GUI is missing "volumes" screen

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deeirl

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I've just started experimenting with FreeNAS on my workstation with a view to seeing if it is suitable for my needs. The workstation is a HP Z420 - if I can get FreeNAS to work I have a source of cheap Z420s that I can use to create a dedicated system.

Everything boots up fine, and I can access the GUI with no problems. However the instructions tell me that the first thing I need to do is to go to "Storage ... Volumes" and click on "Volume Manager" in order to let FreeNAS use the 2 x 500GB test disks I've installed, and that it has successfully detected.

The problem is there is no menu item "Volumes" anywhere that I can see! Not under "Storage", nor anywhere else.

Comparing my experience with an on-line video tutorial, the only difference I can see is that I wasn't presented with an initial configuration wizard.

Formatting the disks (deleting all partitions on them) makes no difference.

Not the best start to my FreeNAS adventures... I really want this to work, as I've lost about 5TB of data to someone's proprietary RAID data format... :(
 
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Volumes don't exist until you create them. Do you see the disks if you go to Storage -> View Disks? You can also manually invoke the wizard from the GUI.
 

deeirl

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Thanks for the responses.

The version is FreeNAS-11.2-BETA2 (Build Date: Aug 1, 2018 17:7) - I want to be able to use plugins, jails etc, and this seemed to be the correct version.

I can't find where to run the wizard from on the GUI?

Yes the disks are on Storage -> View Disks.

Screenshot attached.
 

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danb35

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The version is FreeNAS-11.2-BETA2 (Build Date: Aug 1, 2018 17:7) - I want to be able to use plugins, jails etc, and this seemed to be the correct version.
Yeah, iX is pretty misleading about that--you can use jails and plugins with 11.1 as well, and it isn't a beta. But that's why you aren't seeing the volumes screen; 11.2 introduces a new GUI as default, which changes a lot of things. You can either go back to the legacy GUI by browsing to http://freenas_ip/legacy, or use the manual for 11.2, which should match the new GUI.
I can't find where to run the wizard from on the GUI?
The wizard has been mercifully removed from the new GUI.

To your original question, you'd want to go to "Pools" to set up your pool in the new GUI.
 

deeirl

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Decided to downgrade to 11.1 - that fixed the problem. I can even boot off a Micro SD card! Now the fun starts! :)

Thanks.
 

danb35

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I can even boot off a Micro SD card!
You can, but it's strongly discouraged--SD cards are even worse for repeated read/write cycles than USB sticks, and we've seen lots of trouble with those.
 

deeirl

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You can, but it's strongly discouraged--SD cards are even worse for repeated read/write cycles than USB sticks, and we've seen lots of trouble with those.
Thanks for the heads-up.

I would have thought the boot medium would only be read at bootup and when it's being scrubbed, and would only be written to when I make configuration changes??? Are log files also written to the boot medium???

I was thinking I'd maintain 3 or 4 copies of the boot disk on various SD cards and USB sticks, due to the convenience and the lack of having to dedicate relatively scarce SATA ports. I'll think about it further...
 

danb35

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I would have thought the boot medium would only be read at bootup and when it's being scrubbed,
Long ago (i.e., in 9.2.x and earlier), the OS was read into a RAMdisk on boot, and the boot device was only touched in the case of config changes. Starting with 9.3, it's a live ZFS pool. Most of the OS will live in RAM most of the time due to ZFS caching, but the OS is still run directly from the device. Starting with that release, we've seen a lot more USB sticks die, and SD cards are less durable yet.
Are log files also written to the boot medium?
Not by default--they're put on the .system dataset, whose location is configurable, but defaults to the first data pool you create in the GUI.
 

deeirl

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Long ago (i.e., in 9.2.x and earlier), the OS was read into a RAMdisk on boot, and the boot device was only touched in the case of config changes. Starting with 9.3, it's a live ZFS pool. Most of the OS will live in RAM most of the time due to ZFS caching, but the OS is still run directly from the device. Starting with that release, we've seen a lot more USB sticks die, and SD cards are less durable yet.
Dang! That's the second time I've learned of a version upgrade which decreased performance. And I'm still on day 1!

Time to look at external USB SSDs. Either that or plan B - a custom build - and I've never built a PC before.

Thanks.
 

danb35

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That's the second time I've learned of a version upgrade which decreased performance.
There are lots of benefits that come from using a live ZFS pool on the boot device--the ability to scrub it and to store boot environments are two of the biggest. But it also is more demanding on the boot device.
 

deeirl

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There are lots of benefits that come from using a live ZFS pool on the boot device--the ability to scrub it and to store boot environments are two of the biggest.
Agreed.

I didn't realise that the ram disk is no longer used - it's something I read a while back, and I thought it was a great idea. Your OS and boot configuration is very, very precious, and the media those things are stored on needs to be protected.

When I saw that the boot disk was ZFS, I guess I had (possibly stupidly) thought that writes to the boot disk were strictly controlled, which would enable a ram disk to be used to keep things running while also making sure that the information on the boot disk was always up-to-date.
 

danb35

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Your OS and boot configuration is very, very precious, and the media those things are stored on needs to be protected.
Except that they really aren't. The configuration is backed up daily onto the pool, so dealing with boot device failure looks like:
  • Do a fresh install of FreeNAS to a new boot device
  • Upload a saved copy of the config file
  • ???
  • Profit!
Boot device failure isn't exactly a non-event, but it isn't a major event either.
 

deeirl

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Boot device failure isn't exactly a non-event, but it isn't a major event either.
OK - faith restored. I had thought that boot device failure would lead to either a complete re-install and reconfiguration, or finding a backup copy and using that. (Every other OS I deal with works that way). If FreeNAS is intelligent enough to use its own boot backup then that makes a boot device failure a lot less of a problem, as you say.

High availability isn't that important to me - data integrity is. So I think I'll chance USB sticks.

Now to start pricing some UPSes... I've been known to trip my own circuit breaker, and I can't have that destroy all my data!
 

wblock

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Time to look at external USB SSDs.
It looked like the hard drives were only using two SATA ports, so an internal SATA SSD would be very nice, and much more reliable.
 

deeirl

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It looked like the hard drives were only using two SATA ports, so an internal SATA SSD would be very nice, and much more reliable.
Yes, though that's my test and evaluation setup. My real setup will have at least 5, maybe 6, drives - haven't fully decided yet (as I'm still in evaluation mode!). If I go with 5 then I might put in an SSD, otherwise I'll pepper the box with USB sticks.

Just completed the UPS research. Ordering done - evaluation to follow :)

Thanks.
 

Ericloewe

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If FreeNAS is intelligent enough to use its own boot backup
Well, not to use it, that's work in progress, but the backups are there if there's an emergency. You should also keep copies on the clients, to make things easier.
 

deeirl

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Well, not to use it, that's work in progress, but the backups are there if there's an emergency. You should also keep copies on the clients, to make things easier.
So if the boot drive were to fail, and if for some reason I hadn't any confidence in any external copy I had of it, would a brand new boot disk created via the downloaded iso file give me access to my pool and the backup contained therein?
 

Ericloewe

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All you need is the config backup, and why would you not have any confidence in it? If you're rightfully paranoid, just keep the checksum for the file.

And yes, your data is accessible even without the config file. Unless you're using encryption and don't have the keys backed up, but the config file won't help you there either.
 
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