The Guru College

FreeNAS: First Impressions

I’ve been “production” on my new FreeNAS based file server for a few days now. I finished the data migration over the weekend. I’m still drinking in the differences, and trying to get a handle on all the ways FreeNAS (and recent FreeBSD builds) are different than an years-old install of OpenSolaris. I am mostly impressed. I am going to miss FMA on Solaris and a few of those sort of features that made the OS so incredibly good (cfgadm comes to mind), and I’m not sure how FreeNAS handles drive failures and removals – I’m sure I will find out over the next weeks, months and years.

The cautionary tale I have for today is using “AFP” shares in FreeNAS, which I assume is netatalk. My photo library lives on the NAS, and has for years. One of the things I was looking forward to moving off OpenSolaris for was a better stack for CIFS/AFP file services. This evening, I finally settled down to get some image editing done – and the system was so incredibly slow as to be unusable. Going into the Finder, pulling a directory listing was taking 20-30 seconds. I was starting to lose my mind, but I decided to fall back to NFS, which I had been using to move data around, and had seemed quick for bulk transfers. Everything was lightning fast.

I don’t have anything conclusive yet, but it seems that NFS is an order of magnitude faster than AFP, out of the box, on FreeNAS. I’ll look into this further, but I’m tired, and I don’t want to try to dig up numbers tonight.

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