FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots, and Some Suggestions

freenas-ixsystems-new-logoFreeNAS 9.1 has been released. We have read the blog posts, the press releases, and we probably all agree that this FreeBSD based NAS is becoming better and better with each release. FreeNAS is still ‘growing up’ and new features are added to each new version.

Since FreeNAS is still changing so much, maybe be developers can do something about the GUI side of things, i.e. the Web Interface.

The goal of FreeNAS is to simplify complex admin tasks in the underlying FreeBSD (nanobsd) base through a poin-and-click Web Interface: volumes can be created, permissions changed, data sharing turned on/off, music/video streaming set up, and most, if not all, ZFS features are included.

All this makes FreeNAS a powerful network attached system (NAS), especially if you consider it is open source and free to download, but I think the Web Interface can still do with some TLC as it can be confusing and is not always newbie friendly.

  • There are 6 menu buttons (top left) linking to “System”, “Network”, “Storage”, “Sharing”, “Services”, “Plugins” and “Jails”. In the Menu tree, under this bar, you will see the same (and more) links, unnecessary duplication. If “Account” is one of the main menus, why is this then one on the right hand top side, and not on the left with the others?
  • When you close / log out of the FreeNAS Web Interface and go back in, the menu tree is left expanded as it was left. It looks nicer if the tree was collapsed each time you open up the GUI.
  • Every time options are saved or when you cancel a screen, the whole menu tree is reloaded/refreshed, which takes about 1-2 seconds. This could be due to some settings or limitation in the Django framework, but it is annoying.
  • When you go into some of the (sub)menus and make changes, a tab gets added to the tab bar (top right), next to “Reporting” | “Settings” | “System Information”. What is the point of this? You’re not going to use your NAS GUI for hours (usually). You make the changes and come out of it. There’s no need for these shortcuts.
  • For new users of FreeNAS, it would be helpful if there was a short introduction with some step-by-step instruction on the first screen to help them set up the basic things (User, Volume, Privileges etc). Yes, there’s the FreeNAS handbook with everything set out step-by-step, but judging from questions on the FreeNAS forums I guess there are more users that don’t read through the manual than those who do.


Personally, I prefer the old FreeNAS 0.7 horizontal menu. It was, and is now in NAS4Free, easy to use and straightforward, with no duplication. The other thing I like in NAS4Free, is that you can make all changes on the opened screen, i.e. there are no pop-up windows with yet more settings. 

I appreciate a NAS GUI is not something you need every day. In an ideal world you install and set up your NAS and let it then run (headless), but there are still some areas where FreeNAS should improve to avoid confusion and duplication.



If you have no need to install or use FreeNAS, but are still interested to see what it looks like, have a look at the screenshots below (click on the pictures to magnify).

Main Screen

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots


Account Information

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots


System Information

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots


Network Information

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots


Storage Information

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots


Sharing Protocols

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots


FreeNAS Services

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots


Plugins Administration

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots


FreeNAS Jails

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots


System Processes (Running)

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots


Add Duplication Task

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots


ZFS Volume Manager

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots


Add Replication (rsync) Task

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots








FreeBSD based Orbis OS powering Sony PS4

vgleaks has discovered that the new Sony Playstation 4 will be powered by Orbis OS, a modified version of FreeBSD 9.0. The modifications include new or optimised drivers for AMD’s 8-core CPU and Radeon GPU combination. This is not something that FreeBSD currently supports in the form of a Catalyst driver, and indicates that Sony and AMD are working on this together.

I guess that Sony decided to use FreeBSD as the engine due to the more liberal BSD license. Unlike the Cell-based PS3, the PS4 is x86-64 based which makes it easier to use FreeBSD.

I think Sony’s choice of FreeBSD is an excellent one.






FreeBSD miscellaneous links (nginx, freebsd snapshots, HAST, virtio)

These are a couple of random FreeBSD related links you may find interesting:

How to Install Nginx on FreeBSD 9.x

nginx (pronounced “engine x”) is an open-source web server and a reverse proxy server for HTTP, SMTP, POP3, and IMAP protocols, with a strong focus on high concurrency, performance and low memory usage. [Read More –]

New FreeBSD snapshots and virtual machine disk images

New FreeBSD development branch installation ISOs and virtual machine
disk images have been uploaded to the FTP mirrors.


Install HAST on FreeNAS

FreeNAS is awesome, but until recently it lacked HAST (Highly Available STorage). Fortunately now TrueNAS allows for this function to work. HAST is integrated into the FreeBSD base system, in turn HAST can be added into FreeNAS manually.

[

Speed up FreeBSD KVM guests using Virtio

The virtio framework allows guest operating systems running under the Linux KVM hypervisor to take advantage of near-native I/O performance. It works by providing kernel drivers for the guest OS which only work from within a KVM host, exposing I/O functionality through a much thinner layer of code than the traditional full-on emulation of physical hardware. The less code there is between a virtualized guest OS and the host’s physical hardware, the faster things will go.

