeNAS. Along with the release of FreeNAS 9.1, we are also proud to announce that the FreeNAS source code is now hosted on Github.com as well as Sourceforge.net, introducing it to an even wider developer community. Github users can now see, follow, and fork the repository at github.com/freenas/freenas. We look forward to your pull requests!

Allan Jude, host of the weekly sysadmin podcast TechSNAP.tv, said, “FreeNAS is the go-to solution for managing storage. Viewers of my podcast often ask me about building servers for work, home and the cloud. When storage is involved my answer is always “Just use FreeNAS”. FreeNAS leaves you feeling secure in the knowledge that anyone can operate its web interface, but you can still benefit from the power of the command line.”

About FreeNAS®
FreeNAS is a free and open source Network Attached Storage operating system based on FreeBSD®. The goal of the project is to design a lightweight, BSD-based software package that acts as a full featured NAS server, complete with a Django-based web user interface, full ZFS implementation, and the ability to interface with existing networks – regardless of operating system or protocol. FreeNAS also includes the first Free and Open Source ZFS encryption offering in the world.

About iXsystems®
iXsystems builds rock solid enterprise-class servers and storage solutions. All of our products are assembled, tested, and shipped from our company headquarters in Silicon Valley. Technical support is provided in-house by the same engineers that build the systems. Thousands of companies, universities, and U.S. Government departments have come to rely on iXsystems’ customer-first commitment to excellence. iXsystems champions the cause of Open Source technology by dedicating extensive resources to several FreeBSD community projects: FreeNAS, PC-BSD®, FreeBSD, and TrueOS®.

FreeNAS 9.1.0 RC2 available

Written by Ben Milman on .

FreeNAS 9.1.0 RC2 is available on the download page. RC2 is still pre-production software, please use with caution.

Plugins available in a properly configured repo may now be installed in one step, which will configure and install a plugin jail if that has not yet been done. Administrators may choose alternate repos.

The image size has been reduced to 2GB – this means upgrades from FreeNAS 8.0.1 and later are now supported. Always back up your configuration and data before performing upgrades, especially to non-production versions.

FreeNAS 9.1.0 RC1 Available

Written by Ben Milman on .

Alfred has announced that FreeNAS-9.1.0 Release Candidate 1 is available for download from http://sourceforge.net/projects/freenas/files/FreeNAS-9.1.0/

Release Notes for FreeNAS 9.1.0-RC1

This is the first release candidate for FreeNAS 9.1.0. We have passed a great alpha and rolling beta cycle with many bug fixes and regressions fixed. At this point, only bug fixes and regressions will be addressed.

*** IMPORTANT ***

The image size increased in FreeNAS 9.1.0-ALPHA. The new size requires a 4 GB storage device. The GUI upgrade can be used to upgrade a system from BETA3 or BETA4, but upgrades from earlier releases can only be done from the CD. The other option is
to save the config, reinstall the new version, then restore the config.

Major changes:

  1. Version 9.1-STABLE of FreeBSD with performance improvements, bug
    fixes, and updated software packages.
  2. Many improvements to the ZFS filesystem, including feature flags,
    TRIM support, enhanced drive removal notification, LZ4 compression,
    improved ARC memory reclamation and reliability improvements.
  3. Improved Plugin Jail subsystem which supports multiple jails and
    an enhanced UI including enhancements from PC-BSD Warden.
  4. Improved Volume manager including auto optimization of volumes
    for performance.
  5. Improvements to the encryption subsystem.
  6. Documentation enhancements.
  7. Increased base image size to 3.7GB.
  8. GUI UPGRADES FROM FREENAS 8.X ARE NOT SUPPORTED (due to image size #7)
  9. **IMPORTANT** Backward compatibility of FreeNAS 9.1 ZFS pools with older versions of ZFS is not to be expected. Upgrade pools with extreme caution, as all ZFS pool upgrades are one-way and only FreeNAS 9.1, FreeBSD 9-STABLE, and FreeBSD 8.4 currently support this ZFS pool format.
  10. To convert 8.* pluginjail to a 9.* pluginjail, please run the jail migration script like so (prior to configuring jails):

    /root/migrate_pluginjail.sh -D

    Any plugins installed will need to be updated manually, this can be done
    on the services->plugins page.

The bug tracker for FreeNAS is available at http://support.freenas.org

Discussion about FreeNAS occurs in the FreeNAS forums, located at: http://forums.freenas.org as well as in the official FreeNAS IRC channel on FreeNode in #freenas.