I started with PCs in 1990 on a 286 with a 42 MB hard disk (Seagate ST251-1), which about one year later had issues with faulty sectors. This was a couple of years before (consumer) hard disks started to internally re-map bad sectors. And it was also the first and last time that I lost data. Ever since, I have been paranoid about backups (and more importantly restores).
I started with simple floppy disks for source code, spreadsheets, etc. and went for a DAT streamer in 1996 (HP C1536). This only lasted 3 years and after that abysmal experience I switched to a QIC streamer (Tandberg SLR-24), which lasted until about 2008. Well, that’s when I took it out of service. It was in perfect working condition but 12 GB capacity per cartridge started to be an issue. Since then I have used hard disks in various ways, since streamers have become a prohibitive upfront investment for me. I would still prefer streamers, but that is a different story.
All the people I know (incl. at work) initially think of my efforts as overkill. Until they loose 10 years of digital pictures, esp. when their children are involved. That is when they are willing to invest time and money. The same goes for many companies, unfortunately. A friend told me about a malware attack on his employer about a year ago. All of a sudden there was budget for keeping backups longer than just 30 days, a properly segmented network, and other things their IT department had wanted for more than a decade. Everybody (incl. me – see above) has to learn this the hard way, I guess.
A side note on NAS gear that is typically more in the consumer space. I am currently in the process of switching to a new FreeNAS box. There were long deliberations as to whether I should go for Synology instead. The core reason why I stayed with FreeNAS is that it I have flexibility. From a usability and ease-of-use perspective I got the impression that Synology is (far?) superior. But that comes at the price of limitations. A mass market product needs to keep support tickets under control and the only way for that is to constrain people’s options. And I wanted to stay flexible, even if that meant to spend more money (hardware specs are considerably higher than the Synology model in question) and time for setting things up.
Finally, I am not going for TrueNAS 12 right now but start with FreeNAS 11.3 U5. Yes, I have seen and read many highly positive comments about v12 and how stable it is. But IMHO nobody can be really sure for at least a couple of weeks that no hidden errors exist.
As part of moving to a new FreeNAS box, I want to replicate data from the old (nas2, running FreeNAS 11.1 U7) to the new (nas3, running FreeNAS 11.3 U5) machine. During the initial phase nas2 will still be my primary storage location. Think of this as something like a burn-in to ensure that there are no dead-on-arrival components in the new box, esp. hard disks of course. This is planned to last for at least two months and I want all my data synchronized constantly.
The solution I laid my eyes on is Syncthing and I want to run it in a FreeNAS jail on both systems. On the new system the installation was smooth, but on nas2 it was not possible to even create a jail. It turned out to be a setting that had not been migrated from the original FreeNAS 9.3 installation, which had been the initial version of FreeNAS on nas2.
All that had to be done was fix the “Collection URL” setting in the jails configuration as shown below.
- Go to “Jails / Configuration”
- Switch to “Advanced Mode”
- Make sure that the URL contains “11.1” (was “9.3” before on my system)
The next step was to install Syncthing with
pkg. The problem with FreeNAS 11.1 is that the underlying FreeBSD is no longer maintained (EOL) and therefore no package repository exists for this version. The workaround is to forcibly switch to an existing repository, even if it does not match the FreeBSD version. I am ok with that, as long as only applications and not OS tools are installed (you should carefully think, whether this is also ok for you!). To do this, issue the following command:
# pkg bootstrap -f
You will get a warning about different OS versions and need to confirm that you want to continue. Once this is complete, install Syncthing with
pkg install syncthing
You get the same warning as just before and need to confirm the installation.
[syncthing] [1/1] Fetching syncthing-1.10.0.txz: 99% 16 MiB 1.0MB/s 00:0
[syncthing] [1/1] Fetching syncthing-1.10.0.txz: 100% 16 MiB 1.0MB/s 00:1
Checking integrity... done (0 conflicting)
[syncthing] [1/1] Installing syncthing-1.10.0...
===> Creating groups.
Creating group 'syncthing' with gid '983'.
===> Creating users
Creating user 'syncthing' with uid '983'.
===> Creating homedir(s)
[syncthing] [1/1] Extracting syncthing-1.10.0: 100%
From here, you can just continue with the normal process of setting thins up. A good starting point might be the following YouTube video.
I have been an extremely satisfied user of FreeNAS for many years, but had not updated my system for quite a while. Having a free Sunday was the perfect opportunity to do just that.
There were two steps involved: First go to 9.3.1 and then to 9.10.2-U2. As my box sits in the basement and is headless, I opted for update via GUI and it went extremely well.
The only issue was that on 9.10.2 the jail template list was empty. A quick online search revealed that this was, unfortunately, expected. But on the other hand, in such a case there is a good chance, that someone else has already found a solution.
But it all proved a bit more challenging than expected. And nothing I found worked completely. So I ended up with a combination of things from other people (in particular this link) and my own discoveries:
- I deleted the ZFS volume
.warden-template-standard via the web UI
- Then from the command line the ZFS was re-created with
zfs create zpool/jails/.warden-template-standard
- Deleted the template
warden template delete standard
- Re-created the standard template
warden template create -nick standard -tar http://download.freenas.org/jails/10/x64/freenas-standard-10.3-RELEASE.tgz
At this point everything should have been good – but it was not. Still no template showed up when I tried to create a new jail. So I added a jail template in the web UI, too.
The URL is exactly the same as for the command line above.
With this I was able to create a new FreeBSD jail.