An introduction to FreeNAS

Open Space

Beyond NAS: Plugins

Out of the box, FreeNAS contains many of the most popular services for NAS. Although they cover the vast majority of use cases, additional customization may be required. To that end, FreeNAS includes a plugin system with support for a wide variety of add-on software. Each plugin runs in its own FreeBSD jail, which allows it to be run isolated from the host operating system.

In FreeNAS, jails are installed on individually segregated ZFS datasets. The admin creates transparent mount points to storage outside of the jail's dataset, all of which can be done from the web UI. The plugin API also allows a plugin to communicate through an IPC interface to the web UI, allowing it to be configured and enabled/disabled as a service without resorting to the command line. Further details of the FreeNAS plugin system can be found in the FreeNAS documentation.

Final Thoughts

FreeNAS provides powerful administrative tools. As with any power tool, the more knowledge and resources you have on using it properly, the less likely you are to suffer an accident. Unlike with a "boxed solution" like TrueNAS, a FreeNAS deployment is completely up to you to design from start to finish. Thus, you have incredible freedom in designing the solution that's right for you or your organization's needs; however, the responsibility for doing it right, with the right type of hardware, is also yours!

We hope that this article has given you some of the basic information you need to get started creating a high-quality FreeNAS system, all based on open technologies that you can be proud of.

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