TrueNAS CORE is the new FreeNAS

TrueNAS CORE is the New FreeNAS

We have previously announced the merger of FreeNAS and TrueNAS into a unified software image and new naming convention. FreeNAS is becoming TrueNAS CORE. TrueNAS is becoming TrueNAS Enterprise. We’ve appreciated all of the positive feedback tremendously but noticed there were a few common questions from some of our more skeptical community members or ones that haven’t yet worked closely with iXsystems:

Will TrueNAS CORE still be open source and free?  

The answer is 100% yes.

Will TrueNAS CORE have fewer features than FreeNAS?  

The answer is 100% no. In fact, TrueNAS CORE will have MORE features than FreeNAS does today.

Will any “free” features now only be made available in TrueNAS Enterprise?

Nope. We have no intention of removing features from TrueNAS CORE. Hopefully, we’ve eased your minds. 🙂

Before we dive in and illustrate further the points above by comparing the features of FreeNAS, TrueNAS CORE, and TrueNAS Enterprise, let’s first do a quick recap of the benefits the FreeNAS/TrueNAS Unification plan delivers for all users and contributors:

  • Rapid Development: Unified images accelerate software development and releases (for example, 12.0 is a major release that would normally have taken 9-12 months to release, and with these new efficiencies, we are bringing that closer to six months)
  • Improved Quality: Reduced development redundancy and unified QA increases software quality and allows us to streamline testing
  • Earlier Hardware Enablement: Staying in-sync with upstream OS versions will be easier, allowing earlier access to newer hardware drivers. For instance, 12.0 brings improved support for AMD EPYC / Ryzen platforms and enhanced NUMA support for more efficient CPU core handling.
  • Simplified Documentation: Unified documentation eliminates redundancy such as separate user guides
  • Reduced Redundancy: Unified web content and videos refer to one software family without the need for duplication
  • Flexibility: Unified images enable simpler transitions or upgrades between editions
  • Resource efficiency: Frees up developers to work on new features and related products
  • OpenZFS 2.0: The planning for the “unified” 12.0 release began over a year ago and included the major investment in the development and integration of what will soon be released as “OpenZFS 2.0”. This effort is fast-forwarding delivery of advances like dataset encryption, major performance improvements, and compatibility with Linux ZFS pools. 

In a nutshell: huge efficiency gains equal higher quality software, released faster.

TrueNAS CORE Features

FreeNAS 11.3 has a very rich set of features, and TrueNAS CORE adds incrementally and significantly to that list. Again, no features are being harmed in the transition to TrueNAS CORE :-). In fact, “CORE” is an acronym that makes a commitment to our community that all the core functionality that FreeNAS users love will always be included in TrueNAS CORE, the best free NAS software (see what we did there?). 

The comprehensive feature list for TrueNAS 12.0 is actually quite enormous. To make it manageable, we’ve created a master feature list below. The features in black were existent in FreeNAS 11.3 and are shared by both TrueNAS CORE and TrueNAS Enterprise. The features in blue are new features being added with TrueNAS 12.0. The column to the right displays features that are available in TrueNAS Enterprise only. As you can see, no existing FreeNAS features have been moved over to the Enterprise column.

TrueNAS Enterprise has additional features that are needed for deployment in production applications. Many of these features are tied to the ability to support High Availability (HA) systems. 

By default, all new TrueNAS 12.0 features are included in both TrueNAS CORE and Enterprise. The feature additions for TrueNAS 12.0 can be summarized as:

Metadata on Flash: Special SSD vdevs can be used for Metadata acceleration. This can include both file systems metadata and dedupe tables. This is one of the core features of OpenZFS 2.0.

Fusion Pools: The special SSD vdevs can also be used for data based on I/O write size. This is configurable on a per dataset basis.  Users can accelerate database datasets or special VMs.

SSD Wear Monitoring: Any SSD (Boot, L2ARC, slog or vdev) can be monitored for wear and alerts created.

Dataset Encryption: Specific datasets can be selected or deselected for encryption with a user-provided key. When replicating the dataset to another TrueNAS, the key does not have to be provided and so the data can be transmitted and stored in the original encrypted state.

Asynchronous ZFS Trim: Trim commands free up space, particularly within SSDs. By making these Trim commands asynchronous, they scale and perform better. This is particularly useful for deduplication of flash storage and can significantly reduce costs.

Faster ZFS Boot: OpenZFS 2.0 includes a more parallel process for importing a ZFS pool with many drives. This reduces boot and failover times.

ZFS Linux Compatibility: Linux and FreeBSD are peer operating systems for OpenZFS 2.0. Compressed, deduplicated, and encrypted data can be efficiently replicated from a Linux host to a TrueNAS system for backup and archive. It is also possible to import a pool (drive set) from Linux to TrueNAS.

