FreeNAS Data Recovery

FreeNAS Recovery

FreeNAS Basics

FreeNAS is a system combining free open source software and NAS. FreeNAS uses ZFS file system to store, manage, and protect data. ZFS provides many advanced features like snapshots, which allows to create and store a read-only copy of the FreeNAS volume, and advanced compression allowing quickly and efficiently reduce both file system metadata and user data sizes.

To create a FreeNAS volume, you need standard PC hardware with a 64-bit processor and at least 8 GB of RAM. FreeNAS operating system is designed to be installed on a USB flash drive with a recommended minimum size of 8 GB. On the site you can find the detailed tutorial on how to create a FreeNAS system using virtual machines or hard drives.

Although FreeNAS is designed around the OpenZFS file system, other file systems, including UFS, NTFS, FAT, EXT2, and EXT3 can be read to allow data transfer to the ZFS volume.

FreeNAS Features

  1. Replication. ZFS file system is used, which allows the use of snapshots and their replication in other systems. If ZFS system fails, any snapshot can be used as a restore point.
  2. Data protection is used to maintain the data integrity. RAIDZ and RAID2Z have a unique parity protection similar to RAID5 and RAID6 respectively.
  3. Encryption. Encrypted data can only be read by a FreeNAS system containing the key. Also, the user can implement a passphrase to increase the protection level.
  4. Snapshots. FreeNAS allows you to take snapshots of the entire system at any time thus allowing the administrators to return the FreeNAS system to one of the previous states. They can be created manually or automactically on a schedule.
  5. File sharing. The main advantage of the FreeNAS systems is file sharing over the Web.
  6. Plugins created by the third-party developers extending the functions of the FreeNAS. Among them the most famous are Bacula Backup Service, BitTorrent Download Service, and Cloud Cloud Storage.

FreeNAS Quirks

  1. Since FreeNAS uses exclusively ZFS, if something fails, you are faced with the fact that there are few data recovery tools that can recover data from ZFS volumes. More than that, in cases with severely damaged file system metadata most of them will not help.
  2. Complex configuration. The FreeNAS system is not intended for home users which have no technical skills. Unlike a ready-made NAS device, where everything has already been set, with a FreeNAS you will have to spend more time trying to configure everything as it should be, or maybe ask for help at the technical forums like iX Community.

FreeNAS Recovery

If your FreeNAS device fails, namely, you can no longer get access to the data, then you can try to recover the data using ZFS recovery software - ReclaiMe Pro. ReclaiMe Pro works under the Windows operating system, so you need to disconnect the disks from the PC where FreeNAS is hosted and connect them to a PC running Windows for recovery. For connecting drives, it is preferable to use a SATA connection, since USB is less stable and generally provides lower speed.

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