FreeNAS experiences? Is it something?



  • Hi all lovers of the best firewall system in the world  ;D

    Does anybody have positive/negative experiences with FreeNAS?

    1. I run 12 bay Synologies.
    2. I am running out of space.
    3. I adore the people over at Synology (they really are good, and extremely customer dedicated. No complaint whatsoever).
    4. However, the stuff is getting expensive, and it remains at EXT4. ZFS is way better from what I understand of it, as the eternal noob ( ;D ).
    5. I have installed FreeNAS in a virtual box and on an old physical test box with one HDD. Installs smoothly, just as pfSense does.
    6. However, clearly this is not consumer stuff: complicated, and even 'though the manual is relatively quite good, it remains complicated. No more click 'RAID6 for these HDD's' and go to WIFE for food: now you have to actually think  :-[ ( ;D ).
    7. I always get warm feeling when I visit the pfSense forum and the FreeBSD forum: I feel welcome, people try to help each other in the true BSD spirit.

    So, basically, my question is: are there any fine members here running FreeNAS, and wish they hadn't? Any significant problems? Warnings not to go that route because…?

    I know about the difficulties of expanding storage, but I could accept these. I know about mandatory ECC-RAM, so it is. But more serious problems?

    Thank you in advance for comments  :P

    Bye,



  • You could also try NAS4Free.  It's the continuation of the original FreeNAS code.

    I think it is less complicated to use but opinions vary on that.  Also, NAS4Free has a good, friendly community.



  • A few years ago I built a two-way fully-replicating failover SAN using Openfiler.  It worked well for us for some time until we had an issue that required us to get assistance.  From that point on, the Openfiler people tweaked our SAN, installed their custom iSCSI driver and it has been the basis for our entire virtual infrastructure.

    I looked at both FreeNAS and NAS4Free, but I found that they each had their issues in one way or another.  Granted, the last time I looked at them was at least a year ago.



  • Another vote for Nas4Free.  We ran two Nas4Free machines in a CoLo out of town and never had an issue.  ZFS was great and allowed us to archive lots of backup history which we were never able to do prior to having dedupe available.  FreeNAS got very buggy when the acquisition/commercialization happened a few years back.  I guess I never really got over it.



  • Two things happened in the past year that put me right off FreeNAS:

    • Someone registered NAS4Free.com and pointed it to FreeNAS.org.

    • A question was posted on the two forums asking why people had chosen one or the other.  It's still there on both and still open on the NAS4Free forum but discussion was closed on the FreeNAS forum



  • Thank you for your replies  ;D

    I've looked at NAS4Free, but I wasn't that enthusiastic:
    1. Install process less clear (pic attached. Wut? UFS? I want ZFS, that is the whole purpose).
    2. GUI less clear
    3. Documentation horrible (big plus for FreeNAS there, btw)
    4. Lesser user base (25% in users and forum posts) & I assume (but do not know) lesser developer base
    5. No Dru Lavigne there ( ;D )
    6. Less packages
    7. Apparently a Dutch project ('nough said, I know the Dutch  >:( ) ( ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D )

    I do agree about that nas4free.com event, that is horrible, and clearly, clearly, not the FreeBSD spirit of doing things. I don't think I will see the fine pfSense people pull such a trick, or the FreeBSD.org people.

    So that made me turn into the direction of FreeNAS, and hence my question about it here  :)




  • I switched from FreeNAS to Synology last year at work (bulk storage for users) after two FreeNAS boxes (primary storage & snapshot backup) took a dive on me within two days of each other. There was about 90TB of data on those two arrays that I had to recover.



  • @Jason:

    I switched from FreeNAS to Synology last year at work (bulk storage for users) after two FreeNAS boxes (primary storage & snapshot backup) took a dive on me within two days of each other. There was about 90TB of data on those two arrays that I had to recover.

    Could I ask what exactly happened, Jason?



  • @Hollander:

    I've looked at NAS4Free, but I wasn't that enthusiastic:
    1. Install process less clear (pic attached. Wut? UFS? I want ZFS, that is the whole purpose).

    1.  Making your boot/system drive ZFS is not easy.  Nas4Free is not designed to use the boot drive for date storage, though it is possible.  Making additional drives ZFS is very easy.



  • @Hollander:

    Does anybody have positive/negative experiences with FreeNAS?

    My experience with FreeNAS has been all positive.
    I studied for 6 months, reading thousands of post in the forum.
    Paid strict attention to the advice I was given and then bought
    specific hardware that was suggested by the members there.

