Since iXsystems released the first FreeNAS 8 beta in November there has been lots of activity including several betas and a release candiate. They have now released RC2 (release candiate 2) which means that the final version should be coming out soon.
The astute among you will also notice that the version number has changed. This is no longer FreeNAS 0.8 (which followed the tradition set by previous versions of FreeNAS - remember 0.69? 0.72?).
The intention is to have the version number reflect the base version of FreeBSD used. RC2 is based on FreeBSD 8.2, but this version of FreeNAS is called 8.0 as there are future plans to add functionality. Once FreeNAS 8.2 is out, a suffix will be added, such as 8.2.1, 8.2.2, etc.
Release Candidate 2 contains fixes for issues that were encountered in RC1. It does not contain the new functionality that was scheduled for RC2, but due to the bug fixes is a significant improvement over RC1.
FreeNAS 8 should be installed to a USB stick or Compact Flash device. It requires a device of at least 1 GB in size. In a departure from FreeNAS 0.7 releases, the OS drive can not be used as a component for a volume, nor can it be partitioned for sharing.
The following things are worth noting:
UPGRADES FROM FREENAS 0.7x ARE STILL UNSUPPORTED
The system has no way to import configuration settings from 0.7 versionsof FreeNAS, nor is there any sort of volume importer yet that will preservedata on existing volumes. Attempting to upgrade from 0.7 will result in theloss of your configuration, your data, or quite likely, both.
IMPORTING EXISTING STORAGE VOLUMES IS UNSUPPORTED
We will get that working very shortly, for now, don’t feed disks with datayou care about to FreeNAS 8
Finally… while FreeNAS 8 system does support UFS based volumes, such as gmirror, gstripe,graid3, the primary focus is on ZFS. Many of the features are provided via ZFS datasets, such as the ability to share subsets of volumes via CIFS. This delta is likely to increase over time, the compelling reasons to use ZFS are likely to increase as well. It is highly recommended to use ZFS for new volumes, even if the underlying device is a volume exported by a hardware RAID controller.
You can download FreeNAS 8.0-RC2 from here.