Alan McKinnon

System Administrator

In the grand free and open source tradition, I get the very best feature set I could hope for (everything) at the best possible price (nothing) 🙂

I’m a sysadmin by trade and have two FreeNAS boxes at home – one for general storage, one for permanent backups. Both just run day in and day out, never give issues and never need handholding. I’ve tried various solutions over the years, usually some combination of a customized Linux install with NFS and Samba; now this works OK, but it gets to be labour-intensive. With FreeNAS, I can stop doing the following:

* Eternally fiddling with the system, running apt-get/emerge or whatever
* Trying to figure out almost daily what update broke things today
* Worrying about reaching the limits of the filesystem
* Dealing with the complexity of disk storage and all the layers that make it up (thanks to ZFS)
* FreeNAS is an appliance, I treat it like my DSL router and media player, and that’s exactly the way I want it. It’s trouble free, it just works, it does what it says on the box and does it well.

The cherry on the cake has got to be ZFS. For too long I’ve had to deal with disks, disk system drivers, partitions, volume managers, assembling RAID arrays, mkfs and finally mount. Let’s rather not talk about resizing an fs and what that entails. With ZFS, all that complexity goes away and becomes a non-issue. Storage is now just storage – I added 12TB of disks a chassis and told ZFS to just deal with it properly and give me a mount point. And that’s exactly what it did. And it did it in about 5 minutes!

How I ever managed before ZFS is a bit of a mystery to me now – all that unnecessary complexity just goes away.

Great job guys!

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