    I must confess that I don't make my living with computers, therefore
    did not have any preconceived ideas of what FreeNAS was or what it has become.
    I knew going in, that I was going to be "digitally challenged" so I kept an open mind
    and learned a ton! The GUI of FreeNAS' latest release is simply amazing and
    loaded with features. I recommend it highly!
    BigDave



  • @Hollander:

    @Jason:

    I switched from FreeNAS to Synology last year at work (bulk storage for users) after two FreeNAS boxes (primary storage & snapshot backup) took a dive on me within two days of each other. There was about 90TB of data on those two arrays that I had to recover.

    Could I ask what exactly happened, Jason?

    Yeah, their software is fragile and despite what they say isn't designed for use with enterprise equipment or workloads (dual CPUs with 8 cores each, 256GB of RAM, several dozen SAS drives).  Repeated updates to fix the constant stream of bugs, not to mention the crashes from those bugs, made it flaky and then both boxes were killed by a patch which was supposed to fix a major issue I was experiencing.



  • I actually prefer UFS. That is all I use with Nas4Free. Serves me well. I don't need the extra overhead ZFS brings. Seems like the zfs.ko module takes forever to load –even if if not using ZFS filesystem... And how about recoveries like Jason is saying. I have had problems as well but with DragonflyBSD could mount my UFS drives on another machine no problem



  • @Jason:

    @Hollander:

    @Jason:

    I switched from FreeNAS to Synology last year at work (bulk storage for users) after two FreeNAS boxes (primary storage & snapshot backup) took a dive on me within two days of each other. There was about 90TB of data on those two arrays that I had to recover.

    Could I ask what exactly happened, Jason?

    Yeah, their software is fragile and despite what they say isn't designed for use with enterprise equipment or workloads (dual CPUs with 8 cores each, 256GB of RAM, several dozen SAS drives).  Repeated updates to fix the constant stream of bugs, not to mention the crashes from those bugs, made it flaky and then both boxes were killed by a patch which was supposed to fix a major issue I was experiencing.

    Appreciate you sharing your experiences, Jason  :-*

    But how do you cope with bit rot and non-ECC and stuff when using, for example, a Synology?



  • @Phishfry:

    I actually prefer UFS. That is all I use with Nas4Free. Serves me well. I don't need the extra overhead ZFS brings. Seems like the zfs.ko module takes forever to load –even if if not using ZFS filesystem... And how about recoveries like Jason is saying. I have had problems as well but with DragonflyBSD could mount my UFS drives on another machine no problem

    Thank you for the reply too  ;D

    To you I ask the same question I asked Jason in the above: how do you cope with these problems that ZFS is supposed to solve?

    ZFS on Linux appears not to be recommended.



  • I spent some time looking at the FreeNas, UnRaid, etc options and settled on just paying for a FlexRaid license. It's platform independent, has a good GUI, can be set-and-forget. Had all the features I wanted, and appeared that it would take a lot less time to learn and configure - which made it worth the price. I've had a few drive failures in the past 4 years I've been using it, the system stayed up until replacements arrived, and restored to the new drives with just a few clicks.



  • @adoucette:

    I spent some time looking at the FreeNas, UnRaid, etc options and settled on just paying for a FlexRaid license. It's platform independent, has a good GUI, can be set-and-forget. Had all the features I wanted, and appeared that it would take a lot less time to learn and configure - which made it worth the price. I've had a few drive failures in the past 4 years I've been using it, the system stayed up until replacements arrived, and restored to the new drives with just a few clicks.

    Thanks  ;D

    As I just happen to have been diving deeply into all the different tasts, one of my bookmarks was this:

    http://www.avsforum.com/forum/26-home-theater-computers/1438027-mfusick-s-how-build-affordable-30tb-flexraid-media-server-information-requested.html

    User 'Puwaha' states things.


  • LAYER 8 Netgate

    I'm happily using FreeNAS at home.  4 x 4TB in RAIDZ2.

    Time Machine backup destination for everyone and other AFP serving.
    iSCSI backend and NFS ISO repository for XenServer
    iTunes server
    Some colo cabinets using it for off-site backup using rsync over ssh.
    iSCSI drive to my workstation
    tftp server
    etc

    When I first installed it I used Seagates and RAIDZ1.  Three out of the four drives failed within a year.  No data lost.  Scary times rebuilding (resilvering) a drive with no parity.  I got lucky.

    I replaced them with WD Reds and haven't had a problem since.

    I looked at NAS4Free a couple years ago and at the time decided to go with FreeNAS.  I can't remember why.



  • FreeNAS is now a big piece of crap.

    As of 9.3 they have implemented an auto update system. So they can continuously update it. So it is no longer like an appliance and more like running windows.
    So why don't I just run Windows server and save myself the trouble?

