iXsystems’ recent contributions to FreeBSD and FreeNAS

iXsystems has been working hard recently to make the FreeBSD and FreeNAS operating systems even better storage solutions. Some of their recent announcements:

New GEOM-based FreeBSD RAID Driver

“Recently iX completed work on graid, a revised software-assisted RAID driver for FreeBSD. The graid driver replaces the existing ataraid driver with a new GEOM-based implementation. This allows graid to create stable, OS-independent software RAID arrays.

OS-independence in a RAID array means that no matter which operating system you use or install, the RAID will be recognized and addressed the same way. This also allows for the metadata format the RAID is built with to be migrated to another type.

Synchronizing a RAID across multiple operating systems is difficult to do manually, and the stakes are high if the user isn’t careful. For this reason, it is preferable to automate the process in order to protect user data and avoid headaches”. More

The GEOM-base FreeBSD driver will be merged with FreeBSD Current.

II iXsystems Teams with Fusion-io to Deliver FreeNAS Appliance

iXsystems has also announced it is collaborating with server-deployed memory innovator Fusion-io to introduce the Titan FreeNAS Pro Appliance.

Fusion-io provides a next generation storage memory platform for data decentralization that significantly improves processing capabilities within a datacenter by relocating process-critical data from centralized storage to the server where it is being processed.

The addition of server-deployed ioMemory technology to the Titan FreeNAS Pro Appliance creates a storage server that utilizes non-volatile memory to significantly increase data center efficiency and offer enterprise grade reliability, availability and manageability, with potential performance improvements of up to 10x.

The Titan FreeNAS Pro with Fusion’s ioMemory technology has the ability to fully saturate multiple 10Gb Ethernet connections, full ZFS support, and a host of software and hardware features. More

III FreeNAS 8.0-RC5 Released

FreeNAS 8.0-RC5 was released last week and is the final community peek at FreeNAS 8 before the release. Two major bits that are new are volume drive replacement in the GUI, and the ability to add to ZFS volumes, which also doubles as the ability to create stacked ZFS volumes, such as a stripe of RAIDZs (RAID 50) or a stripe of mirrors (RAID 10).

Release Candidate 5 contains both bug fixes and new functionality over previous release candidates and betas.

This release candidate is the result of a flurry of bug fixes for issues noticed by people using RC4, as well as some added functionality.  This image will now be handed over to QA to begin preparations for 8.0-Release.

New in 8.0-RC5:

The ability to create “stacked” ZFS configurations is now present in the GUI. This also goes hand in hand with the ability to add devices to ZFS volumes. For ZFS the volume wizard will now accept an existing volume name when adding volumes.  If an existing volume name is specified, the volume being created will be added to the existing volume as a stripe.  In this manner one can create complex volumes such as RAID 10, RAIDZ+0, RAIDZ2+0, RAIDZ3+0 in the same manner as conventional RAID controllers build complex volumes.

We are looking forward to the final release of 8.0. It has been a long time since FreeNAS 0.7(.2) became available.

IV FreeBSDMall now shipping FreeBSD 8.2 and 7.4 CDs/DVDs

FreeBSD 8.2 is the latest release from the 8-STABLE branch which introduces many new features along with many improvements to functionality present in the earlier branches.

V mFreeNAS 7 comes to iOS

This is not a release by iXsystems, but since it’s relating to FreeNAS we will mention it here: Walter from techwavedev.com has released mFreeNAS 7 for iOS. An Android version is already available: mFreeNAS 7 for Android.

With mFreeNAS it is possible to access your FreeNAS remotely from your iPhone or Android phone and perform some basic tasks.

Thanks Walter for your email!

iXsystems is an all-around FreeBSD company that builds FreeBSD-certified servers and storage solutions, runs the FreeBSD Mall, and is the corporate sponsor of the PC-BSD and FreeNAS Projects.

