The future of TrueNAS Core

Hi folks,

I’ve seen this interesting thread on the TrueNAS forum about the future of TrueNAS Core and the roadmap for TrueNAS.

Some insightful inputs from Kris Moore (ixSystem SVP of Engineering) who discusses some of the challenges presented in developing for FreeBSD and pointing that due to market trends the future is on Linux.

I thought it was worth linking it here. (cc: @LTS_Tom )

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The writing has been on the wall for a while, yet I still haven’t jumped to Scale. I guess I need to rework my lab and bring it up on Scale so I can be prepared. My storage is pretty simple so I just haven’t been interested in some of the features that Scale offers, so haven’t made the move.

Yeah TrueNAS CORE is a sinking ship and the company, like others, lie through their teeth because they didn’t want to lose their user base right off the bat stating CORE will be no more.

It would have been different if they would have said something along the lines of “we are testing the waters of Debian and will evaluate both FreeBSD and linux”. But instead they said the CORE wasn’t going anywhere and SCALE has been sucking up more of their development time. Then you see bug fixes for only SCALE and not CORE, then fade out CORE slowly so they leave everyone without a choice to migrate to SCALE.

What is comical about all of this is companies think we are stupid, but we are the ones who call their bluff on day 1 of their shenanigans. Look at pfsense for example.

That was two years ago, and it will probably be around for at least a couple of years. So I wouldn’t exactly call it a lie.

Because the statement has an age it isn’t called a lie? I can remember lots of comments (Even Tom) when SCALE was being born all the CORE users about lost their minds, but were reassured over and over that CORE will not be going away.

Again, it would have been better from the beginning for them to be transparent and upfront about their intentions with SCALE. Tell the people that FreeBSD isn’t as mature and natively integrated with modern components (KVM, kubernetes, kernel etc). It is unfortunate that FreeBSD is lacking in a lot of areas and this would take away from the development of FreeBSD. However, if you are a developer with a business and another OS has a more feature rich tool set, then it is a no brainer to switch to an easier platform to develop on.

Perhaps that wasn’t the intention at the beginning, and in the two years they have realised that it is more complex than expected to develop and maintain two products in parallel. But again, they haven’t deprecated it yet. So you will likely be able to use it for a few more years.

Considering some of the features that Scale offers that Core just can’t (or maybe won’t), it would have been more accurate for them to say that initially we don’t plan on dropping Core, but that it could happen down the road if we decide that Scale is a better fit. Which is what a lot of us assumed was going to happen. I fiddled with an older Scale, then dropped it because what I was trying to do wasn’t going to work. I’ll have to load it up and fiddle with it some more on my lab system.

Look at some of the Core negatives:

Root management only

Behyve doesn’t work for a lot of things (at least the older versions I was trying)

Limited hardware (not always a negative for enterprise, requires solid , known hardware)

Scale positives:

Non-root management

Built in Docker

Better VM support

Ability to “simply” create a large storage cluster from multiple Scale servers

You could say better hardware support, but do enterprise users really care? I buy hardware that fits the need for something like this, my lab might be the only place where I might care about better hardware support because it is more likely to get “whatever” I can find on the used market.

In the end, I think security is going to push the switch to scale. This is something they mention in the migration documents, getting FIPS compliant allows them to get into big government areas that really pay the bills. And paying the bills drives development because you have the funding to research new ways of doing things, develop new features, etc.

In the end, I’m not going to be very critical about this change, so far they haven’t decided to have limited updates to the free version or leave features out of the free version. I see this as kind of a natural progression and since it is in Stable, I should finally look at it and learn how to make it work. The previous attempts were while it was still in Beta or RC, so not really a fair test of the product or how lazy I could be when switching.

But all that said, it would be nice if they told everyone that they will be phasing out Core in favor of Scale going forward. And then give people a couple years to make that change now that we have a Stable release with a little time behind it.

As Kris Moore said in that post:

TrueNAS CORE hasn’t been deprecated, and 13.1 is planned to start making a showing in Q2

I did my first video about TrueNAS Scale just about 4 years ago and Core is still around. Obviously with less vendor support and less development for FreeBSD that means there will be a time when development slows down and comes to a stop. While that is not likely to happen here in 2024, the writing on the wall is that it will.

Related to this is that other project that also rely on FreeBSD are likely to suffer the same fate.


I’m sorry, but isn’t that implied with any kind of software product? I mean, nothing lasts forever in IT, doesn’t it?

And especially since probably many of the SMBs here don’t have a support contract with IXsystems, and even worse, probably neither do many of those who have “sold” this solution to these SMBs, I don’t think it’s fair to conjure up a scandal here, or even accuse IXsystems of poor communication, because objectively speaking they did nothing wrong.

What vmWare / Broadcom did could be considered a scandal. But to portray a relatively small company as the bad guy that gave away a product for free and now says it’s going to slow down development and stop delivering new features on that particular product, because they think it’s better for their business in the long term, while offering another product to replace it, also for free, is, let’s say, excessive or overreaching.

Oh, and by the way, the code is on GitHub, anyone can fork it, provide bug fixes and add new features, or even build their own product from it and start a business around it.

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That is exactly what they are doing now, and it looks like people will have at least a few more years.

And don’t you think they talk to their paying customers and offer them support for a migaration? If you have prove that they don’t do so, please share it here.

Other than that, I think it’s mostly homelabbers or small businesses that have never paid a single penny to IXsystems, and with a few exceptions, never contributed anything meaningful to the community either, that have a problem with this because they now have to migrate their Plex and Nextcloud jails over to Scale.

Oh, and just to be clear. I like Core, and I think it’s sad that it’s probably going to disappear at some point in the future, and of course that by the time this happens another relatively big player will be leaving the BSD world. But I also understand why IXSystems is moving in this direction, because at the end of the day they are a business, and businesses have to make a profit, which is more likely to be made in the Linux world, whether we like it or not.

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