    A storage appliance is supposed to have very long uptimes. You're not going to have that with FreeNAS. Additionally, unless you purchase support, the forum members will treat you like absolute crap. Which is not something you need when a problem suddenly arises.


  • LAYER 8 Netgate

    I'd rather have the auto-update system than what we had before, which was "yes there's a problem but wait until the next release to get it fixed."

    As with any updates you can apply - or not.

    I don't think it is enterprise ready - without supported HA how can it be - but it does everything I ask of it.



  • @router_wang:

    As of 9.3 they have implemented an auto update system. So they can continuously update it. So it is no longer like an appliance and more like running windows. So why don't I just run Windows server and save myself the trouble? A storage appliance is supposed to have very long uptimes. You're not going to have that with FreeNAS.

    @router_wang:

    Additionally, unless you purchase support, the forum members will treat you like absolute crap. Which is not something you need when a problem suddenly arises.

    This I've noticed too by browsing the threads. Which really makes me wonder what their target market is supposed to be, and if they'd even carefully thought about that first. You don't get customers by bullying them or letting them be bullied, and if you don't answer questions as admins but instead reply with 'have you figured it out yourself already? Can you post it here' then I'm afraid you don't understand things too well. Perhaps they should dive back in history and see how first Wordperfect and next MS Word got their markets(…). Or they should visit this fine place to get some examples  :)

    @Derelict:

    I'd rather have the auto-update system than what we had before, which was "yes there's a problem but wait until the next release to get it fixed." As with any updates you can apply - or not.

    Agreed.

    @Derelict:

    I don't think it is enterprise ready - without supported HA how can it be - but it does everything I ask of it.

    I'm afraid you are right. Which makes it a serious problem for me, as I do want to move away from Synology. I don't need to many Enterprise features, but one I do need: rock solid and stable, and proper support/documentation. And I'm afraid that also isn't in place currently.

    I'm still wondering what their target market is, and if they ever did a SWOT - the right SWOT  ;D



  • Ive been running it for 6-8months having migrated from a Areca 24 * 1TB array running under Win7 Enterprise.
    Running Xeon e5 processor, 32GB RAM and 10 4TB drives in RAIDZ2. Its been up running error free for about 4 months since my last upgrade to the latest 9.2.x version. I haven't made the leap to 9.3 until things settle down. I need stability, not cutting edge features sets. Performance over 10gbe networking is in the region of 450MB/s read & write. I had hoped for slightly more but TBH this is fine.
    Generally been a decent experience, ZFS itself is cool for its data integrity and I sleep better at night for it.
    FreeNAS is not something you can do 'cheaply' with bargain basic hardware, it likes lots of RAM and needs ECC RAM and a suitable CPU/motherboard obviously.
    The guys at FreeNAS forums are rather tetchy with people who don't make an attempt to read the manuals or follow the basic how-to's. Assuming you don't try and cut corners, do things right they are generally a supportive bunch admittedly with a off sense of humour at times.
    Its easy enough to spin up a VM to have a play about with the interface and create/destroy some arrays - get a feel for its nuances before you migrate critical data to it for sure.



  • FreeNAS lives at the pleasure of REFS and BTRFS. When those two mature, and they will, FreeNAS will go the way of the DoDo.

    ZFS will live on if someone comes along and makes a great open source appliance focused on massive uptimes.



  • @router_wang:

    FreeNAS lives at the pleasure of REFS and BTRFS. When those two mature, and they will, FreeNAS will go the way of the DoDo.

    ZFS will live on if someone comes along and makes a great open source appliance focused on massive uptimes.

    Thanks  ;D

    From quick-reading BTRFS it seems this is the same as ZFS, but then native for Linux (?)



  • You can get ZFS on Linux, just not along with Linux due to licence issues:

    http://zfsonlinux.org/

    http://zfsonlinux.org/faq.html#WhatAboutTheLicensingIssue

    ZFS is licensed under the Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL), and the Linux kernel is licensed under the GNU General Public License Version 2 (GPLv2). While both are free open source licenses they are restrictive licenses. The combination of them causes problems because it prevents using pieces of code exclusively available under one license with pieces of code exclusively available under the other in the same binary. In the case of the kernel, this prevents us from distributing ZFS as part of the kernel binary. However, there is nothing in either license that prevents distributing it in the form of a binary module or in the form of source code.

    Comparing them is beyond me and I've decided to reset the OpenSuse defaults and stick to Ext4 rather than the recommended BTRFS / XFS and sit it out until 13.3.

    Lots of good reading if you do a Google versus search.

    https://rudd-o.com/linux-and-free-software/ways-in-which-zfs-is-better-than-btrfs


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