“RAIDZilla”, a FreeNAS based, advanced featured NAS appliance

FreeNAS 8 is shaping up nicely (FreeNAS 8.0-BETA available) and developers at iXsystems are putting in a lot of time and work into it. Apart from working on the software side, iXsystems also offers a FreeNAS based appliance, the iX-2120.

I had a chat with Matt Olander, CTO of iXsystems, about a new FreeNAS appliance they’re working on, internally codenamed ‘RAIDZilla’. When launched, it will get a corporate name in line with some of their other products, probably something like iX-NAS XXXX.

“RAIDZilla” is a combination of specially developed hardware running FreeNAS. iXsystems is building an inexpensive, standardised and fast NAS appliance with easy to use management tools. RAIDZilla runs FreeNAS with some closed-source goodies such as like drive failure detection, notification, auto-replacement option and NFS head failover, along with array duplication so both head units can write to the same array.

By providing both the hardware platform and an optimised operating system, iXsystems is able to maximise the appliance’s reliability and speed, as well as to provide a good user experience. iXsystems plans to open-source the closed-coded features in the future.

The big thing about the new iX-NAS, especially enterprises will be interested in this, is that it’s going to be available in Europe as well. A main distributor is getting set up to finish FreeNAS builds in Belgium, and there will be opportunities for VARs (value added resellers) and integrators to sell units at retail price after a channel partner discount and earn additional income providing consultation, setup, and deployment services. If you’re interested, please contact Matt (matt at ixsystems dot com).

There’s a post on the iX blog with an interview between Corey Vixie and Doug White, Senior Test Engineer at iXsystems about RAIDZilla: Doug White on RAIDZilla.

  • What exactly is RAIDZilla?
  • What makes it different than FreeNAS?
  • What does the software platform look like?
  • What about the hardware?
  • Tell me about ‘Head Redundancy’?
  • Speaking of cool features, a little bird mentioned something about Fusion-IO cards being an option
  • So, just how fast is very fast?

I’m looking forward to the launch of this appliance and will let you know when it’s available.

(Free)BSD miscelaneous links and news (week 1)

I. The Perfect Database Server: Firebird 2.5 And FreeBSD 8.1

Here is the guide on installing Firebird 2.5 from FreeBSD 8.1 Ports and creating your first test database; also we show you how to install Flamerobin GUI (administration tool) and the PHP driver for it: The perfect database server: Firebird 2.5 and FreeBSD 8.1

II. Can DragonFlyBSD’s HAMMER Compete With Btrfs, ZFS?

The most common Linux file-systems we talk about at Phoronix are of course Btrfs and EXT4 while the ZFS file-system, which is available on Linux as a FUSE (user-space) module or via a recent kernel module port, gets mentioned a fair amount too. When it comes to the FreeBSD and PC-BSD operating systems, ZFS is looked upon as the superior, next-generation option that is available to BSD users. However, with the DragonFlyBSD operating system there is another option: HAMMER. In this article we are seeing how the performance of this original creation within the DragonFlyBSD project competes with ZFS, UFS, EXT3, EXT4, and Btrfs.

HAMMER is a file-system created by the DragonFlyBSD developers themselves and is the default choice when installing this BSD operating system, but UFS remains a choice too. The one sentence description about this file-system is that “[HAMMER] provides instant crash recovery, multi-volume file systems, integrity checking, fine grained history/undo, networked mirroring, and historical snapshots.” HAMMER uses no fsck, can be sized up to one Exabyte, supports up to 256 volumes of four petabytes in size, coarse-grained history provided by snapshots with up to sixty days history, live snapshot access, and data/meta-data is CRC-checked. Like Btrfs, HAMMER snapshots can be taken at any time, can be accessed live, and boasts a similar set of features. Other HAMMER file-system features include the ability to split it up into multiple pseudo file-systems, there is support for back-up pseudo file-systems, NFS-exportable snapshots, and there is support for slave-to-slave mirroring streams: Can DragonFlyBSD’s HAMMER Compete With Btrfs, ZFS?

