FreeNAS Corral Canned – Development Essentially Halted for Now

Discussion in 'STH Main Site Posts' started by Patrick Kennedy, Apr 12, 2017.

  1. Jeggs101

    Jeggs101 Well-Known Member

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    It's really bizzare. You can see the freenas dev team on social media touting features and saying it wasn't canned --- when the official announcement says as much.

    I don't think they understand that what the community here and elsewhere isn't bemoaning the death of 10.0. I know I'd be happy to use either code base. I'm just mad that we've invested throw-away time at work. There's no way they did community outreach. It looks silly that a major site in this space like STH is publishing a yay corral article in the AM then saying it is a dead project --- which be clear it is --- in the PM. Don't most companies reach out to key media and influencers before an announcement like this?

    Judging by the reaction of the freenas staff on the interwebz, they need some leadership badly.
     
    #41
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  2. Patrick

    Patrick Administrator
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    I just got off the phone with Kris.

    A few notes:
    • I did offer the idea of next-gen FreeNAS being FreeNAS 11 Edge based on a suggestion in this thread and the alignment with FreeBSD 11.
    • I offered that this was not a great way to start the Corral brand since many early adopters are getting burned.
    • He brought up that hyper-converged is not dead with FreeNAS and is in the nightlies. I replied that there is no currently stable version of FreeNAS (9.10.2) that has these features. I think they will be coming soon but it was agreed that right now they do not have a stable tagged product with those features.
    • We chatted about the fact that it was not a decision taken lightly and that it was an emotional process for both the team and the community.
    Overall a good discussion. I re-read the original piece and still seems factually accurate.
     
    #42
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  3. MiniKnight

    MiniKnight Well-Known Member

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    I've never been on a team that's gotten cut but that's gotta suck.
     
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  4. Churchill

    Churchill Admiral

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    Be grateful, it's a painful and sometimes emotional process. Your blood, sweat, and tears being tossed into the trashcan because of business reasons. It sucks beyond comprehension but in the end you can come out of the rubble stronger or the team scatters to the wind. Rarely is there a middle ground.
     
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  5. RobertFontaine

    RobertFontaine Active Member

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    I had the displeasure of being on a long-term development project that did not deliver. There were many broken hearts and much gnashing of teeth. Technically it was a great experience but no one likes losing.
     
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  6. brettdavis

    brettdavis New Member

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    Hi STH! Brett Davis here. I work for iXsystems & the FreeNAS Project. I'm a frequent reader, a lurker on your forums, and I know Patrick personally. I first want to say that I have a lot of respect for this site and the STH community, and I know that many of you are FreeNAS users. I've personally appreciated all the contributions & discussions surrounding FreeNAS and thank you all for expressing your opinions regarding our latest decision to "unrelease" FreeNAS Corral.

    As the head of Product Management, Marketing, and Sales for iX, I can tell you that I take no issue with Patrick's article. It's accurate; especially the part about this decision being "gut wrenching" for us. We spent a lot of time, resources, and money on creating FreeNAS Corral, and having to admit that we were wrong in releasing it is one of most difficult decisions we've ever had to make; but, I assure you it was made with the user community in mind. Our reputation with our users is everything, and although we are going to take some damage to that reputation here, it was preferable to trying to continue promoting a flawed product.

    I know that many of you here have spent your valuable time installing FreeNAS Corral, and the STH team has written some great articles on it. That's time you guys can't get back. I completely understand any frustration that caused and offer my personal gratitude for that time spent, FWIW. That time and the valuable feedback on your experiences that ensued helped us make this difficult decision, frankly, so it certainly wasn't for naught. I realize it looks chaotic from the outside, but rest assured that the team here is focused and hard at work on delivering a release you can install and use with confidence.

    On behalf of the FreeNAS Project and iX, I felt it necessary to chime in on this thread to offer my thanks for all the support we've received from the STH community, regardless of whether or not you choose to continue to support us through this particular situation.

    If I can clarify anything or you need assistance explaining this to customers, I'm here to help. Or, if you just want someone to yell at, I'm fine with that too :)
     
    #46
  7. ttabbal

    ttabbal Active Member

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    From what I've read about it, it seems like the right thing to do. Take a step back, learn from mistakes, and get it right next time. Right now, it sucks, but things will clear up eventually. Even though I don't currently use FreeNAS, I have a lot of respect for the project and recommend it to people. That's not going to change as a result of this issue.

    Just don't let it happen again, or I will direct a disapproving glare in your general direction!! :D
     
    #47
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  8. brettdavis

    brettdavis New Member

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    I expect disapproving glares in my direction, regardless :)

    I can't promise that we'll never make another mistake, but I can promise that we will always do everything in our power to correct the ones we do.
     
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  9. Potatospud

    Potatospud New Member

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    Brett, it means a lot that you stepped up here to chime in so please know that I sincerely appreciate your candor. The only thing I'm mildly upset about is having spent all this time, since release, working with containers (with a love-hate relationship) and now having to put it all on pause and go back to jails *sigh but what can ya do? I am still a die-hard FreeNAS fan and look forward to seeing what comes out of this.
     
    #49
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  10. brettdavis

    brettdavis New Member

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    Thanks, Potatospud. Candor and transparency are indeed the double-edged swords we live by. Please pardon our bleeding at the moment :)

    You're right to be miffed. While I obviously can't give you your time back, I can promise that you'll have the option of jails *or* containers in FreeNAS in the not-so-distant future.

    edit: grammar
     
    #50
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  11. Drewy

    Drewy Member

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    After my initial FFS's I personally think the right decision was made and kudos to the IX systems folks for actually having the balls to make that decision. All too often reluctance to make those difficult decisions and the accompanying loss of face prevents the right decision from being made. They made a mistake, shit happens. Learn from it and move on.
    I do currently have Corral running and I believe I've upgraded at least one pool, so a move back to 9.10 isn't going to be painless. Never the less this decision has made mine somewhat easier, since I've been edging towards going back for a while. For me Corral and particularly the UI is awful.
     