Accelerated ZFS: Several performance improvements have been made to reduce both drive IOPS and the CPU cycles required. More features and higher performance together is a big win for ZFS users :-).

OpenVPN Client and Server: VPNs provide security for remotely accessing storage services, such as SMB or NFS, across the Internet. This feature enables the OpenVPN Client or Server to be included in the NAS for simpler administration and lower costs. The other end of the VPN connection can be any OpenVPN client, such as another NAS, Firewall Device, or Personal Desktop/Laptop.  

Two Factor Authentication: For increased security, two factor authentication is highly desirable. TrueNAS ensures that a compromised root password cannot be used by itself to gain access to the administrator interface.

API Keys: Access to the REST / WebSockets API can now be done by API key. Keys can be created and revoked directly via the WebUI for additional security.

KMIP Support: Key Management Interoperability Protocol (KMIP) is an enterprise-grade approach to securing systems and data through a centralized key management system. This feature will be available in TrueNAS Enterprise to secure drives or datasets. 

TrueCommand Dataset Management: TrueCommand is joined at the hip with TrueNAS and will provide some exciting features, including snapshotting, replicating, and migrating datasets between systems.

There should be something for everybody in this list. We hope you’re as excited by the increase in productivity as our devs are!

Onward to TrueNAS CORE!

TrueNAS 12.0 will go through the same NIGHTLY, ALPHA (Internal), BETA, RC1, RELEASE, UPDATE states that FreeNAS has gone through. There will be no changes to the software update process or the information available. There is a TrueNAS 12.0 sub-forum on the community forums for this unification process and community feedback. 

The TrueNAS CORE 12.0 nightly builds have reached a stage where they are largely “feature complete”. Some UI polish and a lot of testing is needed to get to RELEASE deployment quality. We appreciate developers and testers who work with these early images. Bugs that are caught and reported early are going to have less impact on the final schedule.

Still the Best Free NAS

Still open, still free, just with more features and a new brand. Nothing much will change in the UI dashboard. However, TrueNAS CORE will have the option to use a FreeNAS theme for those as attached to the FreeNAS name as we are!

TrueNAS CORE pictured with the “FreeNAS theme” for diehards and nostalgists alike!

We hope you are sharing in the excitement for TrueNAS CORE & Enterprise as we move closer to our release date. If you have any questions or comments, we’d love to hear them on the forums or in response to this blog. If you need additional information on how TrueNAS can streamline, accelerate, and unify data management for your business, email us. In the meantime, download FreeNAS 11.3 today in preparation, and you can later upgrade to TrueNAS CORE 12.0 with a single click!

34 Comments

  1. Jack

    It’s so heartening to see an open-source/commercial company continue to commit to the community as well as their enterprise customers. I use both FreeNAS and TrueNAS (I’ve purchased several M40 servers so far), and I’m even happier about purchasing from you with the TrueNAS Core announcement. It’s great to see, considering how many dual open/commercial entities slowly migrate toward punishing the community offerings or abandoning it.

    Keep it up! I keep pushing your enterprise solutions in my company because they’re very well made, well thought out, and your support is absolutely top notch … but I wouldn’t be as much of an advocate if I didn’t have the “cheap seats” to use at home and try different scenarios.

    Reply
    • Joon Lee

      Thank you for your support and kind words! We appreciate it. It’s fantastic to see our products being such a benefit to you. Go Open Source! Stay tuned for TrueNAS Open Storage!

      Reply
  2. Carl

    Hello,
    Is there mode to buy only to buy only Enterprise Version without hardware?

    Reply
    • Joon Lee

      Stay tuned for more information on TrueNAS Enterprise. We’ll be releasing more information as times goes on.

      Reply
  3. Tyler Swindell

    Why is application services in blue as if a new feature? We’ve had jails, plugins, and VMs in FreeNAS?

    Reply
    • Joon Lee

      If the word is blue, then it is a new feature. For example, “2Factor” is a new feature (it’s under “Jails, Plugins, VMs”).

      Reply
  4. Austin

    How is docker going to work?

    Reply
    • Joon Lee

      Please stay tuned for more information. We’ll release more information as time goes on.

      Reply
  5. Simon C

    Um, I use a dual port SAS zeusramm (technically also an example of nvdimm?) for SLOG and a samsung NVME pm981 for L2ARC ….

    Reading the above, are they going to be unsupported after the switch?

    Reply
    • Joon Lee

      Simon, please stay tuned for more information on TrueNAS CORE. We’ve submitted your question to the Engineering Team in the meantime.

      Reply
    • Joon Lee

      Simon, there’s no reason that it shouldn’t be supported after the upgrade. Can you let us know which section caused the confusion?

