October #MissionComplete Best Stories


November 10, 2015

We received so many great #MissionComplete stories that we had no choice but to declare a tie for October’s best! Congratulations to Justin and Todd who will receive Amazon Gift Cards and FreeNAS t-shirts for their accounts of their successful missions.
The first $50 Amazon Gift Card and FreeNAS T-shirt goes to Justin Vare:
“When it comes to data integrity, security, and dependability in storage, FreeNAS has no competition”
Well first off I’ve been a FreeNAS user since version 0.6 Beta which was by now many years ago. The company at which I employed my first and many subsequent FreeNAS servers is a Compact Disc manufacturer, so data integrity and reliability are the foremost consideration, and in close to 10 years I’ve never found a FreeNAS Server to be the cause of a data error. This feat is really impressive when you consider that we’re talking about nearly half a million orders with data sets anywhere from 700 Megabytes to 50 Gigabytes in size for CD’s, DVD’s, and Blu-Ray’s. All of our data is verified to the original source for a given order at bit-level, and not once has FreeNAS ever been the cause of a data verification failure.
FreeNAS is so rock solid that if I had to go on a mission to Mars, all vital systems better be backed-up, running from, or both from a FreeNAS server before I’ll put my stock in it. My first attempt with FreeNAS was brought on by the failure of a Windows server appliance and that coincidentally was also the last time I’ve ever deployed a Windows-based data storage appliance. Sure I still use Windows servers for terminal sessions, SQL, DNS, domain servers and many other uses but when it comes to data integrity, security, and dependability in storage, FreeNAS has no competition.
I’ve seen some servers working for close to 800 days of up-time without any hiccups at all, and then just kept on working until a power outage finally stopped the system. Frankly I’ve never seen that kind of performance out of any other system software ever. FreeNAS is definitely built to last.

The second $50 Amazon Gift Card and FreeNAS T-shirt goes to Todd Russell:
“Thanks for not holding anything back in giving it away free so that people like me can use it at home and to help others.”
FreeNAS all the things!
That’s basically our story here at Saint Joseph Abbey and Seminary College. We are a small college, with just under 140 students, and are attached to a monastery with less than 30 monks on site. After you add staff and faculty, we still end up with a fair number of machines to support, but we remain small enough that we can function as a small business. That gives us the flexibility to use the solutions we want to use in a lot of situations rather than always being stuck with “industry standards” a.k.a. millstones around our necks.
Over the past year or so, I have migrated all our file sharing, backups, and internal web hosting to four FreeNAS servers, one of which was newly purchased from iXsystems. All of this was previously hosted on Debian Linux systems and a lowly Western Digital MyDrive.
I am a big fan of rsync, and our needs are simple, so we use the following for all our backups on campus:
Each client and server rsync important files to both our primary and secondary FreeNAS servers each night. Anything running a real operating system uses its native rsync client. The Windows machines use DeltaCopy. They all run with the –delete option to be sure the backups are a mirror of current state. In the morning, the primary FreeNAS then rsyncs its backup collection to the third FreeNAS server using the backup-dir option to create date-separated archives of every file that got deleted from the primary backups overnight. This makes it really easy for us to go back and grab deleted copies of files if someone realizes they made a mistake after they have already backed up a bad file or deleted one accidentally. And yes, we do have snapshots on both backup servers, but those are last resort since this method is fastest for us.
Our primary FreeNAS server also hosts all of our CIFS shares for faculty and staff. The fourth FreeNAS server hosts CIFS shares for the students to keep them isolated from our primary server. Our internal website is hosted on the second FreeNAS server inside a jail that runs Apache, MySQL, and PHP.
This setup has been great for us and turned me into a promoter of FreeNAS to others. I am also using it at home and at my local church for file sharing and, you guessed it, rsync backups.
The best part of using FreeNAS is that my coworker, who is primarily a Windows guy with limited experience supporting Linux or Unix, can now create and manage shares and rsync profiles without having to ask me to do it for him every time. This also creates a lot of peace of mind for the old “hit by a bus” scenario, as I know that he would be able to keep the place running if something happened to me.
Thanks for all the work you do maintaining this amazing project, and for not holding anything back in giving it away free so that people like me can use it at home and to help others that can’t afford enterprise storage solutions.
Todd Russell
Saint Joseph Abbey and Seminary College
Thank you Justin and Todd for your stories!
Good luck on your next mission and keep your stories coming!

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