Conference Schedule - BSDCan 2023

The FreeBSD Appliance: Leveraging FreeBSD and Strategic Scripting to Deliver Storage and Virtualization Services

Date: 2023-05-20
Time: 13:30–14:15
Room: DMS 1120
Level: Intermediate

The FreeBSD Operating System has traditionally been viewed as both a complete server and desktop solution, and a collection of core components for commercial appliance development. It has benefited from decades of academic, volunteer, and vendor contribution of core components including its TCP/IP stack, multiple packet filters, Jail containers, the CAM/CTL storage infrastructure, VNET and Netgraph virtual network stacks, the OpenZFS file system and volume manager, and the bhyve hypervisor, all within a unified source tree and build environment. Many of these components have enabled high-profile storage and networking product ecosystems but less-obvious developments are occurring: FreeBSD is experiencing extensive refinement in addition to major feature development, making for an unprecedented "out of the box" user experience. The FreeBSD 14.0 Release will include subtle but powerful features including:

nullfs file mounts Jailed NFSd CTL/virtio-scsi support Extensive build option support makefs -t zfs Reproducible Builds Growing nvlist support Emerging Packaged Base

This talk will describe the new abilities enabled by these small and seemingly-unrelated features, and their ability to reduce the need for highly-customized FreeBSD appliance distributions. It will also describe strategies for following the "CURRENT" development branch of FreeBSD without becoming a full-time release engineer. Finally, it will outline how contemporary FreeBSD provides a meaningful storage and virtualization platform with minimal supplementary utilities.


The following slides have been made available for this session:


Michael Dexter