Product FAQ

What is Rockstor?

Rockstor is a free and open source NAS (Network Attached Storage) operating system. It’s a software solution and can be installed on commodity hardware or a hypervisor satisfying Minimum system requirements

What is a quick way to evaluate Rockstor?

For quick evaluation, install Rockstor on Virtual Box, Virtual Machine Manager or VMWare. See Quick evaluation using a virtual environment for more information.

How can I get started with Rockstor?

Installation of Rockstor is a very easy and short process. See Quick start to get started.

What kind of hardware do I need to install Rockstor?

Rockstor runs on 64-bit commodity hardware. You can install it on bare metal or a hypervisor. See Quick start for more information.

Can I run Rockstor from a USB flash drive?

Yes. Rockstor is optimized to do less writes if it detects the root drive to be USB flash drive or SSD. As expected, USB 2.0 can be pretty slow. So we recommend a USB 3.0 drive even if your motherboard doesn’t support USB 3.0 as it’ll still be faster.

Are there faster alternatives to running from USB?

Yes. If your motherboard has a spare PCI-Express slot you can get an SSD boot drive.

How much does Rockstor cost?

Little to nothing, depending on how you choose to receive software updates. You can download and install Rockstor from the ISO file free of cost. However, we release rolling updates. These updates are divided into a Stable channel and a Testing channel. Testing channel is free, but access to Stable channel requires a small subscription fee. See Software update for more information.

How can I share files using Rockstor?

Rockstor supports popular file sharing protocols like Samba/CIFS, NFS, and SFTP. See Services & File sharing for details on how to setup and configure these. Linux, Apple, and Windows clients can easily share files using Rockstor (see Accessing Shares from Clients). Rockstor also supports apps like OwnCloud, Nextcloud, Syncthing, Seafile, and others in the form of Rock-ons (Docker Plugins) that provide more advanced and/or easier ways to share and access your files.

Do you have any hardware recommendations?

For home or small business use, we’ve seen Rockstor install flawlessly on HP, DELL and Supermicro servers and desktops. The developers of Rockstor have used HP Micro servers for personal use.

Rockstor also installs smoothly on the latest generation of servers from vendors like HP and Supermicro.

For hobby and small home installs the Pi4 / RPi400 is also known to work: (Rockstor 4 only).

I have Rockstor installed. How do I get software updates?

Rockstor can be updated directly from the Web-UI when it indicates that an update is available. It’s a simple, non-disruptive process and takes only a couple of mouse clicks. Note however that you must select an Update Channel before you will receive any ‘rockstor’ package updates. All upstream OS updates are enabled by default.

How frequent are the software updates?

Rockstor development depends on the number of our contributors & Stable Channel subscribers. Testing channel releases are always more frequent.

Once we are assured of all recent changes in the Testing Channel we release a Stable Channel update.

Why is Rockstor updated so frequently?

While we make major releases that require complete OS re-installs, i.e. such as when moving from Rockstor 3 to 4, we try to make these releases as infrequent as possible. Generally we push small tested updates as often as we can, and base our Stable Updates channel releases on the field testing carried out by our community in the Testing Channel.

How is Rockstor licensed?

Rockstor is free software licenced under the terms of GNU General Public License version 2. See here for more details.

What Linux flavor is Rockstor based on?

Rockstor 4 is “Built on openSUSE” and resembles most closely the upstream JeOS variants. Our rockstor-installer uses openSUSE’s own kiwi-ng installer builder. We host a bare minimum of re-branding apps on the Open Build Service (see also Overview) courtesy of openSUSE/SuSE/AMD. Otherwise we favour openSUSE’s own *-branding-upstream options.

Our near legacy Rockstor 3.x is based on CentOS 7. We re-brand CentOS, add Rockstor software in the form of additional rpms and change the installer to make it a bit more straightforward and specific.

What Repositories does Rockstor 4 use?

The following repositories are included and enabled in Rockstor’s “Built on openSUSE” installer:

  • OSS (open source software only)

  • Update (security and bugfix updates for OSS packages)

Aliased as per the installer profile: e.g. “Leap_15_2” & “Leap_15_2_Updates”.

