I'm planning to upgrade my home server (Samba, XBMC, FTP, VPN, torrents) because I need a test farm of VMs and current config doesn't allows to do it.
I'm thinking about ASUS Z9PE-D8 WS, Intel Xeon E5-2620 Sandy Bridge-EP, 32GB, 4x2TB 7200rpm, 1x500GB SSD as HW part.
I see 2 configurations of SW:
1. VMWare ESXi on usb-stick, SSD for VMs, one VM - OpenIndiana (for ZFS and as a fileserver for other VMs and local network), other VMs - Linux (XBMC), ??? (SAP), several VMs for testing
2. Linux (Gentoo + ZFS) as a main OS, VMWare Workstation over it with all OSes I told above.
#2 is clear for me - I have such config right now, everything works ok. Except for ZFS. My Gentoo w/o ZFS now.
1. XBMC media player. Will it work ok in VM over ESXi ? Speed, 3D, audio, video - maybe someone tried it ?
2. HDD DRM for ZFS. As I understand i'll lost such things like realtime snapshotting. It's really no good. Maybe it's better to use ESXi storage mechanism or buy external raid... But I'd like to use ZFS.
3. SAP + DBs + other VMs (Windows too) - speed ?
4. VPNs/Routing between VMs. As I understand, ESXi allows it, Workstation - doesn't.
Where I'm wrong or maybe someone tried something of it ?
You can enable nested environment using workstation. Then you can install ESXi in here and run all VM's on top of this. You can then add a vCenter, storage box based on ZFS (nexenta, freenas,...) and add additional VM's.
In this way you can shutdown the whole lab and use XBMC on Gentoo without problems. XBMC media player using ESXi will probably lag behind if you are going for 720p or 1080p video's.