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10 Great Things About FreeNAS

July 30th, 2009 Comments off

What is it that makes FreeNAS so special? Here is a list of 10 things which make FreeNAS great.


  1. It works – The thing about FreeNAS is that although the version numbers sound a bit freighting 0.69 or 0.7, it actually works. You can safely commit your data to it. Aside from hardware failure, power spikes or your roof collapsing the FreeNAS server will keep your data safe and sound.
  2. It is free – Unlike commercial NAS solutions FreeNAS is free as in that it costs $0 but also free in that the full source code is available for one. There are no hidden or proprietary secrets here.
  3. Low system requirements – How much does a hard disk cost nowadays, less that $100 for 1TB. If you have an old PC (and when I say old I mean a Pentium 2 or 3 not a 3Ghz Pentium 4 with 1GB of memory) then you can slip in a couple of 1TB drives (with maybe the addition of a new SATA controller) and your NAS is up an running. FreeNAS doesn’t need much memory, no fancy video card or a blinding fast CPU. My personal FreeNAS system runs on a 700Mhz Celeron system.
  4. Supports Windows, Mac, Linux and FreeBSD – It doesn’t really matter what type of computers you have in your home or office, FreeNAS probably will talk the right lingo.
  5. RSYNC – RSYNC is an incredible protocol for doing backups over your home network, over the internet or even internally in the FreeNAS. It is almost universally available on all platforms and is kind to your network or Internet connection.
  6. iSCSI – For those who are looking for more complex storage solutions, FreeNAS support iSCSI. Now that Windows has a free iSCSI initiator from Microsoft, iSCSI on FreeNAS can give you new hard drives in your PC without having to physically connect them!
  7. Media Streaming – FreeNAS supports several different types of media streaming and is uPnP compatible and can also act as an iTunes server.
  8. RAID – FreeNAS supports a whole plethora of RAID types including 0, 1 and 5 but also 1+0, 0+1, 5+0, 0+5 and so on.
  9. ZFS – With the advert of version 0.7 FreeNAS now officially supports ZFS the revolutionary filing system from Sun. With ZFS you data is organized into data pools rather than hard drives and to increase your storage you just add a hard drive to the pool. No more drive C:, D:, E:, F:, G:, H:…
  10. Easy to use – Even though FreeNAS is built on top of FreeBSD, you don’t need to get your feet dirty with technical Unix type things. FreeNAS is managed with a web interface. Simple, clean and easy to learn.

Categories: General Tags:

Using FreeNAS for Disaster Recovery – Part 1 and 2

July 27th, 2009 Comments off

Saiweb has a series of posts about using FreeNAS for disaster recovery.
They were looking for ways to build a “cost effective” NAS, and now following the success of a recent build using FreeNAS for deploying an office NAS with 2.7TB of usable disk space they have developed a concept for using these relatively cheap NAS systems for Disaster Recovery Purposes.

This NAS build at the time of writing costs £740.54 inc VAT, for a 4TB system, giving approx 2.7TB of usable diskspace in a RAID 5 configuration, try getting a pr-ebuilt model for that!

You can find links to part 1 and part 2 of this series below, I will of course keep you up to date with any news posts which appear!

Related links:

Using freeNAS for Disaster Recovery – Part 1

Using freeNAS for Disaster Recovery – Part 2 | Saiweb

Categories: Tips Tags:

NAS Showdown: FreeNAS vs AirPort Extreme vs Synology DS207+

July 27th, 2009 Comments off

The Good Tech Tips blog has posted a showdown between 3 different types of NAS: A DIY FreeNAS system, an AirPort Extreme with attached USB drive (pictured) and a Synology DS207+.

To evaluate the usefulness of each financial step up, they used three main criteria: Overall performance, availability of redundant data via RAID 1, and whether it’s possible to add in features like media streaming, remote access or integrated BitTorrent.

Here are the details of the 3 system tested:


  • A DIY system was concocted using FreeNAS software and an older ThinkPad. This was technically the cheapest of the bunch.
  • A router-based system was an AirPort Extreme with attached WD and LaCie USB drives, which was also “recycling” but cost a bit more.
  • The dedicated NAS appliance tested was a two-drive Synology DS207+, $330 for the box but the drives themselves are sold separately.

Follow the link below to find out the final verdict.

How To Choose the Best Network Storage for a Mac/PC Home

Categories: Tips Tags:

FreeNAS: Free and Snazzy Storage Solution

July 24th, 2009 Comments off

Serverwatch.com has written a tutorial about FreeNAS. The tutorial is very positive about FreeNAS and starts with “FreeNAS is one of those surprising projects that not only saves you a huge amount of money but is so simple to use that you’ll wonder why there’s so much mystery surrounding network-attached storage(NAS).”

The guide covers Building Your NAS Device, Installing FreeNAS and Using FreeNAS.

Related links:

FreeNAS: Free and Snazzy Storage Solution

Categories: Tips Tags:

Rose Network’s Guide To FreeNAS

July 22nd, 2009 Comments off

The Rose Network blog has some instructions on setting up FreeNAS. The guide covers:


  • Running from the LIVECD
  • Basic Configuration
  • About RAID
  • Advanced Configuration
  • Changing the type of RAID
  • Access Server FreeNAS Member of Computer Network (Client)
  • Installing FreeNAS in Flashdisk or Harddisk

Related links:

Rose Network: Cheap File Server up with NAS (Network Attached Storage)

Categories: Tips Tags:

How to Connect to Your FreeNAS Server via SSH Without A Password; Password Free Logins via Public Key Authentication

July 22nd, 2009 4 comments

If you connect to your FreeNAS server often with SSH or want to run rsync via SSH then it can be very useful to setup what is called public key authentication. In public key authentication rather than using a password to grant access the SSH client and the SSH server exchange keys and so confirm the identity of the client.

