The danger of FreeNAS for your data

The following is simply my perception of reality based on forum posts, articles, and conversations throughout the internet.

It seems that ZFS itself may be a great filesystem. The issue itself is FreeNAS implementation of ZFS administration – in particular, the Web UI. From what I’ve read there are some real and serious dangers of the web interface not actually performing the operations it should be performing, and causing data loss.

For example: the best way to replace a failed disk in a FreeNAS implementation is to use the CLI. After which time the Web UI will be out of date. Some accepted forum posts on the official FreeNAS board actually suggest (and this is accepted by other members) that after a replace is performed and the new disk is resilvered, that the admin reinstalls FreeNAS from scratch, and reimports the filesystem.

If this is the case, it seems that it may be much safer for your data to learn to use FreeBSD and the ZFS implementation there, utilize hardware RAID instead, or find another answer (NFS on a linux server, a Windows install if that’s more comfortable for you (Windows has a free iSCSI server now), etc). Otherwise, make sure you’re doing backups to another location or only storing non-critical data, and you’re using the raid z2 implementation to protect data as much as possible while you figure out how to replace the disk.

Comments are welcome, but I wanted to see if I could try to cloud the rose colored lens about FreeNAS that seems to develop after reading the first few pages of most search results.

Search for FreeNAS disk replacement or browse the Help / Support section of the official FreeNAS forums for more information on these issues.