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Install FreeNAS over PXE (Network Boot/Install)

ruant

Newbie
Joined
Feb 12, 2020
Messages
12
Hi.
I've got an old dusty server I'm trying to install FreeNAS on.
It doesn't boot from USB, and the one DVD drive I got doesn't want to boot anything on it either.

However the network card in it does support network booting.

I did find a forum guide on how to do it, but it's rather old (https://www.ixsystems.com/community/threads/guide-pxe-how-to-install-freenas-9-2-0-over-the-network.17714/)
And many of the links it it doesn't work anymore.


Does anyone have any pointers on how to get this working?
 

Patrick M. Hausen

FreeNAS Guru
Joined
Nov 25, 2013
Messages
744
Since FreeNAS is essentially FreeBSD you could adapt my guide to PXE installing FreeBSD. Just (he, he ...) populate the NFS-Root-Directory from the FreeNAS install medium instead of a FreeBSD CD/DVD.

It's in German, though. I hope the code snippets sufficiently speak for themselves:

HTH,
Patrick
 

ruant

Newbie
Joined
Feb 12, 2020
Messages
12
Awesome, don't know German that well, but google translate and as you say code snippets will most likely do the trick!
Cheers Patrick!
 

danb35

FreeNAS Wizard
Joined
Aug 16, 2011
Messages
10,805
Consider that a machine old enough to not boot from USB is pretty unlikely to be suitable to run FreeNAS.
 

ruant

Newbie
Joined
Feb 12, 2020
Messages
12
Good point @danb35
It's an Athlon 64 2.6GHz with 8GB mem.
The plan was to use my old workstations mobo/cpu/mem, but the old 3Ware raid card needs an PCI-X port... Ancient hardware, i know :eek:

We'll see what happens... First I gotta make this PXE stuff work.
 

sretalla

FreeNAS Expert
Joined
Jan 1, 2016
Messages
1,655
3Ware raid card
Watch out for the results of using that... RAID cards not recommended for ZFS. You need direct disk access for ZFS to work well. Use a cheap LSI HBA from e-bay if necessary.
 

ruant

Newbie
Joined
Feb 12, 2020
Messages
12
Watch out for the results of using that... RAID cards not recommended for ZFS. You need direct disk access for ZFS to work well. Use a cheap LSI HBA from e-bay if necessary.
I got a specified OS disk that's not through the 3ware controller.
So I got direct disk access there.
 

danb35

FreeNAS Wizard
Joined
Aug 16, 2011
Messages
10,805
So I got direct disk access there.
FreeNAS requires direct access to all disks, not only to the OS device. I'm not certain the "old 3Ware RAID card" would even be recognized.
 

ruant

Newbie
Joined
Feb 12, 2020
Messages
12
Hmm, OK.
I had FreeBSD installed on this using this 3ware controller about 10 years ago.
But maybe drivers etc has been removed due to the age of it?

I got the PXE server set up yesterday. Managed to boot up the FreeBSD installer. So today i'm swapping out the FreeBSD with a FreeNAS image.
Hopefully it's just a drop in replacement of the files.

I'll post back what happens.
 

jgreco

Resident Grinch
Moderator
Joined
May 29, 2011
Messages
12,154
Hmm, OK.
I had FreeBSD installed on this using this 3ware controller about 10 years ago.
But maybe drivers etc has been removed due to the age of it?

I got the PXE server set up yesterday. Managed to boot up the FreeBSD installer. So today i'm swapping out the FreeBSD with a FreeNAS image.
Hopefully it's just a drop in replacement of the files.

I'll post back what happens.

If it's a 3Ware 9xxx controller it is strongly advisable NOT to do this.
 

ruant

Newbie
Joined
Feb 12, 2020
Messages
12
@jgreco I think it is. Why not?
If i set up a RAID 5 on the 12 HDDS that's connected, won't that work?
I've been out of the game for a loooong time (hence the outdated hardware) so sorry for all the stupid questions.
 

Patrick M. Hausen

FreeNAS Guru
Joined
Nov 25, 2013
Messages
744
ZFS is better than any hardware RAID implementation known to me. For ZFS to take proper care of your data it needs access to the raw disks.

I still think it's reasonable to test the PXE install first and then if FreeNAS 11.3 runs on that hardware at all. But in case you plan to use the system in production, get a "dumb" HBA without RAID.

Kind regards,
Patrick
 

jgreco

Resident Grinch
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ruant

Newbie
Joined
Feb 12, 2020
Messages
12
Thanks for still hanging in there guys, i really appreciate it.
I'm learning something new on every post here now, that's super awesome.


It's just gonna be for me personal at home to store movie footage one, and edit from.
I'm gonna have it backed up to the cloud 24/7 too. (Just like I do with all my data currently, the backup service I use have a CLI for FreeBSD already.

I'm currently running of off some old external drives, which are SUPER SLOW to work from.
And since I have this old thing, from my hardware geeking times back in the day, I figured i could spin it up and use it.
It's basically gonna be me coming home, dumping 500GB of footage onto the server, then start to edit it from the server, when done i'll delete the footage (since it's then backed up to the cloud-backup)


If I can ask?
What happend to UFS?
 

danb35

FreeNAS Wizard
Joined
Aug 16, 2011
Messages
10,805
What happend to UFS?
UFS hasn't been in FreeNAS for a long time. It hasn't been part of the GUI since the 8.x days. You were still able to mount UFS volumes, though not create new ones, until some point in the 9.x releases. But at some point there, even the ability to mount UFS volumes was removed.
 

ruant

Newbie
Joined
Feb 12, 2020
Messages
12
Much to relearn here I see :)

Then it makes sense, I think I was on 6.2 before I dropped of the earth for to long.
I see ZFS was introduced in 7.0 :)
 

jgreco

Resident Grinch
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May 29, 2011
Messages
12,154
No, that's a totally different product. iXsystems acquired the name "FreeNAS" from the previous authors, and FreeNAS 8.0 is a product that had no relationship with what came before, aside from being based on FreeBSD and having the same name. That was almost ten years ago...
 

ruant

Newbie
Joined
Feb 12, 2020
Messages
12
Ahh, my bad. I read Free BSD not NAS.
Sorry about that.

So basically RAID card is not the trend now a days, just software raiding?
 

Patrick M. Hausen

FreeNAS Guru
Joined
Nov 25, 2013
Messages
744
Depends ;)
If you ask "enterprise" admins that rely on "certified" hardware for "enterprise" products like VMware ... well.
If you ask open source proponents like myself: *never* use any proprietary hardware RAID. Even before we used ZFS it was all gmirror in our data centre. Reason: if a machine and/or RAID controller fails and you don't have an identical replacement, there's a high probability your data is toast.
With a software implementation: move disks to working spare chassis, boot, be happy.

HTH,
Patrick
 

jgreco

Resident Grinch
Moderator
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May 29, 2011
Messages
12,154
Ahh, my bad. I read Free BSD not NAS.
Sorry about that.

So basically RAID card is not the trend now a days, just software raiding?
No, you can use ANYTHING YOU WANT to attach disks, but if you make a bad choice, you end up with all sorts of trouble and annoyance later, so if you connect drives using RAID JBOD or USB3 or other bad choices, you end up with a much higher degree of risk for data loss, etc.
 
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