iXsystems Announces Availability of FreeNAS 9.3 for General Consumption

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Major Usability Improvements, Automated Updates, Improved Virtualization and Microsoft Server 2012 Integration

iXsystems announced today the general availability of FreeNAS version 9.3. Highlights of the release include a simplified and revamped Web UI, automated updates, a new set-up wizard, and ZFS boot environments. FreeNAS 9.3 underwent extensive testing by thousands of BETA testers from the FreeNAS Community.

A change in the iSCSI target from userland to kernel space unlocked several of the newest block storage features and yielded far better performance than the previous user-mode iSCSI target. FreeNAS 9.3 also now supports coherent VMware snapshots, so ZFS snapshots and VMware snapshots are properly coordinated. Customers moving VMs will not have to move the snapshots as they are kept with the VM image on the FreeNAS server.

iXsystems worked with FreeBSD developers to add additional VMware VAAI primitives to FreeBSD in order to improve VMware support in FreeNAS. The VAAI block primitives, as well as the thin provisioning primitives, are now fully supported. This and other changes in FreeNAS 9.3 mean FreeNAS is significantly more viable as backing storage for VMware deployments.

Additionally, FreeNAS 9.3 adds support for Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV), Windows 2008 and 2012 R2 clustering, and Microsoft ODX Acceleration. FreeNAS users around the world have been using the in-kernel iSCSI (formerly a default option) as the block target in production for several months. Both external and internal testing show excellent stability as well as general performance improvements.

Chris Miller of Marquis ID Systems states, "I have recently used FreeNAS to build Microsoft Hyper-V 2012 R2 and VMware vSphere 5.5 clusters. FreeNAS delivered the ability to connect both products to virtualized backend storage with ease and saved our company money. FreeNAS is an extremely flexible product that I would recommend to anybody."

Alongside the major improvements to the underlying technology, FreeNAS 9.3 adds new management and usability features. Users familiar with previous versions will notice that much of the initial setup is now wizard driven and most menus have been simplified by moving the 'advanced' features behind an advanced menu, significantly simplifying the user experience altogether. Update packages are now cryptographically signed by iXsystems and automatically downloaded in the background, to be applied at the user's convenience.

The FreeNAS boot device now uses ZFS, and boots with GRUB to allow administrators to boot from a clone of a previous boot environment and roll-back any undesired changes. These technology improvements open up several new administrative options, such as maintaining copies of boot environments with previous firmware revisions and maintaining separate environments on a single appliance.

A full list of changes in FreeNAS 9.3-RELEASE is available here. To download FreeNAS 9.3-RELEASE click here.

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Denise Ebery
iXsystems, Inc.
+1 4089434100 Ext: 120
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