freeNAS 9.2 ISO with Xen PVHVM support

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Update 2/10/2014:  A new build updating the files to FreeNAS which includes a bunch of samba updates, and importantly, the fixes for the bash shellshock vulnerability.

Update 17/5/2014:  I’ve replaced the links on this page to a newer version, FreeNAS, and added the Upgrade file.  Note for the upgrade through the FreeNAS UI, it will require the SHA256 has too, so I’ve included that as well in the links below.

Several people over on the freenas forums have had troubles building a Xen-enabled ISO of freenas 9.2, due to issues with freeBSD’s ports packages.

As a result, I’ve uploaded the iso I built using these instructions in my previous post and will host it here for a while.

Here it is:



Note that its only the 64-bit version – I haven’t tried the 32-bit version I built at the same time, but I’ve been running this one myself for a while with an LSI HBA passed through to it using the xen_pciback module.

Disclaimer:  This is not an official FreeNAS build.  It isn’t guaranteed to be supported with future bug fixes, updates etc. and you use it at your own risk, with no liability to me.

Also, here’s the upgrade file:



And lastly, the image file:



42 thoughts on “freeNAS 9.2 ISO with Xen PVHVM support

  1. Hi There,

    I’m new to Xen and FreeNAS. I created a new vm and booted it with the image. How do i configure it?
    Console shows a msg “run_interrupt_driven_hooks: Still waiting after 300 sec for xenusb_nop_confighook_cb.


  2. Hey Wired Dad,

    Man, congrats you have done wonders on this one man, been working this at home, it’s just incredible the difference between pv and non pv,

    9.3 has come out? I was wondering if there was any chance you would be releasing 9.3 with your touch of magic?

    • Hi Sammy, I built it overnight – have the x64 files and will upload them after I get a chance to backup my freeNAS VM’s drive image, and verify the upgrade at least works for me 🙂

      That’s the nice thing about virtualising FreeNAS – I can shut it down for a minute, snapshot the drive (using LVM), then bring it back up and I have a new image to run the upgrade on, with little downtime and no risk of destroying my running environment.

      I’ll make a post once I’ve verified I’ve got a working build!


      • Sounds great – another thing I’ve noticed running our PVHVM build is that XenTools are missing. Would it be possible to include the XenTools in some future version?

        • I realise the xentools are missing – I’ve tried to build the last couple of versions with it, but it causes multiple issues with the build scripts which are beyond me (see other comment conversation with Moritz below).

          I was about to go upload, but notice there’s a available now, which presumably fixes the (massive) bash vulnerability which is sweeping the world currently.

          I’m re-syncing with the git repository right now and will be kicking off a PVHVM-capable iso build.

    • I just ran the upgrade to on my xen VM and it works fine. Files are uploading as I type, should be all there in about another 15 mins. Links are updated, so should just start working while I’m driving to work – I’ll log in from work and test the download links too.

      Thanks for being patient!


    • Hi Wired Dad!

      Me again, since 9.3 was released about a month ago, I’d like to ask if you are planning to provide us with a new build.

      Would greatly appreciate it – thanks,

      • Apologies for the long delay – I just discovered my spam folder was harbouring messages from the site (thanks gmail.. grr).

        There was a post on the freenas forums a week or two ago by Ringerl who has provided a 9.3 image. I haven’t had time to look at it, or to set up a 9.3 build environment. Moving to 9.3 is on my agenda – its just lower than a bunch of other bits as my current freenas image is rock solid. I’ve been busy with pfSense 2.2 lately.

  3. Pingback: FreeNAS on Xenserver with PVHVM support | Technicus

    • Thanks for the positive feedback.

      The version of the ISO I’ve made available includes all ther Xen PVHVM drivers to improve VM performace/cpu usage, it just doesn’t include the stuff to support the xenserver tools. Not an issue for those of us who just run our own 64-bit hypervisor 🙂

      I’ve given up trying to get the xentools stuff built for now – it seems to be an issue with the build scritps (not freeBSD) and I don’t have the freenas familiarity to manually change the build scripts.


  4. Hey,
    Thanks alot for your energy & time which you are investing in building & sharing these images/update-files!!
    I realy apreciate it.

    After successfully installing FreeNAS via your 9.2 iso my XenServer wasn’t able to recognise the xen-tools in that VM. I edited the /conf/base/etc/rc.conf to manually enable the tools () – but that didn’t made any changes. After that i tried to upgrade my FreeNAS 9.1 VM with running tools via your “xxx.Upgrade.txz”. It turned out the same as a newly installed System – no running xen-tools.

    Can you give me a hint/tipp how to get the tools running in your 9.2 ?
    Cheers & Greetings from Berlin

    • I’m afraid I’m not running on top of Xenserver so didn’t compile with the sysutils/xen_tools port. I’m just using a baremetal Xen machine with a Centos dom0.

      I’ll kick off a re-build of the iso with the sysutils/xen_tools port added and add it to my site this weekend if I can get the build done.

      And thanks for the thanks!

