Getting Started With FreeNAS

Getting Started With FreeNAS

You can download the stable release of FreeNAS here.  Then you can check out this Getting Started Page. It has a great how to install FreeNAS Video, shown below. The iXsystems free training is also a very good resource for learning all about FreeNAS. The FreeNAS Forms are here.

FreeNAS is some pretty heavy duty software. It will have a learning curve. 

Make Bootable Media

You will need to “burn” the ISO file onto a thumb drive. See our guide for Making an ISO usb on a Mac. If our guide is not helpful for you, search on YouTube to find a helpful video.

FreeNAS Official Documentation

Very good documentation is available here: Official FreeNAS Documentation. The Storage and Sharing chapters are very important to read. 

Setting Up Users, Groups, Datasets, & Shares

Setting Up FreeNAS Sharing With a Mac

First of all, if you have not watched the video above. Be sure to do so. It is the best FreeNAS guide of all time.

Don’t let the legacy interface scare you off. You can switch to this interface by selecting the option in the upper right hand corner of your fancy non-legacy FreeNAS interface. 

Many tutorials are in the older interface. This is for good reason. It is easier to navigate. At least in my humble opinion. 

The top takeaway from this fantastic video is:

  • Use Windows dataset
  • You share it out
  •  Assign Group to the Dataset
  •  Make sure the user is a member of the group
NOTE: When setting up your share, be sure to select ‘Apply Default Permissions’

I follow the guide above and the FreeNAS official documentation for setting us shares. I have found that the Unix share does not work well for Macs. I have read that the AFP file share is slow and does not work with other systems. 

I finally found that a Windows SMB share works best with Mac OS Mojave. At least with my setup that has mostly Mac computers. 

The SMB will requires password authentication and allows me to write to the FreeNAS share. These are my two basic requirements. So I’m set with the Windows SMB 

Mac Backups to FreeNAS

For ‘Sparcebundle’ disk images (preferred because they are not monolythic and do not have the 2Tb limitation that ‘Sparceimage’ files have) you must use an AFP share.

This is a fantastic guide for setting up Mac Time Machine backups on FreeNAS. Although I would skip all of the super technical terminal work.

You should set the Time Machine Quota to 2x the size of the hard drive/file you are backing up. It is set in GiB. See this calculator to convert to something normal people use.

To clone with Carbon Copy Cloner, you will need to set the write permissions for the group. See this CCC guide for permissions.

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