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Ixsystems offers its TrueNAS range up to HCI

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Apostle of free software and in particular of OpenZFS, Ixsystems is well known for its NAS platform which was brought together under the TrueNAS brand to simplify marketing and sales efforts. Ixsystems NAS line is complemented by the M60 bay with NVMe hard drives and SSDs.

Exit FreeNAS, now at Ixsystems all NAS based on the home OS, a FreeBSD kernel while waiting to switch to Debian 11  associated with the OpenZFS 2.0 file system, are marketed with the TrueNAS umbrella, explained the Californian company in last December as part of a press point on the highlights of 2020 and the new features expected in 2021.

The FreeNAS 11.3 and TrueNAS 11.3 systems have therefore converged with TrueNAS 12.0, which is therefore available in two versions: one version Free TrueNAS Core (Community supported, Open source, Rapid development, Early availability) like FreeNAS and another called TrueNAS Enterprise which requires the purchase of a license.

A major release for Ixsystems, TrueNAS 12.0 brings native encryption with ZFS, dual authentication with Google Authenficator for example, support for the KMIP protocol (to store and retrieve passwords and encryption keys), and improved performance. According to Ixsystems, TrueNAS 12.0 is up to 30% faster than the previous version thanks to better management of hard drive and SSD arrays in RAID mode.

To meet the performance needs of users, Ixsystems also supports NVMe drives and allows the creation of all-flash subsets Fusion Pools which store metadata and certain blocks to support the work of hard drives. All TrueNAS can be configured with TrueNAS API v2.0 and now supports keys for the remote access. However, version 1.0 of this API is no longer supported. Finally, the OpenVPN protocol is supported as both client and server to provide VPN services.

The M60 strengthens the range
To support its TrueNAS 12.0 OS, Ixsystems has beefed up its file servers with the M60 NAS in particular, which replaces the M50 (two Xeon controllers with 40 cores) launched in April. 2018. The M60 accommodates two Xeon controllers, for up to 64 cores, with eight 100GbE ports, 1.5TB of RAM, up to 32 NVDimms and 4 SS NVMe. The storage capacity goes up to 20 PB raw (4 PB of flash) with one million IOPS (against 800,000 IOPS for the M50) and a bandwidth of 20 Gb/s. Enough to power nearly 10,000 VMs or a hundred SMS/NFS clients.

At the entry level, intended for small businesses and power users, Ixsystems positions its TrueNAS Mini X and X+ which compete with solutions from Asustor, Qnap and Synology. Hybrid or full-flash, the Mini arrive with 10 GbE links, eight cores and 16 to 64 GB of RAM. Count a maximum of 85 TB in rotary mode and 50 TB in full flash. High-end configurations for this niche, but the 10GbE interface has become a necessary evil when you approach these storage capacities.

A Linux-based HCI system
Last announcement from Ixsystems, the arrival on the market of hyperconvergence with its TrueNAS Scale solution (with a Debian Linux kernel instead of FreeBSD) with one or two nodes. The supplier offers a dedicated system for the x86 platform capable of acting as a private cloud and hosting KVM VMs, containers (Docker and K8) with a link to S3 compatible object storage platforms like Minio and an incremental backup to AWS, Azure, GCP or Backblaze.

TrueNAS Scale arrives in a fast growing market which is witnessing a merciless battle between Dell / VMware on one side and Nutanix on the other. Faced with these more complete - and complex - solutions Ixsystems may have a card to play with with its greater simplicity, but a more limited scope with the sole support of KVM.

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