[

Generating custom FreeBSD installation media

Generating a custom -current memstick image without all the debug feature enabled.

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Creating and starting VirtualBox machine with PowerShell

BSD Router Project provided a VBScript for starting MS Windows based virtualbox lab. But because this vbs script works only on XP, I had to found a more powerful solution: Why not discovering PowerShell and using the VirtualBox COM API ?

[


Tor anonymity software for BSD – mailinglist

The New York City *BSD User Group has announced a mfreebsd-tor-logoailing list dedicated to running the Tor anonymity software on the BSDs.  The list aims to become a forum for BSD users and developers interested in improving the performance and expanding the use of the BSDs as a platform for Tor.

Tor is an open source public anonymity network that is utilized around the world for anonymity and to bypass internet censorship.  More information can be found at

At this point, the only BSD recommended by the Tor Project is FreeBSD 5.x or higher.  While there is an OpenBSD port, and a pkgsrc port for NetBSD and Dragonfly BSD, they are not considered recommended operating system platforms.  This is one issue the list could approach.

The user group believes the BSDs make an ideal platform for running Tor considering the stability and security track record of the operating systems.

If you’re interested, the mailing list is located at

(via G+)

Netflix’s new peering appliance uses FreeBSD

“FreeBSD is once again a core part of the internet infrastructure”

Netflix, an American provider of on-demand Internet streaming media in the United States, Canada and Latin America, has established its own content delivery network called “Open Connect”, and has posted the software and hardware design online.

The 4u chassis server systems that are being used, with more than 100TB of storage, run the nginx open source web server and run FreeBSD 9.0.

Read here how Netflix is using FreeBSD and what their reason is for this choice: Netflix’s New Peering Appliance Uses FreeBSD.

Thanks again to Charles Rapenne for the heads up.

Protect Your BSD – BSD Magazine (May 2012)

April’s issue of the BSD Magazine is now available: BSD Security – Protect Your BSD (free PDF download).

Covering the following topics:

A Fresh Look at the Warden for PC-BSD 9.1
Intro to DTrace
A Web Application Firewall for Nginx
Introducing EasyPBI – Making PBI Modules With a Few Mouse Clicks
Mysql-zrm: Enterprise Level Backups for MySQL
Anatomy of FreeBSD Compromise (Part 5)
Hardening FreeBSD with TrustedBSD and Mandatory Access Controls (MAC)
Security Best Practice for DNS Servers

Website down – issues solved

Thank you all for your patience with the website issues over the last couple of hours. The database and theming issues are solved now, but I had to repost two posts that weren’t backed up. Apologies for that.

Thank you all who emailed me regarding this problem.

Speed Daemons (BSD Magazine 2011-11)

A new issue (November 2011) of the free BSD Magazine is now available: Speed Daemons (pdf).

From the table of contents:

PC-BSD 9 Turns a New Page

Since 2005, PC-BSD has striven to make BSD accessible to the desktop user. Offering a slew of improvements and added features, this release brings a more accessible BSD operating system than ever. Read the review and find out more about it.

– Mark VonFange

A Beginner’s Guide To PF

OpenBSD, FreeBSD, and PC-BSD use a built-in firewall called “Packet Filter (PF)”. This article is intended for a PF beginner to get a beginner’s understanding of how to use PF in OpenBSD.

– Toby Richards

Creating Your Own PBI Repository

In this article author describes the steps required for setting up and maintaining your own repository on a FreeBSD system.

– Kris Moore

Speed Deamons

From this article you will learn how by using advanced networking mechanisms in FreeBSD build a high performance, highly available web application server.

– Lars R. Noldan

A GIS Strategy For Web-Enabled Business

In his final article of our GIS series, the author will show you how to successfully manage and commission a complex GIS project.

– Rob Somerville

Equip Your CA With a HSM For

The CA is used for identification and authentication of servers, clients and users. Together with author take a closer look at the security of Certificate Authority in his own network.

– Erwin Kooi

Terminals Served Up BSD Style

You may have your own reason for wanting a BSD terminal server. There are two solutions to this goal: FreeNX or XRDP. This article will show you how to use both solutions.

– Toby Richards

OpenBSD Kernel Memory Pools: Monitoring Usage With Systat

This article explains how to understand memory usage statistics for kernel memory pools as they are displayed by the systat(1) command on OpenBSD.

– Paul McMath

FreeBSD 8.2 Against Ubuntu Server

An Objective Comparison of two Power House Open Source Server Platforms, BSD Unix and Linux.

– Bill Harris

EuroBSDcon 2011 From An Organizers Perspective

Have an inside look at the EuroBSDcon and get to know about events and speeches that took place in the beginning of October 2011 in Netherlands.

– Jeroen van Nieuwenhuizen

Read and download: BSD Magazine: Speed Daemons (2011-11)