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FreeNAS 9.1.0 by iXsystems

Improving usability, extensibility, stability, and performance
This is a Press Release edited by StorageNewsletter.com on 2013.08.05

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The FreeNAS development team announces the general release of FreeNAS 9.1.0.

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This release offers improvements to the usability, extensibility, stability, and performance of FreeNAS. Everything from the web user interface, plug-in management system, base OS, ZFS file system, and even the source control used to manage the project have been substantially improved.

With FreeNAS 9.1.0, iXsystems, Inc. sets new level of excellence and power in open source storage solutions.

Major parts of the Web user interface have been overhauled to add functionality and improve usability. The volume creation interface has been completely replaced with a new wizard that assists the user in creating the ideal storage pool and optimal setup for the number of disks available, also helping those unfamiliar with ZFS to make correct early configuration decisions and avoid painful rebuilds later. The encryption interface has also been modified to emphasize the correct steps for safely and securely encrypting a newly created pool.

The FreeNAS plug-in system has been revamped to cover a variety of use cases, from the needs of the beginner to the expert user. Plug-ins can be installed from a user-configurable central plug-in repository as well as uploaded manually through the easy web interface. Multiple jails and jail types, including jails for FreeNAS plug-ins, PC-BSD ports, and conventional FreeBSD packages, are now supported.

FreeNAS also uses the Warden system from PC-BSD and features a redesigned user interface. With more choices to extend FreeNAS, end-users and developers will find this to a powerful and extensible version. It now includes ZFS feature flags, bringing it in line with the future of ZFS development. This upgrade lets FreeNAS benefit from up-to-date open source work on ZFS such as LZ4 compression, which allows compressed datasets to operate at near real-time speed. With ZFS feature flags, every project can pick and choose which features to add to ZFS and implement new ones to be shared with the community. Other improvements to ZFS in FreeNAS 9.1.0 include TRIM support to get better performance from SSDs, enhanced drive failure notification, improved memory use, and reliability enhancements.

The underlying OS in FreeNAS 9.1.0 has been updated to FreeBSD 9-STABLE, a conservative development branch that offers updates in advance of the next FreeBSD RELEASE version. This allows FreeNAS to benefit from the latest updates and features.

iXsystems engineers have also brought in additional performance and stability enhancements from the more advanced FreeBSD 10-CURRENT branch, where improvements from outside FreeBSD are often introduced. By working with the latest stable code available, enhancements and bug fixes developed for FreeNAS can more easily be passed back to upstream projects where they will benefit users across the open source community.

Behind the scenes, FreeNAS is now using git as its primary source control system. This switch is intended to make it easier for outside developers to make substantive contributions to FreeNAS. Along with the release of FreeNAS 9.1, the FreeNAS source code is now hosted on Github.com as well as Sourceforge.net, introducing it to a wider developer community. Github users can now see, follow, and fork the repository at github.com/freenas/freenas.

Allan Jude, host of the weekly sysadmin podcast TechSNAP.tv, said: "FreeNAS is the go-to solution for managing storage. Viewers of my podcast often ask me about building servers for work, home and the cloud. When storage is involved my answer is always Just use FreeNAS. FreeNAS leaves you feeling secure in the knowledge that anyone can operate its web interface, but you can still benefit from the power of the command line."

FreeNAS is a free and open source NAS OS based on FreeBSD. The goal of the project is to design a lightweight, BSD-based software package that acts as a full featured NAS server, complete with a Django-based web user interface, full ZFS implementation, and the ability to interface with existing networks - regardless of OS or protocol. FreeNAS also includes the first Free and Open Source ZFS encryption offering in the world.

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