In these notes I write the FreeNAS ISO to USB and use it to install FreeNAS onto an HP Proliant Microserver; the server has four 3.5" SATA HDDs which will be configured as RAID, and one USB stick which will house the FreeNAS operating system. (FreeNAS cannot be installed on its own storage volumes).
Create the bootable FreeNAS USB §
Using dd §
My attempts at using
dd to write the FreeNAS USB to ISO were unsuccessful. In all cases the server would boot from the USB, but it would print only the following and then hang forever:
ISOLINUX 6.03 20151222 EHDD Copyright (C) 1994-2014 H. Peter Anvin et al
dd commands I attempted for writing the ISO to USB were:
$ dd if=FreeNAS-11.1-U5.iso of=/dev/sdb1 bs=4MB status=progress oflag=sync
$ dd if=FreeNAS-11.1-U5.iso of=/dev/sdb1 bs=64k
Searching online I found this can indicate a problem with how the ISO has been written to the USB.
Using Rufus §
As a workaround, I switched to a Windows laptop and tried using Rufus. Using the defaults, I wrote the ISO, and the server booted from the USB with no problem! I’m not sure what I was doing wrong with
Installing FreeNAS §
I won’t go onto detail on installing FreeNAS because there is much information already online. The only problem I had was mistakenly choosing UEFI for boot, which it turned out my server does not support. I simply ran the installation again and selected BIOS and it worked fine.
In my case, the server has an internal USB port which is where I put the USB which FreeNAS has been installed to.
Once the installation was complete, I was presented with the FreeNAS menu which warned me that the web interface could not be accessed:
1) Configure Network Interfaces 2) Configure Link Aggregation 3) Configure VLAN Interface 4) Configure Default Route 5) Configure Static Routes 6) Configure DNS 7) Reset Root Password 8) Reset Configuration to Defaults 9) Shell 10) Reboot 11) Shut Down The web interface could not be accessed. Please check network configuration. Enter an option from 1-11:
To fix this, I selected “Configure Network Interfaces” and choose DHCP (which isn’t the default option), since all addresses on my home network are DHCP assigned currently. After this the error went away, and I could access the FreeNAS UI in the browser using the DHCP assigned IP address and the root user which was created during the installation.
Initial setup §
Logging into FreeNAS for the first time I ran through the Wizard which was helpful in setting everything up. I configured the 4 HDDs in RAIDZ2, created a volume named “storage”, and assigned the static address 192.168.0.2 to the FreeNAS box instead of using DHCP. My ISP supplied router assigns DHCP IP addresses in the 192.168.0.10 to 254 range, so I chose 192.168.0.2 as it is outside the range.
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