Matt Dillon’s, DragonFlyBSD’s project founder, thoughts on the test: HAMMER Benchmark Fun

III. Get Linux and FreeBSD hardware info with guide to commands

Switching between open source OSs can sometimes be confusing, since they may have different ways of doing things. A common task that may confuse some users when switching systems is getting hardware information. In the case of Linux-based OSs and FreeBSD, the following cheat sheet for figuring out how to do the same things on two different systems can ease some of the pain: Linux vs FreeBSD cheat sheet.

IV. Cost Optimization Through Open Source Software (iXsystems)

The lead article in this month’s edition of the Open Source Business Resource was contributed by iXsystems. It describes some of the business reasons behind the company’s choice to use only FreeBSD and PC-BSD systems in its own infrastructure and provides a cost/savings comparison for both software and maintenance costs. It also contains some good references and percentages if you’re looking for something to show your manager (via)

V. Creating an LVM-backed FreeBSD DomU in a Linux Dom0

As the topic suggests we’re going to play with Xen and set up a FreeBSD DomU inside a Linux Dom0.

FreeBSD quick news and links (week 52)

Below some links to news articles and blog posts relating to FreeBSD, it’s development, howto’s etc, and other interesting bits and bops connected with the FreeBSD operating system.

1. Automatic Install with FreeBSD 64-bit on RootBSD.

All new RootBSD orders are now able to select FreeBSD 8.1-RELEASE 64-bit as an option in the order form. Although manual install is still an option, this selection will prompt our new automated installer for FreeBSD 64-bit that allows your VPS to be set up in a matter of minutes like our current 32-bit offering once your order is approved. FreeBSD 32-bit is still recommended for most users.

2. FreeBSD Foundation fund raising drive (2010)

This is a last plea from the FreeBSD Foundaion for 2010 donations. Can you help?

3. FreeBSD on Amazon EC2

FreeBSD 9.0 headed to the cloud as 8.2 nears release (internetnews.com). Related to this is Collin’s updated FreeBSD on Amazon’s EC2 FAQ

4. GhostBSD – Preview for the next release.

New Logo, new theme for GhostBSD 2.0 and plans to make it faster.

5. Running Pinta on FreeBSD (rhyous.com – howto).

Pinta is a drawing/editing program modeled after Paint.NET. It’s goal is to provide a simplified alternative to GIMP for casual users. It is currently early in development.

6. ZFS in Debian

ZFS is coming to Debian! Of course, it will be arriving there via the FreeBSD kernel. ZFS v28 s imminent in FreeBSD. Testers need to check out the new patch (via Ivan Voras’ blog).

7. Oracle highligts Solaris UNIX Plans

The OS will feature next-generation networking capabilities for scalability and performance, said John Fowler, Oracle executive vice president of systems, at a company event in Santa Clara, Calif. “It’s a complete reworking of [the] enterprise OS,” he said. Oracle took over Solaris when the company acquired Sun Microsystems early this year.

Full post:  Oracle highlights Solaris UNIX plans (computerworld.com)

Talking about UNIX, Novell has moved to quell growing concerns that it has sold Linux out to Microsoft as part of its Attachmate deal: Novell keeps Unix copyrights from Microsoft

8. FreeBSD: High Performance Packet Capture
Summary and background information: FreeBSD: High Performance Packet Capture

9. Marketing Assistant for Open Source Hardware Manufacturer

Ever wanted to work for a FreeBSD focused company? If ‘Marketing’ is your thing and you’re at ‘assistant level’, have a look at this vacancy with iXsystems: Marketing Assistant for Open Source Hardware Manufacturer

iXsystems is looking for a Marketing Assistant with developed writing skills and the ability to do some digital graphic work as well. The ideal candidate is both creative and hardworking with the ability to develop innovative ideas for ads and print related to open source servers and software. Applicants will need to be able to work five days a week from 10 am – 6pm. Some flex time is permitted, but minimum amount of time required in the office is 3 full days per week.