      Reply
        • Simon C

          This never really got answered 🙂 NVME and dual port SAS are both listed under enterprise only – my zeusram and NVME M.2 drives haven’t stopped working, but it would be nice to know they won’t in future!

          Reply
    • Patrick Tully

      Wait, so we are removing features now? I also use this feature in freenas.

      Reply
      • Joon Lee

        No, there’s no reason that shouldn’t be supported after the upgrade.

        Reply
  6. Mark

    We’ve bought 4 systems from ix since 2011 and have added HDDs over the years and I can say that it is one of the most stable platforms, our most recent purchase in December 2019 was for an M40 HA cluster for our vSphere environment. We’ve repurposed the 2 original SuperMicro TrueNAS into FreeNAS recently as backup storage and they just keep working. Looking forward to upgrading into TrueNAS Core.

    Reply
    • Joon Lee

      Thank you for your support, Mark! Feel free to send us some photos of your builds (info@ixsystems.com) and include build photos in the subject line.

      Here’s our most recent blog about the features in TrueNAS CORE: https://www.ixsystems.com/blog/truenas-core-features/

      Reply
  7. Saleh

    My understanding for how FreeNAS/TrueNAS is been developed FreeNAS will have new cutting edge features and after a lot of testing and making sure feature is stable will move to TrueNAS how this is going to work with one unified image?

    Reply
      • Brandon

        Will TrueNas Core support vfio gpu passthrough for hardware acceleration in VM’s?

        Reply
        • Joon Lee

          No, TrueNAS CORE does not support GPU passthrough.

          Reply
      • Saleh

        Hi Joon

        I’ve read the blog but no where in article explaining how development process will work.

        From article

        “There will be two different editions: TrueNAS CORE and TrueNAS Enterprise. Without any license keys, TrueNAS CORE provides all the same, unrestricted FreeNAS functionality you know and love, while the source code will still be Open Source and forever free to use. TrueNAS Enterprise will enable an extended feature set using a license key on supported platforms. This move elevates FreeNAS to the enterprise-grade quality levels of TrueNAS to further cement its position as the world’s #1 Open Storage OS”

        Reply
  8. Vinícius Ferrão

    Dual Port SAS is a feature that is available on existing FreeNAS installations. Is it being phased out to be TrueNAS Enterprise only?

    Reply
    • Joon Lee

      No FreeNAS features will change or be taken away. Only new features will be added to TrueNAS CORE.

      Reply
  9. derrick mehaffy

    Are the existing workarounds being used on FreeNAS for FiberChannel being “patched”? Even those of us that don’t use FreeNAS in a professional environment (or enterprise) still like using FiberChannel (mainly because the gear is cheap).

    Are you blocking all use of FiberChannel for TrueNAS core users?

    Reply
    • Joon Lee

      FiberChannel is a feature for TrueNAS Enterprise only in the UI.

      Reply
  10. Glen Dady

    Will TrueNAS CORE have any storage limitations, for example total storage greater than 4TB you need an Enterprise License?

    Reply
    • Joon Lee

      No, it’ll be the same as FreeNAS. There are no size/disk limitation to TrueNAS CORE or TrueNAS SCALE.

      Reply
  11. RafaelKr

    I would love to setup a Wireguard VPN to access my server at home from remote! And it’s now baked in right into the Linux Kernel.
    I heard TrueNAS 12 will be able to also run on Debian 11. Will it be possible to move the FreeNAS 11.3 installation to the TrueNAS 12 Debian edition?

    Thanks for FreeNAS, it’s awesome!

    Reply
    • Joon Lee

      Hi there Rafael,

      Yes, TrueNAS SCALE is the Linux variant. Are you asking if you could upgrade from FreeNAS 11.3 straight to TrueNAS SCALE?

      Reply
  12. Ralph

    Will there be any improvements with bhyve VMs? I had major performance issues with Windows VMs in the past (Linux was OK)

    Reply
  13. Guilherme Mauricio

    I desperately need a two-way sync between two NAS servers. Syncthing halts my servers to a point I can’t even SSH into them. Other solutions seem to be some sort of McGuyverism. Please, please, PLEASE include some two-way sync functionality into TrueNAS Core, even if it’s through a plugin!

    Reply
  14. francesco castelli

    Ciao, ho un problema con la velocità di upload e download del mio nas, quando provo a importare un file dal mio pc fisso al nas (truenas) la velocità di trasferimento è di 100/115 mb/s, mentre quanto prelevo un file dal nas e lo copio nel mio pc la velocità massima che raggiungo è di 50 m/bs. Come pc ho un fisso avente windows 10 e come metodo di condivisione sul nas uso SMB qualcuno sa come posso risolvere o se è normale?

    Reply

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