The FreeNAS developers have released the first point update toFreeNAS 8.3, which introduced version 28 of the ZFS filesystem and FreeBSD 8.3. FreeNAS 8.3.1 introduces the ability to set up full disk encryption on ZFS volumes and several other smaller improvements. FreeNAS is a FreeBSD-based Network Attached Storage (NAS) distribution that enables users to easily set up and control their own storage and file servers.
FreeNAS 8.3.1 uses FreeBSD’s GELI tool to implement ZFS full disk encryption and will make use of hardware acceleration for this purpose where available. According to the developers, “this type of encryption is primarily targeted at users who store sensitive data and want to retain the ability to remove disks from the pool without having to first wipe the disk’s contents”. The FreeNAS wiki includes a section on ZFS encryption to help users decide which method of encryption is best for them. The FreeNAS developers ask users to consult the documentation about the encryption features they are about to use, before encrypting data, as mistakes can mean that users are left with an encrypted volume that is protected by strong AES 256 encryption without a means to access it.
Aside from the full disk encryption features, the new version of FreeNAS also includes other improvements to encrypted ZFS in general and several improvements of the distribution’s web interface. Some new hardware support was added as well. A complete list of changes is available on the FreeNAS wiki. The distribution is available to downloadfor 32- and 64-bit systems. FreeNAS is released under the BSD licence and development is sponsored by iXsystems.