Forget about ESXi and vSphere – Looks like unRAID is the way to go
Up until this point I have been completely focused on installing ESXi and trying to wedge it into my plans for this server. Today I discovered unRAID – NAS and a hypervisor all in one bare metal solution. It sounds absolutely perfect for my needs as it will allow me to do everything that I want in terms of virtual machines, as well as offering me a NAS solution without the need for messing with passing through SATA controllers etc.
Why unRAID over ESXi?
When I was looking up FreeNAS the main information I was getting was that it is resource intensive, doesn’t like to be virtualised, and some of the plugins aren’t very stable at the best of times. The thing to bear in mind with this is that people only post online when things go wrong, not when they’re working as expected. Obviously FreeNAS is popular for a reason but it just doesn’t seem to fit into what I want to do. This more or less left me with a choice of a NAS or an ESXi box unless I wanted to go passing through SATA controllers to the a virtualised FreeNAS OS – Which I can imagine might cause issues down the line..
Then I stumbled across unRAID from a post on a forum I regular. Some member had mentioned he was running unRAID on a USB stick on his HP Gen8 MicroServer without any issues. A few minutes later I was sold after watching their promotional video.. NAS, Apps, and virtualisation all in one lightweight package..
I’m really looking forward to this now!
What happens next?
The one thing FreeNAS has over unRAID is that it’s free (the name probably gave that away..). If I do plan on using unRAID then I will need to fork out for a license which is a one-time cost of $59 which certainly isn’t going to break the bank. I’ll make a decision on this after trying to the 30-day trial but I really think this is the way to go. Either way this is still far cheaper than buying a vSphere / ESXi license from VMware.