How to configure a VMware virtual machine for FreeNAS installation

A NAS (Network Attached Storage) server has the ability to provide a central storage system for all your files in one place. If you are a home user and have thought about having a central repository for all your data needs, then you might want to think about a NAS solution. In this article we will show you how to prepare a virtual machine that can host one such free NAS appliance called FreeNAS. In subsequent articles we will show you how to configure the appliance itself. A Virtual Machine for FreeNAS is a great place to get your feet wet and gain some experience before you implement a full blown NAS box.





A NAS device can comprise of cheap SATA or SCSI disks and it can be capable of providing access through many popular protocols both for Windows and *nix environments, commonly available protocols are CIFS, NFS and FTP. The most common access protocol from within Windows is CIFS and from the Unix side, its NFS. Other protocols such as FTP and HTTP are also available and platform independent

The FreeNAS appliance is a free open source product that has a great potential. It can be configured to provide many advance features such as redundancy, fault tolerance and advanced reporting. In this segment we will only get you started on how to prepare a virtual machine on VMWare server, where you will install the FreeNAS appliance later.To proceed we will assume, you are already familiar with VMWare virtual server and have already got it installed

You can learn more about the features, capabilities and benefits of the FreeNAS appliance by visiting



- Launch VMWare server and Click File -> New -> Virtual Machine


Step 2:

- Select next on the wizard


Step 3:

- Choose Typical and click next


Step 4:

- Choose other, then choose freebsd from the drop down box and click next


Step 5:

- Provide a name for your virtual machine (eg; FreeNAST1) and provide a location



- Choose type of networking, bridged is default and works fine


Step 7:

- Choose the disk capacity, 8 GB for a test appliance is sufficient, choose "allocate now" click Finish


Step 8:

- Click on Virtual Machine settings


Step 9:

- Configure the CD ROM to connect at boot and use an ISO image. This iso image is what you would have downloaded from the FreeNAS website to install FreeNAS. Its available from the download page at:, choose the one that does not say "For VMWARE"

Your virtual machine is now ready for installing FreeNAS.

User & Password of FreeNAS 8

Hi, i have install FreeNAS 8 in vmware and accessing NAS through http://ip of NAS it is asking for User and Password. can any help me that what will be the User and Password.

Try username as admin and

Try username as admin and password as freenas on FreeNAS8. Thats the system default from factory. Good Luck!

is it possible to run the vm

is it possible to run the vm as a full blown nas box. i mean hooking up a couple of hard diss in my desktop computer, create the freenas vm and actually have the vm control those disks in a raid array?

how to config CHAP for

how to config CHAP for iSCSI??


Absolutely, its possible to run the Virtual machine as a Full NAS box. A lot of folks impliment this as the backup for the NASBox is as easy as maintaining a replica of a whole VM at another machine or even on a DVD. The VMs are portable, so you can take your FULL NAS box anywhwere on a USB stick if you want to. 

Regarding your specific questions of having the Hard Disks in your box talk to your VM NAS, yes its possible. You need to create SCSI or IDE virtual disk in VMWare to use your physical hard drives, and yes, if you have enough virtual disks, you can definitiely put the in a RAID configuration (software or even hardware), depending on what RAID set (0, 1, 5, 6, 10 etc) you want to achieve.



about that full nas vm

wouldn't the fact that the main desktop computer can directly write to the hard disks 'controlled' by the vm cause a problem? different file systems etc.. e.g. i hook up 2 additional 500gb hd on my main desktop pc running linux and control these 2 using a vm running freenas with software raid, then linux will see the 2 hd and use ext4 directly on them while freenas will use zfs, i guess when i communicate with the hd via the vm network drive it will be ok, but what if i were to copy a file directly to the hd on the pc? thanks for the cool article cheers and happy new year!

wouldn't the fact that the

wouldn't the fact that the main desktop computer can directly write to the hard disks 'controlled' by the vm cause a problem? No. virtualization adds a layer so it will store virtual disks as files, or set up raw device mapping. i guess when i communicate with the hd via the vm network drive it will be ok, but what if i were to copy a file directly to the hd on the pc? I do not understand this. as per the previous answer, the vdisks are stored as files on the ext4 file system, then these files are presented to the vm as disks.. so you can write more files on your ext4 partitions.. with no impact to the vm...

Thanks for the discussion

Your queries and replies answered my query. I want to run Freenas on VMware on my XP desktop; don't want to have a separate box, just use my available desktop. Your answers point that it is possible to have a virtual freenas using vmware, freenas and xp.

You are Welcome, I am glad to

You are Welcome, I am glad to be of help. A virtual machine is a perfect way of testing out a NAS appliance before you bring it onto a large production environment. Because FreeNAS has a very small foot print, you can use it as a virtual environment without any performance penalties