FreeNAS 11: new features, VMs, new GUI, goodbye Corral

FreeNAS 11 Preview

FreeNAS is probably the most popular and most used Free NAS Operating System. After the retirement of FreeNAS Corral, the FreeNAS team is proud to present its successor: FreeNAS 11. This release aims at adding new features seen in Corral without compromising stability or maintainability.

I’m overjoyed, where can I download it?

If you already know what’s in for you, here’s the download. And here is the guide to install FreeNAS 11 in 5 easy steps!

Wait, what happened to FreeNAS Corral?

If you didn’t follow the entire affair, you will probably have questions like “Where’s FreeNAS Corral? This UI is completely different! How about VMs?”. After the departure of FreeNAS Corral project leader, FreeNAS developers voted on whether to:

  • Continue developing Corral as it is.
  • Go back to FreeNAS 9.10 and start implementing Corral features.

In the end, the developers decided to downgrade Corral to “technical preview”. This is mainly due to the fact that the project leader that left iXsystems, the company behind FreeNAS, used a rather obscure and unfit framework to build the user interface of Corral according to FreeNAS developers. Many Corral users also reported a higher resource usage and several stability issues compared to FreeNAS 9.10 . All of this lead us to the new project: FreeNAS 11.

FreeNAS 11 new features

FreeNAS 11 isn’t as wondrous as FreeNAS Corral, but it still packs a few, new, interesting features:

  • AngularJS-based UI: although Corral interface was pretty marvelous (in my opinion), it lacked a mainstream framework, so when the project lead left no one knew how to pick it up. With this new user interface based on AngularJS, developers are sure there will be common grounds on which to build. Currently the new UI is in beta status, it is expected to be fully released on FreeNAS 11.1 and to be themeable.
  • Virtual machines: much like Corral, FreeNAS 11 can host virtual machines thanks to Bhyve, a hypervisor developed on FreeBSD.
  • S3-compatible server: with this release, FreeNAS can now expose a S3-compatible interface that allows applications programmed for Amazon S3 to work similarly with FreeNAS 11 as object storage provider.
  • Alert systems: FreeNAS now supports popular external alert systems (and tools) such as Slack, PagerDuty, AWS, Hipchat, InfluxDB, Mattermost, OpsGenie, and VictorOps.
  • Improved services menu: users can now decide which services will start at boot using this menu.

Conclusion

The decision to drop FreeNAS Corral, a product that took away many hours of work and money, is now weighing upon the project. Although the decision mustn’t have been easy and indeed FreeNAS 11 looks rather unpolished compared to Corral, the road is set and the project is finally moving once again. What I would like to emphasize is that FreeNAS Corral took many many months to become what it was, FreeNAS 11 which was developed in about 3 months couldn’t have possibly been on pair in such a short timespan. As always we hope to see the best out of one of the best NAS operating systems, if not the greatest.

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The IT guy with a little boredom look in his eyes, fond of computers since forever he now works as a freelancer in the IT and shares his experiences through this blog.

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