I started looking at - Is FreeNAS reliable? I would have taken issue with TV10's comment : "longer than a UPS would handle it" (but I don't yet have a rating high enough to do so).

I am running a trial for this with a laptop (with 2GB mem) running FreeNAS with a USB powered 500GB drive - the laptop gives me some UPS type support, but I lost my zfs disk when FreeNAS hung on a shutdown - the fora all say I need 8GB memory to run ZFS reliably, so I am now using UFS for now.

I am looking to buy a small FSP UPS and add memory to my office sever PC (running Ubuntu), but run FreeNAS in a Virtualbox VM - with scripts triggered by the UPS (via "Network UPS Tools" (NUT)) to shutdown FreeNAS and then the host PC. So the UPS just needs to keep it all up long enough for a clean shutdown... FreeNAS will give me the NAS function, which will synced overnight with disk on the host server, and backed up from there. I want to run some other functions on the host, and would rather not have to go that in jails on a host FreeNAS.

I plan on committing 8GB mem to the VM, with about 2TB zfs disk/s (maybe with raid-1).

Has anyone advice setting this up?

  • I accept that VirtualBox is an overhead, and complexity, that I do not need to add.
    • I do not fully accept that VirtualBox iself is a problem though, as I have used it for some time without issue (even recovering a Windows VM from a backup VDI file, when Windows caused a corruption...) - but that was not my main question here.
  • I also accept that I can add Network UPS Tools (NUT) and Samba to my base Ubuntu system to acheive the NAS results I desire.
  • An ext4 filesystem may be ok, but ZFS on Ubuntu is work me looking at for snapshots and software RAID options.

Thank you all for your input, Ian .

  • 4
    VirtualBox? Are you serious? Mar 2, 2014 at 18:17
  • Whilst Oracle declares VB to be Enterprise ready I wouldn't be using it for anything like this. We're also not convinced about it's topicality here.
    – user9517
    Mar 2, 2014 at 18:23
  • 6
    FreeNAS...inside virtualbox...using a USB drive for storage? Yeah...that's not likely to work so great. What functionality are you trying to get from FreeNAS that you can't do with the ubuntu host? Depending on what you are trying to do there are probably better ways to achieve it.
    – Grant
    Mar 2, 2014 at 18:41
  • The USB drive was just a prototype - that lasted a few minutes...
    – irdroid3
    Mar 2, 2014 at 18:46
  • 3
    The point is, desktop-grade Type 2 virtualization (which VirtualBox is even in its supposedly enterprise "headless" mode) is not well suited for running services meant to be even halfway reliable. Sure you can use it for prototyping, development, etc., but it's absolutely not what you want to run in production, unless you like data loss for some reason... Mar 3, 2014 at 0:27

1 Answer 1


Adding a layer of FreeNAS inside of VirtualBox will not make your configuration more reliable, given your reason for not wanting to use Ubuntu.

With regard to UPS functions, I prefer to keep them as close to bare-metal as possible. In this case, your Ubuntu host system should handle that. In reality, I don't bother with UPS integration much anymore, since it's easy to plan for the requisite runtime with today's batteries (plenty of opportunity to manually halt systems).

  • Does your area have a history of unstable power?
  • How much runtime do you need?
  • Are other things in the network battery-protected?

The rest of the configuration sounds unnecessarily complex. If you have RAID on your local server's disks, it makes sense to just use those without the overhead of virtualization and the complications of ZFS (doing ZFS the right way requires planning). The proposed plan sounds less stable/reliable and will perform worse than just extending the functions on Ubuntu.

  • I agree with the UPS near bare metal. No, nothing else is UPSed at the moment. I will look at what to add to Ubuntu to do the NAS work. Cheers, Ian
    – irdroid3
    Mar 2, 2014 at 23:24
  • @irdroid3 I'll add that ZFS can run on Ubuntu now.... That could be an option as well.
    – ewwhite
    Mar 2, 2014 at 23:27
  • @ewwwhite - thank you - I will prob stick with ext4 on Ubuntu, but there ARE loads of items on "ext4 V zfs" here, and on phoronix.com/forums
    – irdroid3
    Mar 3, 2014 at 11:20
  • I am now inclined to look at Ubuntu with Samba, and maybe zfs (for snapshots and software raid).
    – irdroid3
    Mar 3, 2014 at 12:00
  • one last point : I want the UPS setup to run 24x7 (ok, I don't expect that amount of uptime in reality) - and to be able to auto-shutdown safely in the case of a power loss. I am quite happy to re-start it manually though.
    – irdroid3
    Mar 3, 2014 at 12:35

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