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.

Image courtesy of mark | marksei

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The IT guy with a slight look of boredom in his eyes. Freelancer. Current interests: Kubernetes, Tensorflow, shiny new things.

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1 Response

  1. Truman HW says:

    As a non-IT guy … I’d like to write out a list of (probably) ridiculous wishes.

    dumbed down mode of FreeNAS:
    Lesser security
    Default user groups & account settings
    Pre-configured torrent manager
    Allows Win/Mac/Unix OS to share the same folders (create folder name, only)

    Make the DICTION more intuitive / simplified for novices?

    A tutorial for novices to understand verbs (commands) & arguments.

    (There’re arguments which’re optional & some which’re required.
    Is there a way to know? Do the man pages indicate which are?

    Tool tips:
    A. Using networking as an example: dropdown list showing octets / 0.0.0.0
    B. Others could provide a link to manual
    C. Others still could provide link + example (definitions of terms & argument)

    A page (for quick navigation) dedicated to questions / suggestions
    — AND —
    A page for member contributions to improve explanations on the manual.

    And probably more ridiculous …

    Example, if say, 30% of the capacity is reserved — use half the capacity at HD INTERIOR sectors for ‘FAST spinning’ area as temp storage.

    It can be up to 3x as fast as the end of the drive … there must be a means to use that space to improve write-speed … which is worse than a single-drive’s speed in my system.

    Maybe as a tier for speedier ingress of data, even if it’s just to PREP data before it commits it to permanent storage.

    If not the above (designating fastest regions of the spinning drive speed to improve write-performance) … a tier for small(er) arrays of (SSDs, but hopefully) NVMe drives to get truly fast storage tiers.

    Lastly: Designate an amount of RAM to ingress data TO RAM — at the maximum speed of the source’ drive’s ability to read.

    …and combinations of using those tiers mentioned above — as, with a PCIe SSD, 7200RPM drives, and 32GB of RAM — I get write speeds below the write speed of a single drive.

    Using the RAM ONLY to serve up content frequently used isn’t useful to everyone (take video editors for instance) …

    Reserving some for that purpose makes sense — but reserving it all for that doesn’t necessarily help everyone.

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