Following one beta and five release candidates (RC’s), FreeNAS 8.0-RELEASE has been made availabe earlier this week by iXsystems, the corporate sponser behind the FreeNAS Project. The last stable release was FreeNAS 0.7.2 (Sabanda), released mid-October 2010.
FreeNAS is a popular FreeBSD-based network storage server (NAS) that includes a full web based GUI, with support for FTP, NFS, CIFS (Samba), AFP, rsync, iSCSI protocols and software RAID (0,1,5).
FreeNAS 8 includes major architectural optimisations and is more modular than previous versions. To make the system easier to use, the GUI has been redesigned and rebuilt using Python and the Django web framework.
Highlights include better Apple Filing Protocol (AFP) and Common Internet File System (CIFS) configurations, as well as reworked and improved iSCSI support. Other changes include the addition of a volume importer, support for 6gbps 3Ware RAID controllers and GUI access via the HTTPS protocol.
The ZFS and UFS2 filesystems are both supported, but ZFS is the primary filesystem (ZFS on FreeBSD videos) which comes with many features, including quotas, snapshots, compression and replication that are not available in UFS2.
FreeNAS 8 requires a device of at least 1Gb in size and should be installed to a USB stick or Compact Flash device. Unlike previous versions, the drive that FreeNAS is installed on cannot be used as a component for a volume, nor can it be partitioned for sharing.
Upgrades from FreeNAS 0.7.x are unsupported as “the system has no way to import configuration settings from 0.7 versions of FreeNAS”. However, the volume importer “should” be able to handle volumes created with FreeNAS 0.7.
The FreeNAS stable versioning numbers have changed from 0.7.x to 8.0 to reflect the version number of the underlying FreeBSD base version. This version of FreeNAS (8) version is based on FreeBSD 8.2, but it is called 8.0 as there are near-future plans to add functionality that will get the versions caught up. Once FreeNAS 8.2 is out, a suffix will be added, such as 8.2.1 and 8.2.2.