How do I configure RSync on FreeNAS to sync shares with a Windows NAS device?

Donovan Colbert illustrates how to create a suitable, inexpensive data replication solution for a small office or data center on a limited budget.

Freemas VMNIC Setup

Exit out of the Install & Upgrade menu and return to the Console Setup numeric menu. Select the option 1) Assign Interfaces  (Figure ZJ). This allows you to select and configure your active NIC.

Figure ZJ

At the Configure LAN Interface window, select your interface by MAC address and click OK (Figure ZK).

Figure ZK

At the Configure OPT Interface window, select None (Figure ZL) and click OK. Acknowledge any prompts and click Yes, so the interface will initialize and return you to the Console Setup.

Figure ZL

Select option 2) Set LAN IP address (Figure ZM).

Figure ZM

At the Do You Want to Use DHCP for This Interface? prompt, select No (Figure ZN).

Figure ZN

Enter your IP address and click OK (Figure ZO).

Figure ZO

Enter the appropriate subnet mask and click OK (Figure ZP).

Figure ZP

Enter the appropriate Default Gateway and click OK (Figure ZQ).

Figure ZQ

Enter the appropriate DNS information and click OK (Figure ZR).

Figure ZR

Select No when asked to configure IPv6 information.

When you return to the numeric Console Setup menu, you've finished the installation and basic configuration of your FreeNAS virtual machine. Next we'll connect with a Web browser from our host machine to the FreeNAS Web-based GUI interface and complete the configuration of the server.

FreeNAS GUI Setup

Open a browser in your host OS and connect to your FreeNAS virtual machine. Default username is "admin" and password is "freenas" (Figure ZS).

Figure ZS

In the top menu bar, select Disks. In the Disks |Management page, click the (+) sign (Figure ZT).

Figure ZT

Select the 5GB disk from the drop-down menu on the Disks|Management|Disk|Add menu. Click the Add button (Figure ZU).

Figure ZU

From the top menu bar, select Disks|Format. Select the 5GB disk from the drop-down menu. Leave the default UFS file system selected and click Format Disk (Figure ZV).

Figure ZV

From the top menu, select Disks|Mount Point|Management. Click on the (+) sign (Figure ZW).

Figure ZW

On the Management tab, select the 5GB disk from the drop-down menu and enter the mount point name (I've chosen "Testshare" for this mount point) and click the Add button and then click Apply Changes (Figure ZX).

Figure ZX


From the top menu, select Services, CIFS\SMB. Check Enable to activate the CIFS/SMB file-sharing service. In the NetBIOS Name field, enter the name you want the machine to register on your Windows network. In the Workgroup field, enter your domain name or workgroup name. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen and click Save & Restart (Figure ZY).

Figure ZY

Click the Shares tab. Click (+). In the Name field, enter the name of the share as you want it to appear in your network neighborhood. In the Path field, you can type in the path you want to be shared or you can browse to the path you want to share. Once you've filled in this information, click Add (Figure ZZ).

Figure ZZ

Click Apply Changes to activate your share (Figure ZZA).

Figure ZZA

Verify that the share you have activated it visible on your network and is writable (Figure ZZB).

Figure ZZB

To set the Freenas VM Hostname, click on System | General (Figure ZZC).

Figure ZZC

Rename the host name and click Save (Figure ZZD).

Figure ZZD

You've completed building your source FreeNAS virtual machine server. Repeat all the steps to build a second target Freenas virtual machine server -- changing appropriate information as necessary (IP address, machine name, and any other unique settings).

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Donovan Colbert has over 16 years of experience in the IT Industry. He's worked in help-desk, enterprise software support, systems administration and engineering, IT management, and is a regular contributor for TechRepublic. Currently, his profession...


What are you you using as the rsync server on the windows platform? DeltaCopy? I'm not sure if I saw it mentioned. Thanks and sorry if I'm being obtuse.


Late update: Recently I lost a drive on the Powervault that is the target server for this solution. The Powervault NAS is such a poor solution for a redundant storage solution, that I lost redundancy on the boot drive mirror *and* the Raid 5 stripe where the replication takes place. Once I replaced the drives and rebuilt the mirror and stripe, the source FreeNAS server found the share, and immediately began copying over all the data - which was lost, despite the RAID 5, during the rebuild. I felt vulnerable when the Powervault was down, but it was this EXTRA level of replicated redundancy that prevented me from losing any data - the solution worked exactly as planned in an "almost worst case" scenario. Good thing, too - as the backup from the Powervault to tape hasn't been done in quite awhile. :)


This was a pretty sprawling and complex howto. I've read through it, and some of the paragraphs and figures do not correspond correctly. Despite this, Mark has done an incredible job at editing the pile of documentation I sent him into a cohesive, easy to follow guide to setting up a test NAS environment. If you have any questions, problems, or concerns, drop me a line here and I'll do everything I can to get you back on track or help you through any rough spots. It would probably be best to post questions here in the forum, rather than sending me a private/direct message, so that others can also benefit from reading those comments and observations. Good luck, and I hope you find this document helpful.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

What is your NAS setup? Do you have a better NAS solution that you'd like to share?


For expert-level discussion of the full features and possibilities of the RSync utility, you may also want to check out this article:;CR1 by Jack Wallen. Jack really gets into the nuts and bolts at an expert level about what RSync is capable of, and goes into far more detail than this article. Once this document introduces you to the broad concept of what RSync is capable of, if you want to find out how to really make it work well for you, I highly recommend checking out the link.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Emberassingly underpowered for what I really should be doing at home but it's better than nothing. Hardware RAID1 is a minimum after having lost single drive NAS before and only trusting software raid so far. RAID10 would be preferable though Drobo's raid expanding on the fly is also very nice. If I can get my head wrapped around Bacula, I'll build a dedicated box for that eventually. (I may have to give in and rtfm)

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