Using new FreeNAS Corral Peering to replicate ZFS datasets between two FreeNAS systems

Freenas Corral Rep2
Freenas Corral Rep2

Now that the fanfare and clamor of FreeNAS Corral has hit I thought it may be beneficial to cover the process of replicating ZFS datasets using two FreeNAS Corral storage platforms/systems.  The following steps and accompanying screenshots cover the end-to-end process of settings up successful replication between a source FreeNAS Corral and destination FreeNAS Corral system. For this guide, we are going to use the new FreeNAS Corral Peering screens. This type of configuration would typically be targeted at a couple of different protection scenario’s: Intra-site (LAN) replication and Inter-site (local/remote) where you would want to replicate or backup ZFS datasets. Luckily, FreeNAS makes this extremely easy to accomplish.

Using FreeNAS Corral Peering to replicate ZFS datasets between two FreeNAS systems

To setup replication, the first step is to setup the FreeNAS ‘Peering’ which sets up and configures/pairs two FreeNAS Corral storage appliances for replication capabilities.

On Source FreeNAS Corral system go to ‘Peering -> + sign -> New FreeNAS’

Freenas Corral Rep1

Next input appropriate details to pair the Destination FreeNAS Corral system and click ‘Save’.

Freenas Corral Rep2

Then configure the replication job by selecting ‘Volume -> Replication -> + sign -> Replication job name -> Target dataset -> Repeat Every (replication interval) -> Save’.  Validate that the replication link setup/configuration completes successfully in the status pane on the Source FreeNAS Corral system.

Freenas Corral Rep3

You can click on these images to get a larger/ higher resolution picture. This is a side effect of doing screenshots on a UI that expands horizontally.

Up next on our journey to replication bliss is to validate that the replication job synchronizes again using the status pane on the Source FreeNAS Corral system.

Freenas Corral Rep4

Next up, validate that the ‘Receiving replication stream’ status message appears using the status pane on the Destination FreeNAS Corral system.

Freenas Corral Rep5

Finally, on the Destination FreeNAS Corral system verify that the replication job is indeed running.  This can be accomplished again using the handy status pane.  You should see the ‘Receiving replication stream’ progress and the ‘Status, Progress, and Speed’ indicators doing their job under the hood.

Freenas Corral Rep6

That’s it!  Now you can have your FreeNAS Corral cake and have it eat replication too! 😀

I must confess I am pretty impressed by how easy it is to setup replication between two FreeNAS Corral systems compared to setting up the same capability on the FreeNAS 9.x series.  Let the replication bits fly!

The STH community uses FreeNAS extensively in labs and at work. You can join in our discussion on the STH Forums.

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Kevin Brooksby is an IT Systems Engineer working for a prominent defense contractor. He has over 15 years of systems engineering and architecture experience specializing in Linux/Unix, HPC, Cloud, Virtualization, Storage and Security technologies. He holds several industry certifications and is the father of three lively boys while in his spare time he is an active contributor to STH.


  1. I would like to see an article about Freenas Corral’s Docker implementation. Running an Ubuntu Server right now, but Docker for me is a must. If Freenas’ implementation is easy, convenient, and perform well, I would give it a try.

  2. I believe it will resume if the connectivity issue is resolved in a timely fashion else the current replication job may fail but will pickup and run again on next snap/replicate job according to the set replication interval.

  3. Want to see a *real* fun bug?

    Don’t do this on a real system.

    Replicate a ZVOL as the source and type the name of your target server pool in the “Target Dataset” field and let the fun begin!

  4. Corral does support resumable ZFS send – if only possible it will try to start where it did end last time


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