The FreeNAS server consists of three, 4TB drives in a ZFS filesystem which is similar to a raid 5 setup. This gives a total useable storage size of around 7TB and allows for redundancy with one drive able to fail and data still recoverable. I will go though some basic steps of how to use the share and set it to backup your home folder on linux.

  • Make sure you have an account on the FreeNAS server
    • I will be able to setup your account on the server if you’re in the research group
  • Make sure you can connect to the server
    • In our case the server has two IP addresses on the network and
    • To check if you can connect:
ping -c 3
  • Now make sure you have the required packeges to mount network drives
    • cifs or nfs should work but I will be using cifs for the tutorial. To change to nfs just replace any part that says cifs with nfs.
sudo apt-get install cifs-utils smbfs
  • Make a credentials file in your home directory
    • This file is going to store your username and password so we’re going to make sure it has the proper security so that it is not readable by everyone.
    • Make a file called .smbcredentials in your home folder ~/.
    • Place this in the file replacing name with the username you setup on the FreeNAS server and **** with the password.
  • Change the owner and permissions on the credentials file.
sudo chown root .smbcredentials
sudo chmod 600 .smbcredentials
  • Now make a folder to mount the FreeNAS server to. Replace username with the username on your system. If you don’t know you can check it with the whoami command.
sudo mkdir /mnt/FreeNAS
sudo chown -R username:username /mnt/FreeNAS
  • Find your user id and group id using the id command. In most cases if you were the first user on the system they both should be 1000 but it’s still a good idea to check.
uid=1000(username) gid=1000(username) .....
  • As the root user edit /etc/fstab and add this line to the end of the file. Make sure to replace user with your username and userid and groupid with the id’s found in the pervious step.
// /mnt/FreeNAS cifs credentials=/home/user/.smbcredentials,isocharset=utf8,sec=ntml,uid=userid,gid=groupid 0 0 0
  • Now check to see if eveything mounts correctly:
sudo mount -a 

Now your computer should have the FreeNAS server mounted as a drive on your computer in the folder /mnt/FreeNAS you should be able to look into that directory and find a directory with your name where you can place anything you would like to backup. The next step will be to setup an automatic backup using rsync.

  • Create a file called and place the following inside of it making sure to change the username and ShareName to your match your name.
    • At a minimum you should exclude .ssh and .smbcredentials since these contain sensative information.
    • Make sure to add any other folders that may include sensative information.
    • This storage is mainly for your personal files so it is advised to exclude any folder with large amounts of raw data which is backed up in other locations.
rsync -av --exclude='.ssh' --exclude=".smbcredentials" --exclude='Downloads' --exclude='Desktop' /home/username /mnt/FreeNAS/ShareName
  • You can then move this file to the proper location and create a cronjob so that the script runs every hour during the workday.
sudo mv /usr/local/sbin/
crontab -e 
  • Add the following to the end of your crontab file.
0 8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19 * * * /usr/local/sbin/

If all these steps worked then your computer should backup your home folder everyday of the week from 8am-7pm. You can change this by editing the time you added to your crontab file.