Leap 15.2 profiles have the following additional repos:-

We are required to de/re-brand packages that have no “…branding-upstream” equivalent”. See: Making_an_openSUSE_based_distribution

Leap 15.3 profiles and newer - shells is replaced with Rockstor’s OBS home_rockstor; there was no Leap 15.3 ARM64 shellinabox package:-

What Filesystems are supported by Rockstor?

BTRFS all the way! Though there’s a lot more to Rockstor than the filesystem, at the core Rockstor productizes neat features of the BTRFS.

How do I prevent data loss with Rockstor?

This is a very important question and a lot of our work with Rockstor revolves around minimizing data loss. There are a few measures you can take to prevent dataloss and have disaster recovery strategy for different possibilities. See Data loss Prevention and Recovery in Rockstor. Also note that the btrfs raid5/6 profiles are not currently recommended for production use.

Does Rockstor provide Block or Object storage?

While Rockstor does not currently offer native object storage, it is possible to leverage one of our Rock-ons (Docker Plugins), MinIO, which provides high-performance object storage. See our MinIO Rock-on write-up for additional details.

In addition, since Rockstor is open source, anyone in our community can work with us to get new features added in the future.

Does Rockstor support plugins?

Yes. Rockstor has a built-in engine that supports Docker based applications. See Rock-ons (Docker Plugins).

What is the current list of supported Rock-ons?

For the current list see Rock-ons available by default. Note that new ones are added regularly and can be requested on the Forum.

How do I backup to Rockstor using Apple Time Machine?

Samba exports can be used for Time Machine backups as of Rockstor-3.9.2-56, as a replacement for the now-deprecated AFP exports. The following forum post can be of interest for instructions on how to create a compatible Samba export: Time Machine backups with Rockstor.

Do you have examples on how to build complete NAS solutions for different storage capacities?

Rockstor is hardware agnostic, so you can build a complete Linux, BTRFS-powered NAS solution using the Rockstor NAS OS and hardware of your choice. The only requirement is that the system be of a 64bit Intel or compatible architecture. Don’t hesitate to visit our Forum to find user stories, example builds, or ask for advice from our community!

I run a small organization with 10TB and growing data needs. How can Rockstor help me?

With Rockstor, you can scale your infrastructure with low incremental cost to support your growing data needs. You can have very large storage capacity, limited only by system resources like CPU, RAM etc. Feel free to contact us with your questions.

Can I run a small home personal cloud using Rockstor?

Yes. Rockstor can be installed on many small computers like ASUS VivoPC or Intel NUC. We recommend visiting our Forum for user stories, examples builds, and request advice or recommendation from the community.

Can Rockstor support my specific storage use case?

You can contact us with your requirements and we will get in touch with you. We do storage services and support and are happy to enable you to use Rockstor for your storage requirements.

Is the BTRFS filesystem reliable?

BTRFS is a newer Linux filesystem and is under heavy development. Some commercial Linux distribution vendors are supporting it to various levels and others will follow very soon given that the stability has improved quite a bit. So for now, you have to answer that question yourself based on data and your risk. In our experience, BTRFS has become very reliable. Also, Rockstor confines users from using BTRFS more freely, thus reducing the chances of hitting deep intricate bugs. The fact that BTRFS bugs being reported lately are only triggered by very special scenarios is an encouraging sign.

However a proviso here is that The BTRFS community consensus is that raid5 and raid6 levels of btrfs support are not yet fully stable and so are *not recommended for production use*. Please see the btrfs wiki for up to date information on all btrfs matters.

Why does Rockstor support only BTRFS and not other Linux filesystems?

BTRFS is in it’s own league among Linux filesystems and we see tremendous value in building over it and making it’s advanced feature set easily accessible to users. While there are other excellent filesystems, we plan to focus on providing the best solution based on BTRFS.

How can I stay in touch with the latest Rockstor news?

We recommend you join our community forum, follow the rockstor-core project on github, and follow us on twitter.

How can I contribute to Rockstor?

Thanks for asking and welcome to the Rockstor community. Depending on your needs and interests, there are a few ways to participate. See Contributing to Rockstor - Overview for more details. Don’t feel shy and email any of the developers if you like to discuss more before jumping in!

How can I report bugs and request features?

You can create issues or add comments to existing ones on our github issue tracker. The forum is also a good place to start.