    • Hi Moritz,

      I have tried to installa the 9.2 iso under xenserver 6.2 but it doesn’t work.

      I have used the template “Other install media” but it stops showing:

      run_interrupt_drive_hooks: still waiting after 60 seconds for xenbusb_nop_confighook_cb

      run_interrupt_drive_hooks: still waiting after 120 seconds for xenbusb_nop_confighook_cb

      run_interrupt_drive_hooks: still waiting after 180 seconds for xenbusb_nop_confighook_cb

      etc etc…

      Any help?


      • I’m getting this too, appears to be a CD-ROM block bug as described here:

        The solutions offered “remove the CD-ROM device” obviously don’t help until the installation is complete… I’m going to try setting up some sort of PXE boot for this. Another workaround would be enlisting someone for whom it does work, and getting them to build an appliance from a freshly-installed VHD.

        This MAY be related to hardware that lacks VT-d support, which is most irritating since that’s a major reason to push for PV in the first place (passthrough, etc)

        • Thanks for posting your link here Nick – glad to see the iso I built is getting some use.

          The freenas guys don’t have much interest in virtualisation. Its a shame, as I’ve found virtualised freeNAS to be a very nice solution, and have been running it to provide iscsi targets for data disks on various VM’s, in addition to providing backup storage, general windows/CIFS and NFS shares etc.

    • Hi Frank,

      I just ran the install from the iso linked above and it worked fine for me installing onto a 2gig LVM-based partition. I can run up the installed FreeNAS9.2.1.5-xen with no issues.

      Here’s the conf file I used to run the install – it creates a VNC console on the hypervisor host.

      # Freenas 9.2 installation

      name = 'freenas9215'
      builder = 'hvm'
      maxmem = 8192
      memory = 8192
      vif = [ 'bridge=xenbr0, mac=00:aa:0a:15:01:99' ]
      disk = [ 'phy:/dev/vg_hdd/vm_test_freenas,xvda,w',
      'file:/mnt/isos/bsd/freenas/FreeNAS-,hdb:cdrom,r' ]
      # Boot from the cdrom device
      vnclisten = ''

      on_poweroff = 'destroy'
      on_reboot = 'restart'
      on_crash = 'destroy'

      Here’s my current kernel and Xen versions:

  5. Pingback: FreeNAS with Xen PVHVM support | My Wired House

  6. Thanks for providing this. One question: How exactly did you set up the VM on xenserver to run? For me it won’t boot, however I just chose the “Other install media” template to boot the ISO, as I don’t know how to use the configuration file for the vm. Any help is appreciated.

    • I run the VM in HVM mode – so it boots like a non-Xen supporting OS.

      However, the kernel in this ISO has native support for the Xen block devices for networking and disk access, so the Xen dom0 doesn’t have to provide the usual HVM emulated networking or disk controllers, which massively reduces the cpu overhead and increases the throughput.

      I’ve only played with Xenserver briefly – I run just plain Xen with a minimal linux distro on top as the dom0. However, I recall that “Other install media” should be the correct way to install from this iso, as that uses HVM.

      If its any help, this is the config files I use to run the VM:

      # FreeNAS 9.2 with PVHVM support

      name = 'freenas'
      builder = 'hvm'
      maxmem = 12000
      memory = 12000
      vif = [ 'bridge=xenbr0, mac=00:16:3e:00:99:01' ]
      disk = ['phy:/dev/vg_ssd/vm_freenas,xvda,w']
      # Uncomment this for install, and change 'boot=c' to 'boot=d' below
      # 'file:/mnt/isos/bsd/FreeNAS-9.2.0-RELEASE-xen-x64.iso,hdb:cdrom,r' ]
      vnclisten = ''
      on_poweroff = 'destroy'
      on_reboot = 'restart'
      on_crash = 'destroy'
      # PCI device for passthrough of LSI HBA
      pci = ['02:00.0']

    • I haven’t tried yet. I wasn’t aware that there was an upgrade until your question (thanks BTW).

      I’ll have a go at upgrading to when I get home – its in a VM and I have a complete image of the VM so I can duplicate it to try the ugprade, and if it fails, just shutdown and run the working VM – that’s the beauty of running FreeNAS in a virtual machine!

      If the upgrade replaces the kernel, then it certainly will break the Xen support.

      When FreeNAS embraces FreeBSD10, then upgrades may be possible as the freeBSD10 kernel includes Xen support (unless the freeNAS devs decide to disable it).

      I’ll try an upgrade tonight and let you know!

        • The upgrade loses Xen PVHVM support.

          The upgrade applied – but it replaces the kernel so I lost the xn0 Xen network interface, replaced with the slow and cpu-intensive ‘re0’ emulated Realtek one.

          So I rolled back the upgrade (handy thing about doing it on xen with LVM), and will look at rebuilding another iso with xen support for the latest version.

        • My build of with PVHVM support is running – will find out in the morning if it completed. If it does, I’ll post the upgrade file for upgrading from FreeNAS-9.2-xen

  7. Pingback: Building FreeNAS with Xen PVHVM support | My Wired House

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