How to Install and Configure FreeNAS

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Muhammad Nabeel
Muhammad Nabeel
Network and System Administrator

FreeNAS is a free and open-source network-attached storage (NAS) software based on FreeBSD and the OpenZFS file system. It is licensed under the terms of the BSD License and runs on commodity x86-64 hardware. FreeNAS supports Windows, macOS and Unix clients and various virtualization hosts such as XenServer and VMware using the SMB, AFP, NFS, iSCSI, SSH, rsync and FTP/TFTP protocols. Advanced FreeNAS features include full-disk encryption and a plug-in architecture for third-party software.

Features

Administrative features:

  • Web-based graphical user interface with optional SSL encryption
  • Localized into over 20 languages
  • Web, console, and SSH access configurable
  • Plug-ins
  • Wide range of configurable alerts and alerting mechanisms, including log emails and reporting notification
  • Downloadable configuration file and encryption keys
  • S.M.A.R.T. disk diagnostics
  • Local certificate management, including Certificate Authority role.
  • 2 factor authentication, LDAP, Active Directory, RADIUS, IPSec, Kerberos and other authentication/user management systems supported in FreeBSD and therefore available for FreeNAS (Note: some but not all supported in GUI).

File system features:

  • Highly resilient ZFS file system with Feature Flags (OpenZFS v5000) and theoretical storage limit of 16 Exabytes. ZFS file system features are fully configurable and include:
  • Compression (including lz4 and gzip),
  • Full-volume encryption (Disk encryption with GELI and AESNI hardware acceleration),
  • Snapshots (which can be near-continual; snapshotting every 15-30 minutes is not uncommon),
  • Data deduplication
  • User quotas
  • Physical disks are fully portable and can be moved without data loss to other FreeNAS servers, or to any other Operating System that supports a compatible version of OpenZFS.
  • Data reliability features – mirroring / RAID (including ZFS RaidZ), multiple copies of selected data and metadata for reliability, and entire-system checksumming and background data repair as needed (“scrubbing”) (see also: ZFS generally, which was designed expressly with the aim of ensuring data preservation)
  • Server reliability features –
  • Replication, fallover and failover,
  • Multi-version boot environment – the boot menu provides access to previous versions of FreeNAS which have been upgraded. In the event of a boot issue or system problem, FreeNAS can also load any of these at boot, as “known good” versions, without “rolling back” the server.
  • Disk read and data import for UFS2, NTFS, FAT32 and EXT2/3
  • User/Group permissions – Classic Unix/Linux permissions and/or ACL based (including ACLs for Microsoft file systems)

Built-in network services and features:

  • Protocols as standard – Samba/SMB/CIFS (for Microsoft and other networks), AFP (Apple), NFS, iSCSI, FTP/TFTP
  • LDAP and Active Directory client support with Windows ACLs
  • Apple Time Machine and Microsoft File History/Previous Versions support
  • rsync data sync and replication (server/client)
  • Link aggregation and failover
  • VLAN networking
  • Dynamic DNS client
  • Remote syslogd forwarding
  • SNMP monitoring
  • Wide range of networking hardware and environments supported by FreeBSD, including copper cable, fiberoptic cable, WiFi
  • Supports jumbo frames, hardware offloading (exact features offloaded vary by adapter), high bandwidth servicing (10G+)

FreeNAS Uses:

  • SMB and Enterprise file serving
  • Virtualization server storage backing
  • Media center audio/video serving and streaming to DLNA devices

Requirements:
8 GB of Disk Space is the absolute minimum. 16 GiB is recommended.
64-bit hardware is required forFreeNAS releases.
8 GB of RAM is required, with more recommended.

Step 1

Download FreeNAS from this link. Burn ISO image to DVD or make a Bootable usb.
https://www.freenas.org/download-freenas-release/

turn on your system, plugin bootable media (DVD or USB) and start installation process

Step 2

Navigate to Option 1 Boot FreeNAS Installer and press ENTER key to install FreeNAS

Step 3

Here Select Install/Upgrade option and Hit ENTER on Ok button

Step 4

Now Choose One or Multiple Drives where you want to install FreeNAS, Spacebar button is used to select drive and asterisk(*) will notify that the drive is selected, then hit ENTER on Ok button.

Step 5

At this time you will get a warning that everything will be removed from selected drives, just proceed to installation by clicking on Yes button.

Step 6

Setting up your root password

Step 7

Finally you will receive a message that installation succeeded. hit on ok

Step 8

Remove your bootable installation media (USB or DVD), navigate to option “Reboot System” and restart it

Step 9

After rebooting the system you will get similar screen given below, here you need to copy the URL so that you can access FreeNAS GUI from your webs browser.

In my case it is http://192.168.231.130

Step 10

Open the web browser and enter the URL to Access FreeNAS GUI, then type your login details user name will be “root” and the password is you set during installation.

Finally you will see FreeNAS Dashboard like below.

That’s it you have installed and configured FreeNAS successfully, soon we will create a guide that how to create a file sharing server on FreeNAS.

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