10. Trying PC-BSD 8.2-BETA2 (taosecurity). Richard Bejtlich took PC-BSD 8.2-BETA2 for a spin. His feedback here.

11. KDE Software Compilation 4.4.5 in ports

FreeBSD Mall donates FreeBSD discs to NSRC workshops in Africa

The FreeBSD Mall, a provider of high quality FreeBSD software, documentation, support, and services to the open source community, recently donated FreeBSD CDs and DVDs to the NSRC (Network Startup Resource Center) for UNIX / FreeBSD workshops being held in Malawi and Tanzania.

The NSRC is a non-profit organization dedicated to spreading networking knowledge to diverse regions throughout the world. Open source operating systems are excellent instructional tools for NSRC workshops due to their easy and free acquisition and superior security and stability.

FreeBSD Mall has donated FreeBSD CDs and DVDs to NSRC and AfNOG (African Network Operators Group) workshops since as far back as 2000. Over 1300 participants have been instructed in approximately 50 NSRC and AfNOG workshops and tutorials. Discs donated by FreeBSD Mall are distributed to students who complete the workshops, allowing them to take home official copies of the software they were just trained on and continue to use those skills. O’Reilly Media also provides books so that people may continue the education process at home in combination with the software.

During NSRC workshops, students learn about network development and the logic behind it. Students are then “let loose” on hardware and software to experiment and learn hands-on with FreeBSD and UNIX. Beginners learn the ropes by installing the operating systems and learning basic commands and techniques. As students progress to the intermediate and advanced classes, they learn and experience more complex commands and tasks.

The NSRC uses these lab-based workshops to teach through doing; a process which also helps students to ensure that they can execute the skills they’ve learned to teach them to others in their community. With copies of FreeBSD in their hands, graduates of the workshops develop skills in networking and system administration in order to better their local community and find related jobs.

“I want to say a BIG thank you to FreeBSD Media. You may not know this, but through your support, we have now trained over 100 female Unix administrators on FreeBSD in the past three years. This is by no means a small number, when you look around your IT department and realize that there are very few women working in the tech industry.” – Dorcas Muthoni, General Manager, OpenWorld Ltd. and NSRC/AfNOG Workshop Organizer


FreeBSD Mall now shipping FreeBSD 8.1

Four-Disc CD Set, Dual-Sided DVD now available for purchase

The FreeBSD Mall is now shipping FreeBSD® Version 8.1, the second release of the FreeBSD 8-STABLE branch in AMD64 and i386 architectures.

FreeBSD Version 8.1 is the first update to FreeBSD Version 8.0, which added Virtual Access Points (VAP) support to 802.11 wireless networking, and allowed virtual machine administrators to create their own nested jails. The 8.1 release includes new features and improves upon the features that were introduced in FreeBSD Version 8.0.

The 8.1 release implements a ZFS Loader, allowing users to boot directly to ZFS. The ZFS pool has been updated to version 14. Also, NFSv4 support is improved, providing a more secure network filesystem for server based file serving.

In addition FreeBSD 8.1 updates sendmail to version 8.14.4, OpenSSH to version 5.4p1, ISC BIND to version 9.6.2-P2, and OpenSSL to version 0.9.8n. Desktop updates include KDE 4.4.5 and GNOME 2.30.1.

In this latest release, core developers focused their efforts on perfecting the functionality of the operating system to provide users with enhanced performance.

“FreeBSD 8.1 is the product of users deploying 8.0 in the field, and submitting reports of its strengths and weaknesses,. We, the developers, used those reports from the users to refine and improve the system across the board.”

said Warner Losh, Director of FreeBSD Development at iXsystems and FreeBSD Core Team Member.

Other notable features of FreeBSD 8.1 include:

  • SMP support in PowerPC G5 systems
  • UltraSPARC IV/IV+, SPARC64 V CPU support
  • The HAST (Highly Available STorage) framework has been added
  • Support for SCTP has been improved

FreeBSD Mall is a division of iXsystems, Inc.® and provides high quality FreeBSD software, documentation, support, and services to the open source community.

