FreeNAS 9.2-RC: Shit’s Getting Real

Jordan Hubbard has been in the dugout at ixSystems for less than a year now and already we’ve seen some miraculously fast releases for FreeNAS that include a jump to FreeBSD 9.1 and now 9.2 is a release candidate which fixes some really vexing AFP warnings and errors by virtue of a new release of netatalk build that addresses that issue.

One of the more interesting features added in the candidate for RC2 has to be the addition of Linux jails:

* A jails templating system has been added, allowing the quick deployment of new jails from existing templates and the ability to create custom templates. Linux jail support has also been added and installation templates are included for Debian-7.1.0, Gentoo-20130820, Ubuntu-13.04, Centos-6.4, Fedora-19, and Suse-12.3.


Also notable in that release of netatalk is possible support for Spotlight indexes on AFP volumes exported from FreeNAS, permissions fixes, and some home directory hooks with the FreeNAS admin tools, so I’m not hating those prospects.


Finally got around to the FreeNAS 9.1.1 upgrade today, and I’m delighted to tell you that the Plex Media Server plug-in is available right in the administration interface and works just as you’d expect it to. It creates a jail and installs the software without a hitch and BABAM: instant mobile and household media streaming.

The only hiccup I had was when I renamed the announced Media Server name and had to restart the service. It indexed movies, TV shows and this time I even threw some photographs at it without incident. If I get brave I’ll try Music, but for what my household uses Plex for it’s great and frees my desktop workstation from being the choke-point for playing videos and gives my quad-core NAS something to do besides sit idle and handle NFS requests from a handful of computers.

This will likely inspire me to configure another jail for a dovecot IMAP server in the near future. It will probably wait until I get more storage plugged in though, since I’m now below 1TB remaining and I’m nervous about ZFS being unhappy about it.

Plex Media Center is on my FreeNAS


FreeBSD port of Plex Media Server

This may get me to convert my NAS from FreeNAS to the unfortunately named NAS4Free — a FreeBSD port now exists for Plex Media Server, which would remove the requirement to have one of my Macs dishing up media for the house.

I rather like FreeNAS but I’ve been really annoyed with the lack of an IMAP service that works on it via their jail implementation, among a few other annoyances. Maybe I’d be happier if I just switched over? There are some other benefits too, such as running Virtual Box on the NAS hardware to host guest VMs there. Since my NAS host is an intel core2quad system that isn’t such a dumb idea.