First, I'm new to the virtualization world, so beaware that I might say some stupid things.
My goal is to build a server at home, consisting mainly at a NAS and some other VMs (2 Linux and 2 Windows). In the perfect cenario, I wish to arrange it to fit all in one physical server for hardware and energy saving.
I have a HP ML110 G6 and a bunch of SATA drives.
My plan was to:
- install ESXi on a flash drive (obtaining spare hdd and energy save)
- install FreeNAS, OpenFiler or NexentaStor on a virtual machine (installed on a small data store created from another usb flash drive)
- install 3 HDD on the server for direct and exclusive access by de NAS virtual machine
- configure new ESXi data store linked to the NAS through iSCSI or NFS
It looks like a two layer "kind of" system because I need a VM for the NAS instalation that would then provide a new data store for ESXi.
Is this possible? Main doubts are:
- is it possible to add a data store out of a usb flash drive?
- is it possible to assign 3 HDD directly to the NAS virtual machine?
- how does ESXi will react to the iSCSI or NFS data store not being available on startup (because it will have to boot first the NAS virtual machine to make it available)?
The goal is to have a centralized storage system (the NAS) with both my data and the virtual machines. This way it would be a lot easier for me to make backups and control data growth and having a single piece of hardware provides energy saving that is crucial for a system running 24x7 at home .
Thanks in advance.
If you look at the napp-it project you can see some recommendations for an all in one box: http://www.napp-it.org/hardware/index_en.html
Installing ESXi on a jump drive is fine - are you installing the NAS VM on the same drive?
For the NAS VM to have direct access to your drives your hardware will need to support passthrough (IOMMU).
I haven't tried it but I assume that ESX boots fine when it can't find the shares on the NAS VM - you might have to just re-scan them after the VM starts maybe.
Your plan looks good to me assuming you have passthrough on your hardware.
Thanks a lot for the link, it has lots of info related to my original plan.
It looks like I'm on the right path.
I was planning to install ESXi on a usb flash and NAS on a different usb flash. The purpose is only to save energy and under use hdds. Still not sure if I can create a datastore from a usb flash drive for the NAS VM. Anyone knows?
My main question right now is about passthrough. My HP ML110 G6 has one of the recommended chipsets (confirmed in your link info), the Intel 3420. My BIOS also has the option to enable VT-d explicitly. I have enabled this option only after ESXi instalation. After the reboot, ESXi says my hardware does not support directpath i/o, but I would expect it to.
Not sure if it is not recognizing it because on the instalation moment the VT-d was disabled on the BIOS. Can anyone help me on this?