Source: FreeBSD Mall Now Shipping FreeBSD Version 8 (prweb.com)

Miscelaneous FreeBSD news and links (week 32)

1. FreeBSD East Coast Mirror

Yesterday we posted the FreeBSD Foundation’s turns to NYI press release, Steven Kreuzer who was directly involved in the project has put more details on his website:

Pretty much since the time that The NYC BSD Users Group was formed, The NY Internet Company have donated a full cabinet and a 10 Mb internet connection to NYCBUG. We used that space to host our website and mailing lists, hardware for developers and mirrors for all the major BSD projects.

In October of 2009, I received an email inviting me to a grand opening party at NYI’s new state of the art data center located in Bridgewater, NJ. I asked some folks on core@ if they thought it would be worthwhile to approach NYI to see if they would be willing to donate a few cabinets so we could build out a FreeBSD mirror on the east coast. gnnjhb and I had a very informal meeting with Phil from NYI and after asking him if they would be willing to provide us with a few cabinets, some power and bandwidth, without thought or hesitation he said yes. The possibility of putting a mirror of FreeBSD.org on the east coast quickly became possible.

Continues: East Coast FreeBSD Mirror

2. FreeBSD VirtualBox Image for Port Maintainers

This website provides 64bit VirtualBox Images for FreeBSD Port Maintainers with some common used software pre-installed.

3. 10 Differences between Linux and BSD

  • Licenses
  • Control
  • Kernel vs operating system
  • UNIX/like
  • Base systems
  • More from source
  • Upgrades
  • Bleeding edge
  • Hardware support
  • User base

Full post: 10 differences between Linux and BSD (techrepublic.com)

4. Open Source projects that changed the world

FreeBSD is one of them: Open source projects that changed the world (ostatic.com)

5. BSDCan through the years

Kirk Russell has posted a summary of BSDCan through the years on the Google Open Source Blog.

I’m Kirk Russell, a Google Site Reliability Engineer who moves files around the cloud at a massive scale. I use BSD software on a daily basis — in my Android phone, my home NAS and my MacBook. My newest toy is a small ARM board that runs FreeBSD.

Earlier this year I attended BSDCan, a software conference for BSD based operating systemprojects. I attended this conference to learn about new BSD technology that will someday become part of my daily life and to meet people with similar interests — there is time to chat in-between the scheduled talks and in the pub. BSDCan is a conference where I learn about new development that I can put to use both at work and at home. Learning these things from the original developers makes it that much more interesting.

Here is a quick reflection on some highlights of past conferences:

BSDCan through the years

iXsystems’ FreeNAS 0.8 development snapshot

Back in December 2009 iXsystems ‘resued‘ the FreeNAS project. After a few months of porting over FreeNAS from a m0n0wall base to a nanobsd base, iXsystems released a development snapshot yesterday.

Yesterday, iXsystems upload a snapshot of their new FreeNAS release on the SVN.
The new FreeNAS is based on nanoBSD, then here are all the steps for generate the disk image of this release (from a FreeBSD 8.1 amd64).

Remember, this build is for developers and testing purposes only, as this snapshot  is not functionally complete yet, and there are likely many rough edges, bugs and problems.

To run and test this build, the instructions can be found in the readme file.

Read the whole post: iXsystems’ FreeNAS snapshot

FreeBSD quick news and links (28/06/2010)

PC-BSD Installer

The new PC-BSD installer (available as GUI and text installer), which is also able to install plain FreeBSD, has now been committed to the FreeBSD source tree. This video goes into the details of the installer.

Kris Moore: PC-SYSINSTALL – A new system installer backend for PC-BSD and FreeBSD

BSD Certification

The BSD Certification Group needs reviewers for the BSDA exam objectives.

