There have been lots of posts about Docker on the FreeNAS forums over the last 12 months, and I didn’t pay much attention to them. I could do everything I needed through a combination of Jails and VirtualBox VM’s so why did I need Docker? Well, to be honest, I still don’t know, but I have managed to create a bhyve VM running RancherOS and Portainer so I can try and find out!

Docker was first discussed during the FreeNAS 10 beta program and seemed to be the thing everyone wanted. FreeNAS 10, which became Corral on release, had a very short life leaving many who had upgraded early pretty upset. It was a complete rewrite, and the powers that be at iXsystems decided within a matter of months that it would be easier to continue the development of the 9.10 branch (which is now 11x) than fix the issues with 10. At the time, I was still lagging behind on 9.3.1, so it didn’t impact me at all. 11.1 still doesn’t contain Docker support, although it has been promised in a future release and can be achieved even on 9.10 using bhyve and iohyve.

Given my newly found knowledge of iohyve and an excellent, How Do I… Guide on the forum I thought I’d try and set it up. Again, I’m not going to replicate that configuration here, just add some thoughts on what helped me get it up and running.  It’s worth pointing out that later versions of FreeNAS make this much more straightforward, as creating VMs has been built into the WUI so doesn’t need iohyve at the command line:

  • I’ve become reasonably proficient at creating VMs using iohyve and know most of the basic commands.  I still don’t understand how it’s working, although the grub section of the guide helped me understand a little more
  • I never remember how to create Public-Private keys for passwordless access using SSH (even though I’ve done this before when using AWS) so this guide was beneficial for doing through Terminal on macOS
  • Creating the storage and share on FreeNAS was pretty straightforward, although I’m not sure this is described very well where you’re looking to setup several mount points to different datasets.  There are further posts in the thread that might help if I need this (which I would should I decided to move any of my current Jail/VM services into Docker) but I’m still not convinced of the benefits over Jails if there even are any.
  • I’m getting slightly better at using the vi editor, and didn’t even need to refer to guide this time, although I still much prefer using nano!  This tends to be my go-to guide when I do get stuck.
  • The interface looks pretty sweet, so I’ll be having a go at installing some dockers over the weekend


Probably not the most helpful blog if you’re looking into this, although it might point anyone attempting this on an old version of FreeNAS in the right direction.  As ever, it will be a useful resource for me as I seem to be able to forget things faster and faster as the years go by!

I’ll let you know how I get on and whether Docker is actually of any use for me…