What does a 0.1 difference make? In the case of FreeNAS 11.2 – a LOT!
This is no ordinary FreeNAS release, my friends…
FreeNAS 11.2-RELEASE introduces a ton of new features, including a major revamp of the web interface, support for self-encrypting drives, and new, backwards-compatible REST and WebSocket APIs. This update also introduces iocage for improved Plugins and Jails management and simplified Plugin development. Our favorite updates are detailed below, and a full list of changes is available in the Release Notes.
All New Web Interface
The redundant top bar has been removed and most FreeNAS configuration menus can be accessed by clicking the appropriate item in the left column. The new design streamlines the layout with cleaner dropdown menus, while maintaining the same functionality and workflow you’ve grown familiar with while using FreeNAS.
All your favorite FreeNAS features are still available, including the same robust protocol support, snapshots, pool management, and more. If you prefer to use the legacy web interface, you can switch between the two from the login menu at any time.
We are now moving onto the next phase of development to focus on usability improvements, and we’re looking forward to your feedback.
Improved Jails and Plugins Management
The team swapped the Plugins and Jails manager from Warden to iocage to improve manageability and ZFS integration. For new users, this change will be seamless as the new web interface only displays Plugins designed, tested, and optimized for the new manager. The new framework also makes it much easier for developers to create their own iocage Plugins using the instructions for building Plugins.
The APIs between Warden and iocage are incompatible, and users with existing Plugins and Jails are encouraged to either reinstall their Plugins and Jails using the new web interface or try the migration script. To give users sufficient time to test their reinstalled or migrated Plugins and Jails, existing Plugins and Jails created before 11.2 can coexist and still be managed while logged into the legacy UI.
As for the growing Plugins collection, old favorites are still there. Here are a few:
- PlexMediaServer – Popular media player which has been updated to support GPU acceleration
- Nextcloud – Highly functional, private cloud for collaboration
- Syncthing – Private cloud synchronization
- Deluge – Light-weight cross-platform BitTorrent client
- radarr – Fork of Sonarr to work with movies using BitTorrent
We also have a host of new additions to the Plugin ecosystem. Here are a few:
- BackupPC – Backup system for Linux, Windows, and MacOS clients
- BRU server – Backup and recovery software by TOLIS Group, Inc.
- BitTorrent Sync – Resilient, fast, and scalable file sync software
- ClamAV – Open source antivirus engine
- GitLab – Web-based GitHub repository manager
- Jenkins – Widely used open source continuous integration server
- Redmine – Flexible project management web application
- ZoneMinder – Open Source security video system with extensive camera support
To find out more about our complete list of Plugins, please check out the FreeNAS 11.2 User Guide.
FreeNAS 11.2 also offers a large number of important updates to enhance system capabilities, stability, and performance:
- Cloud Choices: Huge increase in the number of choices for cloud backup, with the ability to sync with leading storage providers such as AWS, Google, Azure, Box, Dropbox, Backblaze, and more. These backups can be encrypted for data security.
- VM Management: Better management and handling of VM creation to ensure VMs have more memory during boot.
- Enhanced Encryption: Support for self-encrypting drives (SEDs). SEDs are FIPS 140-2 compliant, which is useful for government use, HIPAA, PCI, and GDPR.
- ZFS Improvements: Latest up-to-date version of OpenZFS with performance and feature enhancement to improve ARC performance, scrub speeds, and vdev resiliency.
- Robust API: Swagger-compliant REST and WebSockets API with integrated documentation, improved usability, and backwards compatibility with the legacy API.
- Mobile and Theming Support: Choose from several built-in themes or create your own custom theme. Built-in mobile support makes it easier than ever to access FreeNAS via your smartphone or tablet.
Refer to the Release Notes for the full list of changes and improvements.
FreeNAS and TrueNAS keep getting better
An important change that sets this release apart from its predecessors relates to a leap forward in our overall development process. FreeNAS 11.2 demonstrates a significant increase in the amount of automated and manual testing that occurs with every commit and prior to each release. Our suite of tests, now nearing 2,000 (and growing), catches bugs earlier in the development cycle and ensures higher quality software releases.
TrueNAS 11.2 is also making progress and is expected to be released in early 2019. While it won’t include Jails, Plugins, VMs, or the new UI until version 11.3 (slated for a Q3 2019), TrueNAS 11.2 will include the many bug fixes, API improvements, and extensive testing introduced by the 11.2 series, along with the High Availability capability that TrueNAS users expect from their systems.
The FreeNAS team is really excited about this latest release and the opportunity to roll it out to the FreeNAS Community. Thank you all for your continued support of FreeNAS, and as always, we’re looking forward to your feedback!