BSDA Certification Exam can be taken at MeetBSD 2010, Cracow, Poland: BSDA Certification, Cracow

Help test ZFS v15

ZFS v15 brings in user and group quotas and help is needed to test, before it’s imported.

I would like to do a call for testing for my ZFS v15 patch.

As the user/group quotas feature is too much attractive for my needs, I couldn’t resist and have created (and debugged + tested) a ZFS v15 patch for head (applies cleanly against stable/8 as well).

It is a backport of several onnv-revisions, always consulting pjd’s p4 tree and includes four post-9396 related user/groupquota bugfixes. The bootcode (zfsimpl.h) is properly updated to support v15 as well, the python part is modified (paths, smb support, ioctls).  Continues

Nvidia Releases a Much Improved Video Driver

Nvidia announced on June 22nd the final and stable version of the 256.x proprietary driver for Nvidia graphics cards. Nvidia 256.35 incorporates lots of fixes and improvements, over previous releases. Unofficial GLX support was also added for a few OpenGL extensions, as well as Thermal Settings reporting improvements, Compiz fixes, many VDPAU improvements, and many more. Without further introduction, let’s take a look at some of the most important changes brought by the Nvidia 256.35 video driver (via)

Press Release

FreeBSD Developer position

iXsystems is looking for a Senior Software Engineer:

SR. SOFTWARE ENGINEER in San Jose, CA. FreeBSD driver & kernel dev; prog in C/C++, PHP, SQL/x86 assembly lang; eng group; tools/env & tech writing skills; Reqs: BSCS + 5 yrs. exp. (source)

iXsystems is the all-around FreeBSD company that builds FreeBSD certified servers and storage solutions, runs the FreeBSD Mall, and is the corporate sponsor of PC-BSD and FreeNAS.

New FreeBSD Committers

The following people have been awarded commit privileges in recent weeks:

  • Andrey V. Elsukov (source)
  • Matthew Fleming (source)
  • Ashish Shukla (ports)
  • Brendan Fabeny (ports)

BSD Can sponsored trip reports

The FreeBSD Foundation kindly sponsored a number of FreeBSD developers to attend BSDCan 2010 (videos here). These are links to some of the reports:

And one NetBSD link:

Testing NetBSD: Easy Does It

In a software project as large as NetBSD the interactions between different software components are not always immediately obvious to even the most skilled programmers. Tests help ensure that the system functions according to the desired criteria. Periodic automated runs of these tests with results visible on the web ensures both that tests are run in a regular fashion and that the results are available to all interested parties.

This short article explains the NetBSD test strategies and provides a brief overview of the enabling technologies. It also details how effortless it is to run the test suite and why doing so is in every developer’s, patch submitter’s and system administrator’s best interest. The intended audience is people with a keen interest in testing and quality assurance, and a desire to reduce personal headache. The article is written against NetBSD-current as of June 2010 and applies to what will eventually become NetBSD 6.

Read more: Automated Testing Framework (ATF)

iXsystems hosts MeetBSD California 2010

Open source server and storage solution provider iXsystems will once again host MeetBSD California. This year, MeetBSD will be an informal 2-Day BSD Camp taking place at Hacker Dojo in Mountain View, California on November 5th and 6th.

MeetBSD California promises to be a fun and engaging plunge into the BSD operating system world, just as it was back in 2008 when the event first took place. Allen Gunn, Executive Director of Aspiration, will facilitate this year’s “unconference”, which will consist of Break Out Sessions, Informal Discussions, and 5-10 minute “Lightning Talks” on a variety of open source development topics, including ZFS, HAST, jails, OS virtualization, and sysinstall.

MeetBSD California 2010 will culminate with an after-party taking place at Hacker Dojo on the evening of Saturday, November 6th.

Whether you’re interested in learning more about the BSD family of operating systems, or ready to share some of your FreeBSD wisdom, MeetBSD California 2010 will offer an enjoyable forum for lively discussion on a wide range of BSD-related topics.