    #51
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  12. brettdavis

    brettdavis New Member

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    If I only had a time machine, Drewy...I would probably name it "FFS" ;-)

    Given two essentially non-awesome options, we had to choose the one was best for our users, despite the short term pain we would cause.
     
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    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
  13. msvirtualguy

    msvirtualguy Active Member

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    Shit happens..unfortunately. Personally, I moved back to a standalone consumer NAS for now..but that's for other reasons with ZFS in general. It's unfortunate for the users that migrated to Corral and built VMs/Containers and are actively using them but i'm sure they can roll back to 9.10 and run VM's/Containers elsewhere.

    It's not like going back to 9.10 is bad, it's a mature release and I would certainly have more trust in this release anyway.
     
    #53
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  14. Pri

    Pri Active Member

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    I wonder, did the reasoning for unreleasing Corral only come about after it was released? Wasn't there people on the development team who identified some of these issues before it went live who could have said hey, lets not release this?

    As a user of FreeNAS you can understand how it's concerning that this reversal only comes after it has been released to all your users as a stable product. It makes me worried that there is something wrong within the development of FreeNAS. For example the software developer who pushed for Corral has left? - I don't know the guy, never knew he existed until this but it certainly doesn't instill confidence in me that he goes and all this stuff is reverted...

    What is going on exactly over there?
     
    #54
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  15. OBasel

    OBasel Active Member

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    Well I'm not happy for wasting time with Corral. But @brettdavis thank you for coming on here.
     
    #55
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  16. msvirtualguy

    msvirtualguy Active Member

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    Sure..I wish we could all get our time back but the walls are not caving in, the world is not ending and I'm sure, if your posting on STH forums, you have food in your belly. Could be worse. Will this make babies cry? Probably..but in the end not life changing.
     
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    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
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  17. brettdavis

    brettdavis New Member

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    Fair questions, Pri. I'll have to walk a fine line between transparency and professional decorum here.

    We had two development teams at iX during the creation of FreeNAS Corral. One worked on the currently shipping product (FreeNAS 9.x, and the enterprise version, TrueNAS), and one on our re-write (FreeNAS Corral). Both teams operated independently from one another, under separate leadership. The former were charged with evolving our shipping products, so they continued to update and focus on stability for FreeNAS/TrueNAS 9.x (v9.10 was released for both during this time, they were also evolving the UI, etc) while the latter focused on developing the new platform. The plan after release of FreeNAS Corral was to merge the teams and technologies, focusing on one platform.

    With one team focused on "stability" and one focused on "new", there was a difference in philosophies between the teams, as I'm sure you can imagine. There was certainly a faction at iX that expressed concern about the release, but that team decided to release anyway. The leadership for that team promptly left, and once that happened, some of the remaining team members began exposing some of their own concerns regarding the architecture that they'd been previously holding back.

    This prompted the thorough engineering review that lead to the collective decision that Corral, while having awesome and exciting ideas, was ultimately going to be a much longer path toward stability than instead re-basing the new and exciting features on our already stable 9.x series.

    Edit: So, we now have a singular development team again after merging, and they are working together to do what we probably should have done long ago and focus our efforts on one product. Lessons learned for all.
     
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    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
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  18. Potatospud

    Potatospud New Member

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    #brettdavisisthetruth :) once again I would like to extend a big ol' thank you to Brett for hopping on the bus of truth and driving it til the wheels fall off. Your unprompted original post and subsequent replies to multiple other posts, in my book, speaks volumes to the professionalism of you and your company. Any and all doubt in my mind (admittedly there was some) has officially been quashed. Thankfully I had a spare machine to use for Corral as an early adopter (thank you STH for giving me the idea) so yeah I can't get the time back but I learned a lot so no worries. Keep up the excellent work iX!
     
    #58
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  19. whitey

    whitey Moderator

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    Just don't let the cruft/garbage (undesirable underpinnings) from Corral sneak in the back door and ruin the whole parade is all I ask/hope/pray for good sir! :-D

    I live/die by a rock solid 9.x train! Lol/cry all at once
     
    #59
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  20. Gary Oliver

    Gary Oliver New Member

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    Have got to agree with @Potatospud re prompt truth telling. I've been a user of FreeNAS since 8.1 (shamedly still running 8.3 on one box because I didn't want to shut down to upgrade the boot flash drive: it needs to be bigger for 9+) I've run an older FreeNAS mini (purchased direct from iX over five years ago) and just upgraded to an additional of the newer 8-drive minis and am using it as a replication server. Decided to upgrade to Corral since, as a backup (which I've never needed due to raid and S3 backups) it wouldn't cripple me if it decided to melt and I had to rebuild and rereplicate. I liked the direction of Corral, especially dockers, though held off using them as 'complicated' stuff gets in the way of a pure replication server.

    I hope there is a clean 'sanitary' way to 'just upgrade' to the next 9.10 release, rather than doing the detail work of downgrading, importing, etc. As long as I've used FreeNAS, I am still quite green - the system has been so 'appliance-like' I've never needed to hack much other than doing some offsite rsyncs for backups.

    I will definitely be sticking with FreeNAS (and iX as a supplier) for myself and my company.
     
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