The firs step is to make sure that you have a user with shell access. To check goto Access->Users and either edit and existing user or create a new user and make sure the “Shell access” box is ticked. You also need to be sure that the SSH server is running. Check this on the Services->SSH page.

Important:
SSH is very fussy about user permissions. If the home directory of your user isn’t owned by the user, SSH login with public key will fail. If you have this problem the SSH log will show something like Authentication refused: bad ownership or modes for directory /mnt/store. To fix this you need to create a directory beneath your mount point for that user, i.e. /mnt/store/bob and the Home directory needs to be set to this on the Access->Users page for that user.

In this example I will use OS X (it should be almost identical for Linux but for Windows users you will need to use PuTTY and PuTTYgen).

On the client machine open a terminal window and enter the command:

ssh-keygen -q -f ~/.ssh/id_rsa -t rsa

When prompted for a password just hit ENTER twice:

Enter passphrase (empty for no passphrase):
Enter same passphrase again:

This will generate what is known as a private key and a public key. The private key must be kept save and secure and you must never distribute it in any form whatsoever. However the public key is for public consumption and this is what we will copy over to the FreeNAS server.

So to copy the public key to the FreeNAS server, user the following command:

scp ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub bob@192.168.1.250:

Where bob is the username with shell access and 192.168.1.250 is the address of your FreeNAS machine.

When prompted for the password enter it:

bob@192.168.1.32’s password:
id_rsa.pub 100% 402 0.4KB/s 00:00

Now login to your FreeNAS machine using SSH:

ssh -l bob 192.168.1.250

And enter the password when prompted.

Now the public key of your client machine needs to be added to the list of authorized clients that connect. To do this run the following commands:

cat ~/id_rsa.pub >> ~/.ssh/authorized_keys
chmod 600 ~/.ssh/authorized_keys
rm ~/id_rsa.pub

The first command will add the key to the list of authorized keys, the second will ensure that the permissions are set correct on that file and the third will delete the .pub file you copied over with the scp command as it is now longer needed.

And that is it. You can now logout and now connect again with SSH and it should connect directly without asking for a password.

Troubleshooting:
If you find that everything doesn’t work as planned they check the Diagnostics->Log page and select SSH from the drop downbox and see what is being logged.

Categories: Tips Tags:

Bittorrents in FreeNAS

July 21st, 2009 Comments off

The guys over at Ejes Consulting have been playing around with FreeNAS a lot lately. Among the many features that they enjoy in the FreeNAS project, one of their very favorites is the Bittorrent Server that it has built in.

It is a version of the Transmission bittorrent web client running in WebGUI mode (by default on your freeNAS server on port 9091 http://freenas:9091 or similar)

The features that they want specifically is the blocklist feature, which allows you to download a list of blocked ips from known malware locations or otherwise malicious sites, and the ability to encrypt traffic so that your ISP cannot detect your bittorrent traffic.

You can see the full guide at the link below.

Related links:

Bittorrents in FreeNAS « ejes consulting

Categories: Tips Tags:

Using Openfire (Jabber Server) in FreeNAS

July 21st, 2009 Comments off

The Life’s Like That blog has a post about using Openfire (Jabber) server
with FreeNAS.

The guidelines are for FreeNAS 0.69 series which is based on BSD 6.4. The author notes that there might be differences for the FreeNAS 0.7 series as that is based on FreeNAS 7.

Related links:

Life’s like that: Openfire in FreeNAS (Freebsd Based)

Categories: Tips Tags:

FreeNAS Tutorial – Part 2 – The Hardware

July 21st, 2009 Comments off

The Life of Hex blog has posted part 2 in its series on FreeNAS. This new tutorial covers what you need in order to build your new FreeNAS server.

The post mentions that you can probably pull any old PC out of your closet and turn it into a FreeNAS server. They recommend something around 500 MHz3 and no less than 128 MB RAM.

The Life of Hex’s NAS is an AMD Athlon XP 1.2 GHz with 1 GB4 RAM. 4 hard drives giving me a 320 GB capacity, a 32 MB video card, onboard sound and LAN.

The tutorial covers all the aspects of putting together the hardware for a FreeNAS server including:


  • Motherboard / CPU
  • RAM
  • HDD Controller
  • Hard Disks
  • CD-ROM
  • Video
  • LAN
  • USB
  • Power Supply
  • Case

The next tutorial will be a walking through installation of FreeNAS and the beginnings configuration.

Related links:

Building a FreeNAS Server | The Life of Hex

Categories: Tips Tags:

FreeNAS Tutorial – Part 1 – Introduction To FreeNAS

July 18th, 2009 Comments off

The Life of Hex blog has posted part 1 in a series on FreeNAS. The complete tutorial will you through the steps of building, installing, and configuring a FreeNAS server.

The post part is an introduction and covers the basic ideas behind FreeNAS.

In the next part of this tutorial, Hex will attempt to walk you through the build procedure and hardware requirements.

Related links:

FreeNAS Tutorial – Part 1 – Introduction To FreeNAS | The Life of Hex

Categories: Tips Tags: