Machine Learning and FreeNAS

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TL;DR: I have finally found a reasonable way of conducting machine learning “research” with the help of my FreeNAS.


I have been trying all sorts of ways to install TensorFlow (and Keras) on my FreeNAS. There is AFAIK one guide (of which there are several derivatives) for How to install TF on BSD. Unfortunately, it still seems to be impossible to get Python 3 to work with BSD, why I opted to find another solution.

FreeNAS, DockerVM and Rancher

Lately, FreeNAS has added support for DockerVM. Unlike regular VMs (which I also thought about using, but found THIS POST and was discouraged) DockerVM is simply a VM containing only Docker. In addition to this, the FreeNAS docs also suggests one installs Rancher, a management platform for containers.

I would suggest you simply follow the steps outlined in the FreeNAS docs in order to get up and running.

TensorFlow and Keras

This is still WIP as I want to find a way of “commiting” programs to be run on my server. As for now, I use Jupyter.

When you have your RancherUI VM and an additional host where you plan on running your machine learning container, it is time to find a suitable docker image. As for now, the best image I have found is a manipulated version of gw000/keras:2.1.3-py3-tf-cpu, to which I have added Jupyter support. The original Dockerfile can be found on GitHub and my modified version can be found HERE.

In order to build your image you must download the Dockerfile and build it.

wget erikthorsell.github.io/download/Dockerfile.keras-jupyter-cpu
docker build -t debian:keras .

-t debian:keras tags the image and . is the directory where the Dockerfile resides (current directory).

When your image is built you can use docker run to start the container as:

docker run -d -p 8888:8888 -v $(pwd):/srv debian:keras

which will start the Jupyter web if on http://<server-ip>:8888/ with password keras. Files stored in the current directory will be mapped to /srv.


Good luck approaching the singularity.

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