Skip to main content

iXsystems FreeNAS Mini Goes XL With 8-Bay Model

The fastest NAS we've ever tested, the iXsystems FreeNAS Mini, went XL with a new 8-bay model. The new iXsystems FreeNAS Mini XL cures one of our only complaints about the system--limited capacity.

The increased capacity appears to be the only change to the FreeNAS Mini XL. The two systems share the same performance specifications and feature list. You can read our review of the FreeNAS Mini here.

The system uses a powerful 8-core Intel processor running at 2.4 GHz. This is enough processing power to drive the additional disks in the ZFS environment. The new XL model retains the internal drives bays used to increase performance through ZIL and L2ARC (read and write) cache technology. iXsystems stated that the new system can support up to 48 TB of raw data depending on the RAID type used. When larger hard disk drives come to market, the figure will increase.

ProductFreeNAS Mini XL
Price$1,499.99 Diskless
CPUIntel 8-Core 2.4 GHz with AES-NI
Memory32 GB DDR3 ECC64 GB Optional
Drive Bays8 Hot Swappable
RAID LevelsRAID-Z1 (RAID 5)RAID-Z2 (RAID 6)ZFS Mirror (RAID 10)ZFS Stripe (RAID 0)
RAID EngineZFS
Network2x Gigabit Ethernet2x Ten Gigabit Ethernet (Optional)
Network ManagementDedicated RJ-45 IPMI Port(Remote Hardware Management)
Read/Write CacheRead Cache - L2ARC (Optional) Boost performance by adding a dedicated, high-performance read cache. Write Cache - ZIL (Optional) Boost performance by adding a dedicated, high-performance write cache.
Weight23.5 Pounds (Diskless)
Warranty1 Year Limited

Since our review of the FreeNAS Mini, iXsystems has made 10-gigabit Ethernet an option for this product family. The new optional feature carries over to the XL and increases the servers' bandwidth back to the network. This allows more users to utilize the system at the same time without a larger performance decrease.

iXsystems has also made improvements to the popular FreeNAS operating system since our review. The company told us that more changes are planned for the coming year, with a focus on an easier-to-manage user interface.

The new FreeNAS Mini XL ships in a number of different configurations but starts out at $1,499.99 with 32GB of ECC DDR3 system memory. Users can opt to have iXsystems install disk drives, additional Ethernet options and cache SSDs, with the price increasing along the way.

Chris Ramseyer is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware, covering Storage. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. Follow Tom's Hardware on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

  • dstarr3
    That is some expensive stuff. I feel like it'd be more cost-effective to just build a computer that functions as a NAS. I mean, I suppose it's a value for the people that want to just buy a thing that you plug in and it works, but I'd rather use my smarts and my luxury of time to save the money and build my own NAS.
    Reply
  • _Antibios
    So, are they stating it has hardwarre ZFS?(is that even a thing?) If not, why would ZFS be listed as a RAID option in the specs since it would be software dependent?
    Reply
  • _Antibios
    Nevermind, I see it is a full FreeNAS setup with OS and all
    Reply
  • firefoxx04
    More nas systems need to support zfs. In today's world, if you need that much storage and redundancy, zfs is the only good option.

    Would love to have 8 4tb drives in raidz3 with a 10gb ethernet network.
    Reply
  • firefoxx04
    I use Ubuntu 14 Lts with zfs. It's amazing. Only running 4 2tb drives in raidz1 (single parity). Performance is amazing, rock solid stable, snapshots and scrubs are fast. Just had to invest in ecc ram, which all my AMD setups support (thanks for nothing intel)
    Reply
  • Rookie_MIB
    That is some expensive stuff. I feel like it'd be more cost-effective to just build a computer that functions as a NAS. I mean, I suppose it's a value for the people that want to just buy a thing that you plug in and it works, but I'd rather use my smarts and my luxury of time to save the money and build my own NAS.

    Exactly what I did. Gigabyte B85 board, Pentium G3220, 64GB SSD for boot drive, IcyDock cage for hotswapping and 5x2TB WD drives in a 4u rackmount setup running CentOS and mdadm software RAID. Total cost (including the drives!) was under $900.00.

    Actually getting ready to get rid of it, changing over to a virtualized setup on my main rig after seeing something similar done. 3x4TB enterprise drives, icydock cage, centos, and one or two cores of my Xeon rig and I can take that other system offline with the same amount of storage space.
    Reply
  • pixelpusher220
    my luxury of time to save the money

    Everything has value and even though I can build my own PCs, I generally buy pre-made because I'd rather spend my time doing fun things :) If building and troubleshooting a setup yourself is 'fun' (and it totally can be!) then by all means have at. Some of us would rather just plug it in and use/forget it (as much as you can with a backup system!) to focus on our other interests :)
    Reply
  • pixelpusher220
    changing over to a virtualized setup on my main rig

    But then you're tied to reboots on your main rig, no? I get the idea of virtualization, but generally you want it on a server you basically never reboot right? Of course my 'main' rig is my box for everything so I reboot it relatively frequently :) Much like I don't drive around in my Ferrari, the day to day is the beat up pickup! (I wish!)
    Reply
  • turkey3_scratch
    Only a 1 year warranty? That is sour.
    Reply
  • Haravikk
    That is some expensive stuff. I feel like it'd be more cost-effective to just build a computer that functions as a NAS. I mean, I suppose it's a value for the people that want to just buy a thing that you plug in and it works, but I'd rather use my smarts and my luxury of time to save the money and build my own NAS.
    Agreed; it's not that expensive and not that hard at all to setup a NAS on decent hardware these days, and you'll have all the same access to OpenZFS etc. that these use anyway.

    It's not even as though they're the slimmest NAS units out there anyway; I have a PC case that's not a whole lot bigger and with 9 5.25" optical drive bays it's got plenty of room to install hot-swappable 3.5" drive bays into, though obviously a case designed for server use may be preferred, especially as that should be able to take a redundant power supply.

    Also, it seems like these units can only use installed disks for ZIL/L2ARC caching, and only let you assign a full disk to this purpose. Personally I prefer systems that can take much faster PCI SSD add-in modules for this purpose, and if you set everything up yourself you can actually partition the disk and use it as both ZIL and L2ARC at the same time; obviously two separate devices is preferred, but partitioning works well in many cases if you can only install one really high performance SSD.
    Reply