Hi, in this brief guide I will try to cover some basic information about XigmaNAS Full RootOnZFS Platform setup, but first, what is or why XigmaNAS RootOnZFS Platform?
As many users already know, XigmaNAS preferred installation method is to be installed as an Embedded Platform device(e.g. like modems, routers or at least it's mimics it), this meant that select advanced/experienced users will be unable to freely modify/customize their system, such adding additional packages, fixing bugs on-the-fly or to make any customization to survive during system reboot, this makes the Embedded Platform quite hard and in some cases just impossible to customize, and most of the attempts are notorious workarounds and hacks with partial functionality rendering their Embedded installation into an not so elegant hard to work/maintain environment, not to mention that Embedded users need to wait for new releases to patch critical bugs.
Additionally while many of the extra functionality is already provided by external community driven extensions, not all of them can be created/developed simply due size, complex directory structures, hard to keep updated etc., this is where a native “Full” installation can solve all of this issues.
Unlike XigmaNAS Full running on the Legacy UFS file system, XigmaNAS Full RootOnZFS runs on The Z File System (ZFS) which boats lots of Enterprise features that HOME/SOHO environments can benefit as well, protecting the data from Data degradation/disk bitrot and data lost/corruption thanks to ZFS Checksums and Snapshots plus much more, this meant that the OS data will always be protected, even if you manage to break it while customizing, you can always easily rollback from a previous working Boot Environment or even switch between them like a time slider.
Here are some of the XigmaNAS Full RootOnZFS features and abilities:
- Can be installed on one or more drives.
Firmware Upgrades from the WebGUI with the .TXZ official files available at SF.
Can be installed on virtually all ZFS raid levels for flexibility and desired redundancy.
OS Memory usage efficiency, more free RAM for the ZFS ARC.
Previous kernels retrieval upon system upgrades, selectable at boot time.
Support for UEFI install option for modern hardware and VM's.
Support for MBR install option for legacy but capable hardware.
Support for disks and swap Full GELI encryption options(available on 12.x and later).
Support for Boot Environments at OS level and from boot loader for convenience.
Support for System OS compression, Installation almost halved in space to save disk space.
Previous Boot Environment will be left intact after each Firmware upgrades(running environment is never affected).
User can properly apply bug fixes and patches early/permanently, no more postinit workarounds to replace files.
User ability to rollback to a previous working Boot Environment from OS or at boot time at any time.
User can make new Boot Environments and reboot into it to make system wide changes/tests for convenience.
User can delete, rename, clone, mount, backup, restore etc. etc. Boot Environments for convenience.
User can add, edit, modify to XigmaNAS Full with peace of mind thanks to Boot Environments/Snapshots.
User can Export/Import boot environments, useful for move between systems(third party addons available).
Easy running system disaster recovery by Importing from latest Boot Environment backup file.
Optional Boot Environments GUI Manager can be found HERE
Optional Boot Environments CLI/TUI Manager Tool can be found HERE
An introduction to Boot Environments by Sławomir Wojciech Wojtczak(vermaden).
ZFS Powered Magic Upgrades by Allan Jude.
While I could stay talking about the wonders of the ZFS and/or XigmaNAS RootOnZFS, I don't want to make a text wall nor overwhelm the users, so I will jump now on the basic installation information and some options explanations:
Installing XigmaNAS Full RootOnZFS (Last updated 04-06-2020)
After booting the XigmaNAS LiveMedia, the following screen will appears, just select Option #9 to start the installer menu.
After pressing option #9, the following screen will appears, select Option #6 to launch the advanced RootOnZFS installer options.
After pressing Option #6, the following screen will appears, here is where you will select the redundancy level for your installation, the options are as follow:
1: Stripe, select this option to install XigmaNAS to just one disk,(no redundancy), note that you can install to more drives in Striped as well but is not practical.
2: Mirror, this is the most common installation option for most servers, where redundancy, reliability and performance is required, requires a minimum of two drives.
3 RAID10(ZFS Striped Mirror) Like Mirror, this also provides redundancy, reliability and performance, but requires a minimum of four drives.
4: RAIDZ1, this option install XigmaNAS in a RAID5 like scheme, and can withstand the lost of a single drive, this options is for advanced/specific use cases.
5: RAIDZ2, this option install XigmaNAS in a RAID6 like scheme, and can withstand the lost of two drives simultaneously, this options is for advanced/specific use cases.
6: RAIDZ3, this option install XigmaNAS in a RAID7 like capable to withstand the lost of three drives simultaneously, this options is for advanced/specific use cases.
In the above screen, you can select “one” or “more” drives for the XigmaNAS installation regarding your redundancy level selection from the previous screen.
In the above screen, you can explicitly tell the installer how much swap you want for your installation, note that you can specify K,M,G suffixes here, but you will probably be ok with the defaults here, or simply leave the field empty to disable swap completely(strongly discouraged).
In the above screen, you can select between a Mirrored swap or multiple swaps devices, if you select “Multiple System Swap”, any swap devices will be appended to the system “/etc/fstab” and you will see all swap devices in the XigmaNAS index page, if you select the default “Mirrored System Swap” the installer will create a geom swap mirror for redundancy, and you will see one mirrored swap device in the XigmaNAS index page, note that all install options supports either mirrored or multiple swap devices.
In the above screen, you can select to customize the size of the zroot partition, usually only advanced users will click yes here, one possible use case could be if the user want to use the install SSD for both the OS and ZFS L2ARC as well, note that you can also specify K,M,G suffixes later wen entering the desired size.
In the above screen, you can select here to create an optional user Dataset for additional/non critical storage such extensions etc., the default dataset path will be "/mnt/dataset_name", one possible use case could be for running Extensions/Jails from there to avoid constant ZFS pool array disk activity.
In the above screen, you can select between GPT/BIOS, GPT/BIOS+UEFI or MBR system boot methods, note that if you don’t know if your system is UEFI compliant, you will probably be ok with the defaults here since the default option(BIOS+UEFI) should support either systems, modern and current systems supporting the latest UEFI technology.
In the above screen, it is self explanatory, and meant to be used by advanced users only, however Swap Encryption can be used by anyone.
In the above screen, it is self explanatory, this will let you know what drives will be formatted before continuing with the installation.
In the above screen, you will see the installation progress for informational purposes.
In the above screen, you will see the completion message after install success, now you can click ok, remove LiveMedia and reboot.
If you see the above screen, congratulations you just correctly installed XigmaNAS Full RootOnZFS!