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*FreeNAS is a free and open-source software network-attached storage (NAS) system based on
FreeBSD and the ZFS file system.
*It runs on commodity 32 and 64-bit x86 hardware.
*FreeNAS supports Windows, OS X and Unix clients and various virtualization hosts such as
XenServer and VMware using the CIFS, AFP, NFS, iSCSI, SSH, rsync and FTP/TFTP protocols.
ZFS File System
FreeNAS supports the legacy Unix File System and the ZFS filesystem which provides data
integrity checking to prevent data corruption, enable point in time snapshotting, replication and
several levels of redundancy including striping, mirroring, mirrored striping (RAID 10), and three
levels of RAID-Z.
More info can be found in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FreeNAS
Hardware Requirement
Hardware compatablity list can be found here http://www.freebsd.org/releases/9.1R/hardware.html
Freenas supports 32-bit and 64-bit architectures. 64-bit is more recommended.
Minimum ram :- 8GB recommended
To have better performance, for every 1TB of HDD, 1GB RAM is recommended.
ECC memory is more recommanded.
Storage Disks and Controllers
Best practise can be found here
Glossary of terms used by ZFS
Pool: a collection of devices that provides physical storage and data replication managed by ZFS.
This pooled storage model eliminates the concept of volumes and the associated problems of
partitions, provisioning, wasted bandwidth and stranded storage.
Dataset: once a pool is created, it can be [Volumes#Creating_ZFS_Datasets divided into datasets|.
A dataset is similar to a folder in that it supports permissions. A dataset is also similar to a
filesystem in that you can set properties such as quotas and compression.
Zvol: ZFS storage pools can be divided into zvols for applications that need access to a raw device,
such as swap devices or iSCSI device extents. In other words, a zvol is a virtual block device in a
ZFS storage pool.
Snapshot: a read-only point-in-time copy of a filesystem. Snapshots can be created quickly and, if
little data changes, new snapshots take up very little space. For example, a snapshot where no files
have changed takes 0MB of storage, but if you change a 10 GB file it will keep a copy of both the
old and the new 10 GB version.
Clone: a writable copy of a snapshot which can only be created on the same ZFS volume.
Deduplication: the process of eliminating duplicate copies of data in order to save space. Once
deduplicaton occurs, it can improve ZFS performance as less data is written and stored. However,
the process of deduplicating the data is RAM intensive and a general rule of thumb is 3 GB RAM
per TB of storage to be deduplicated.
ZIL: (ZFS Intent Log) is effectively a filesystem journal that manages writes. The ZIL is a
temporary storage area for sync writes until they are written asynchronously to the ZFS pool. If the
system has many sync writes, such as from a database server, performance can be increased by
adding a dedicated log device (slog) using ZFS Volume Manager. If the system has few sync writes,
a slog will not speed up writes to the pool.
I will be showing the installation and configuration with an VM with basic setup to show how it
looks and how can you start the initial setup.
Steps :-
1) Creating the Virtual Machin
I am mounting the ISO image of FreeNAS 9.1.1. Which is the latest one now.
It will automatically take FreeBSD as the default option.
Since i am making this Doc for a Demo, I am naming it as an Demo Vm.( You can give anything u
want :)
Since my laptop is not of high configuration, i am leaving this default. Again depending on your
server, u can increase the resource and like the thumb rule says , the better the resource the better

The reason we use 64bit architecture is to get support RAM more than 4GB. Since its a demo i am
showing will 1GB of RAM.
Setting up the network for the VM. After the installation is completed, we would require network
connection to access FreeNAS from an another server.
Now, Lets create the virtual hdd of 2GB.
Note:- while installing i am creating only a single virtual drive of 2 GB.
Give a disk file name:-
Complete the creation of VM.
Start the VM
And just like other linux distribution , FreeNAS gives boot options
Start installation of FreeNas
Just follow the simple instructions
Installation process will be started .
And finally
Then final reboot
After restarted. You will get the login screen here.
Open the browser and point to the ip of the installed machin
As the recommended first step , you need to change the password.
Below is where you have to change
Now you know the basic installaion of FreeNAS. Let us try adding 3 virtual hard drives to the
current running FreeNas and create the storage space. Below is the steps to add the virtual harddisk
to the VM.
I adding 3 virtual harddisks of 10GB each.
Now you can see 3 virtual harddisks in Hardware tab
Now go back to the browser and see the newly added harddrives.
Add the 3 harddisks to a raid level. Since its a demo and less resouce, i am creating a stripe raid to
Other option which you need to know .....
Snapshot technology. Like all other smb storage server and other filers, FreeNAS supports
unlimited snapshots,
Add the snapshot
For DR setup , we can have replication as well
You can login to shell as well and do all the activity which are done in BUI....
Well since this is a beginner's guide i have demonstrated the basic installaion part and have give you
a basic info on the FreeNAS. Hope this guide helps you in your learnings. Happy expolring ...:)
Vadiraj Joish