Quick Look at FreeNAS 11 RC

FreeNAS has sort of released version 11. They call it a release candidate, RC1. In their announcement, they do say that RC1 is not feature complete. The feature complete version is targeted for later this year. I’ve been thinking about moving my NAS to either FreeNAS or NAS4Free, so I took this new FreeNAS 11 for a quick spin.

I’m a bit disappointed. To me, a “release candidate” is something that is pretty much finished, it is past beta testing, and this is a version meant for wide public testing before it is officially released as the final version. FreeNAS 11 isn’t quite there yet. In fact, I’d consider it in somewhat alpha stage, or even pre-alpha. It’s an opportunity to see how the final FreeNAS 11 will look like.

I tested FreeNAS 11, on both real hardware as well as inside a virtual machine. The old user interface hasn’t changed much.

The highlight is their new user interface, built on Angular. It looks really nice. It has a revamped, modern, look. This is what FreeNAS wants you to see. Interestingly, it isn’t the default. I suppose it would be eventually.

Looking nice is one thing. Does it work? That’s most important. Specifically, I’m looking forward to virtualisation support in FreeNAS. NAS4Free comes with VirtualBox. The botched FreeNAS Corral also had some sort of virtualisation, bhyve, which is built into FreeBSD. FreeNAS 11 too, has bhyve. Unfortunately, at this time, the virtualisation in FreeNAS 11 seems quite broken.

I don’t see how one can add a bridged network device, a feature that I require. In fact, the new FreeNAS 11 user interface seems to be quite broken, “crashing” often when performing various UI actions. In this case, “crashing” meant you get logged out and thrown back to the login screen.

Virtualisation on NAS4Free uses the familiar VirtualBox. It might not be so integrated with FreeBSD, but it works. Several networking modes are supported, including bridged network, which works.

It will be some time before FreeNAS 11 catches up.

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