Back Up Plugins and Jails on FreeNAS


May 22, 2019

For years, FreeNAS has offered functionality expansion through premade plugins and jails. In Version 11.2, the management platform was updated to make it even easier to manage and create new plugins.
FreeNAS users can treat their NAS as a server. Advanced services running on top of the ultra-secure ZFS file system allow streaming and managing media, running a website,  and even handling surveillance. As usage becomes more versatile and valuable, protecting plugins and jails becomes even more important. Luckily, FreeNAS makes it easy with the ZFS file system.
Plugins and jails are stored in the iocage dataset, which is created automatically when the first plugin or jail is installed. Users can create snapshots of the entire dataset or sub-directories of individual plugins and jails. If an issue occurs, the user can roll back a jail to a previous state.

Going a step further, snapshots can also be replicated to other FreeNAS or TrueNAS systems to aid with disaster recovery and data protection. If there are replacements or upgrades to the hardware, these images and their data can be moved over to new systems with ease.

Creating Snapshots:
Go to Storage -> Pools in the FreeNAS web interface and locate the iocage dataset.
Open the options menu (three dots) and select Create Snapshot. Enter a name and click CREATE SNAPSHOT. Snapshots can be regularly taken after a defined amount of time by going to Tasks -> Periodic Snapshots and selecting the appropriate dataset.

To test or rollback the iocage dataset, go to Storage -> Snapshots, find the snapshot to recover, and click Rollback.

This graphic demonstrates the effectiveness of rolling back a dataset. A snapshot of Storage/iocage/jails/FAMP is created. Text file test.txt is then added to the jail. After rolling back the dataset to the snapshot image, test.txt is gone.

This overview demonstrates how effectively FreeNAS protects jails and plugins with snapshots. Using snapshots and replication preserves your valuable data and can save you many hours of recovery time.
For more tips on using FreeNAS, go to our forums and iX University. Jails and Plugins are also coming to TrueNAS in version 11.3. If your organization is looking for a specific deployment with enterprise grade support, please contact us.

Share On Social: