BSD · File Server · FreeBSD · NAS · NAS4Free

NAS4Free – Network Attached Storage based on FreeBSD

NAS4free is an open source Network Attached Solution based on FreeBSD. The web front end is written in PHP.

NAS4free uses the following file systems natively

  1. ZFS
  2. UFS

It also supports the following file systems

  1. Ext2
  2. Ext3
  3. FAT
  4. NTFS

Hardware recommendations:

NAS4Free can be installed on most of the enterprise class machines. If you want to install it on your own customized hardware, there are some requisites to be considered as high priority if the data is critical.

NAS4Free uses ZFS and UFS as its native backend file system. We would have to consider the following hardware requirements while installing NAS4Free into our own machine.

  • NAS4Free might need 2 HDDs or Equivalent. One for the OS installation  and the other one for the storage.
  • ECC support (In Memory, CPU and Motherboard) is highly recommended if you are using ZFS as the native file system due to chances of data corruption in case of errors on Non-ECC Memory.
Minimum requirement Recommended
CPU x86 or x86_64 x86_64 with ECC support
Memory 2 GB for Operating System and 1 GB of RAM per 1 TB of Harddisk space For ZFS:8 GB for Operating System and additional 1 GB of RAM per 1 TB of Harddisk space (ECC only).For UFS:8GB Total memory
Network 1 x Gigabit ethernetCombined usage for Management and Data 2 x Gigabit ethernet: 1 for management and 1 for Data transfer
Storage Desktop class Hard Drive for OS boot.Desktop class Hard Drive for the ZFS Volumes 7200 RPM Enterprise class Hard Drive for installing the base OS on.Enterprise class SATA or SAS HDD or NAS Harddrives or Enterprise class SSD according to requirement.
Motherboard Desktop class motherboard Server Class or Workstation Class motherboard with ECC support

Installation

NAS4Free can also be installed in a VM as a guest for testing purposes. Now let us have a look at how to install NFS4Free on Virtual Box.

We can now start off the installation by downloading the ISO file from the following link:

NAS4Free download link

Once the download is complete, we can now start Virtual Box. Once Virtual Box is up we can now create a new VM on it by clicking the icon named “New” on the top left corner. By clicking on it a new window pops up. We need to enter the details of the new VM.

  • Type in the “Name” of the VM. Here we have created the name as NexentaStor
  • The Type is “BSD” and Version is “FreeBSD (64 Bit)” , as NAS4Free runs a FreeBSD based kernel. Selecting these options would load a predefined template which would best suit FreeBSD based operating systesms.
  • Click “Next”.

NAS4Free-OS

In the next screen, we can now choose the amount of memory. The default here is 128 MB. We can drag the pointer to change the amount of memory to 2048 MB (2 GB).

NAS4Free-Memory

The next step would be to create a virtual Hard drive. Let us choose “Create a virtual hard drive” and click next to continue.

NAS4Free-OSHDD

The next screen would be to choose the underlying file type for the virtual hard disk. VDI is the native format for Virtual Box. Hence we can continue by choosing  “VDI”.

NAS4Free-HDD1-FIletype

We can choose between Dynamically allocated file or a Fixed size file. Let us choose “Dynamically allocated ” as this is a test setup.

NAS4Free-HDD-DynorFix

Let us give a name for the backend virtual hard drive file. Here we are giving the name as “Nas4free”. Let us click the “Create” button here and create the VM.

NAS4Free-HDD1Size

Now that we have done the basic hard disk setup, we have to prepare the VM to install NAS4Free on. First let us load the virtual CD drive with the NAS4Free ISO file that we have downloaded already. For adding the file we have to use the following steps

  • In the Virtual Box main screen,  we have to select the VM that is created just now and click on “Settings” on the top of the screen.
  • Now we have to click on the “Storage” and under the “Storage tree” click on the CD icon. The window will now show the “Attributes” on the right side. Here we have to click on the  CD icon and choose the ISO file downloaded already and Click “OK” at the bottom.

NAS4Free-AddCD

  • Now the VM is ready to start. We can now start the VM by clicking on the selecting the new VM and clicking on the “Start” button on top.

The booting starts off with the boot loader. Let us start off the machine by selecting the default menu item i.e. “Boot NAS4Free in Normal Mode”

NAS4Free-Grub

The VM will boot into the initial setup screen. Let us select 9 to install NAS4Free into the Hard drive.

NAS4FreeInitialShellSelection

Installation method 1: Embedded Install

NAS4FreeInstallOptions

Let us confirm formatting the drive by the entering “OK”.

NAS4Free-InstallOptionSelectedEmbedded

Let us select the CD as the source of installation.

NAS4Free-InstallationSource

The installer then displays the Hard drives available. Let us select the drive where NFS4Free is to be installed.

NAS4Free-SelectBootDisk

In the next screen, let us enter the size of the swap partition.

NAS4Free-SwapSize

Now the installer starts the installation process. Once the installation is complete, the following screen is displayed.

NAS4Free-Installed

Installation method 2: Full install

NAS4Free-InstallOptionSelectedFull

Let us select the installation source.

NAS4Free-InstallationSourceFull

Let us select the Harddrive where the full installation is to be done.

NAS4Free-SelectBootDiskFullInstall

Let’s enter the Operating System’s partition size.

NAS4Free-InstallBootDiskSizeFullInstall

Let’s enter the swap size.

NAS4Free-SwapSizeFullInstall

Now the installer starts the installation process. Once the installation is complete, the following screen is displayed.

NAS4Free-InstalledFullInstall

Once the installation is complete, let us now reboot the machine by selecting 7.

NAS4Free-Reboot

Once the machine reboots, the following screen is displayed.

NAS4Free-FirstBoot

We can now connect to the web interface using the following URL

http://<ip-address>

References:

  1. http://www.nas4free.org/
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NAS4Free
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