ESxi and NAS vs Esxi/NAS All in one?

Jerry_03

Weaksauce
Joined
Oct 12, 2009
Messages
92
I'm trying to decide if I should keep my ESXi server and NAS separate or "combine" them into an All in One Server (like described here)

My current setup:

ESXi Server:
CPU: Intel Core i3-3220 Ivy Bridge 3.3GHz LGA 1155 55W Dual-Core
Mobo: ECS H61H2-I3 (v1.0) LGA 1155 Intel H61 HDMI Mini ITX Intel Motherboard
RAM: 16Gb (2x 8GB) Patriot DDR3
HDD: 1x TOSHIBA 2TB 7200RPM SATA; 2x TOSHIBA 3TB 7200 RPM SATA
PSU: OEM 200-Watt (came with case)
Case: In-Win Mini-ITX Case, Black BP655.200BL
OS: VMWare ESXi v5.5

NAS (only have HDD's havent bought actual NAS yet):
Synology DS413j Diskless System DiskStation
1x Seagate 2TB 5900RPM SATA
3x TOSHIBA 3TB 7200 RPM SATA

I want to be able to backup my VM images (via veeam) to this NAS. I also want to backup my physical PC's files (as images) to the NAS.

After discovering the above mentioned thread on ESXi/NAS all in one configurations, Im thinking about trying that out instead of spending $350 on a NAS that I'd only use for backups. I read through that thread, but being a bit of a newbie to this, I wanted to make sure I'd be able to implement it with minimum additional hardware purchases (ala would I be able to create a esxi/NAS all in one with out buying any more hardware).

only additional hardware I'd think I'd need is a bigger case to hold all 7 HDDs
 

paret0

Limp Gawd
Joined
Aug 29, 2012
Messages
368
You could also put the $350 into a case and drives, maybe another nic, for the AIO...:D
 

Atari911

n00b
Joined
Aug 28, 2009
Messages
27
Separate. Allows you to add storage as you go (although you could always add NAS down the road either way) and you don't have to even think about controller pass-through and the limitations that can bring.

Keeping your storage separate from what I call the 'head' also keeps everything more tidy from a managment perspective in my opinion.
 

Jerry_03

Weaksauce
Joined
Oct 12, 2009
Messages
92
good point atari

i found a older Synology DS409+ on ebay. if I could get it for >$250 that would be good. i just hope its compatible with these 3TB drives.
 

_Gea

2[H]4U
Joined
Dec 5, 2010
Messages
4,065
Separate. Allows you to add storage as you go (although you could always add NAS down the road either way) and you don't have to even think about controller pass-through and the limitations that can bring.

Keeping your storage separate from what I call the 'head' also keeps everything more tidy from a managment perspective in my opinion.

From outside/network/management view a dedicated VM server + shared NAS/SAN is identical to a well designed AIO solution.

The difference:
On a two box solution, one functionality keeps up if the other is down. But this is not really helpful when they depend on each other.

The advantages of AIO
Performance. All transfers between ESXi and storage are in software with high speed (several GB/s) and a very low latency.
To achieve the same with dedicated boxes, you need something like a high performance and expensive FC network

Simple "cabling". All network cabling is done in software via the ESXi virtual switch.

No problems with network hardware (like redundand network switches and cablings) for reliability.

No single point of failures. Every AIO has its own high quality storage.
A failure does not affect other machines like with a shared SAN/NAS used by several ESXi machines.

If you look at VMware they go this way with their virtual SAN solutions as well.


Disadvantage:
- You need enough CPU and especially RAM for the extra SAN/NAS VM
This "extra" should be similar to a dedicated barebone solution

- ESXi is very picky about hardware especially when it comes to pass-through.
(you need pass-through of the storage hardware to your SAN to achieve similar
performance and reliability like a dedicated barebone solution)


Last word
AIO can be done, I do it on all of my setups (together with paid ESXi for VM/storage vmotion and with free ESXi setups). You only need to select hardware according to your selected OS solution and need to power up you storage VM at first and shut down last. You should also prefer "known to work configs"

I wrote down some details about my NAIO/ napp-in-one solution (based on ZFS and Solaris)
http://www.napp-it.org/doc/downloads/napp-in-one.pdf
 

Jerry_03

Weaksauce
Joined
Oct 12, 2009
Messages
92
thanks for the reply Gea.

given my lack of experience with ESXi, is it your opinion that my system has enough horsepower for a VM/NAS AIO?

again my system specs:
CPU: Intel Core i3-3220 Ivy Bridge 3.3GHz LGA 1155 55W Dual-Core
Mobo: ECS H61H2-I3 (v1.0) LGA 1155 Intel H61 HDMI Mini ITX Intel Motherboard
RAM: 16Gb (2x 8GB) Patriot DDR3
HDD:
*For VMs: 1x TOSHIBA 2TB 7200RPM SATA; 2x TOSHIBA 3TB 7200 RPM SATA
*For NAS: 1x Seagate 2TB 5900RPM SATA; 3x TOSHIBA 3TB 7200 RPM SATA
PSU: OEM 200-Watt (came with case)
Case: In-Win Mini-ITX Case, Black BP655.200BL
OS: VMWare ESXi v5.5

The VMs I am/plan to run:
-Win Server 2008 (24x7): AD, DC, FTP
-Win 7 (24x7): Plex
-Win 7 (24x7): Ulteo
-Linux (Any distro): development
 

_Gea

2[H]4U
Joined
Dec 5, 2010
Messages
4,065
thanks for the reply Gea.

given my lack of experience with ESXi, is it your opinion that my system has enough horsepower for a VM/NAS AIO?

Honestly, your mainboard is not a good choice for a solid AIO nor for a good ESXi or NAS server.

A solid AIO should provide:
- enough RAM, should be upgradable to at least 32 GB RAM, best is ECC
- a good nic not a slow Realtek, best are Intels
- a second controller for the storage VM (Sata is needed for ESXi), this requires vt-d for pass-through
(for barebone alike NAS performance and reliability)

a good choice for AIO would be something like a
http://www.supermicro.nl/products/motherboard/Xeon/C220/X10SL7-F.cfm

- supports Xeons (i3 supports ECC, I5/7 supports vt-d, only a Xeon supports both )
- support for max 32 GB ECC Server Ram to allow a fast storage with at least 4 GB RAM
- a second SAS/Sata controller for storage pass-through
- fast PCI-e slots for storage or nic upgrades

What you can do with your board
- use a small disk to boot ESXi and a storage VM (first Sata)
- use the other three Sata for RDM to pass disks to your storage VM
This is not as fast and stable like pass-through but it should work
(if ESXi supports your Realtek otherwise you need a small pci-e 1x Intel nic)
 

newdamage1

Limp Gawd
Joined
Mar 5, 2007
Messages
144
Honestly, your mainboard is not a good choice for a solid AIO nor for a good ESXi or NAS server.

A solid AIO should provide:
- enough RAM, should be upgradable to at least 32 GB RAM, best is ECC
- a good nic not a slow Realtek, best are Intels
- a second controller for the storage VM (Sata is needed for ESXi), this requires vt-d for pass-through
(for barebone alike NAS performance and reliability)

a good choice for AIO would be something like a
http://www.supermicro.nl/products/motherboard/Xeon/C220/X10SL7-F.cfm

- supports Xeons (i3 supports ECC, I5/7 supports vt-d, only a Xeon supports both )
- support for max 32 GB ECC Server Ram to allow a fast storage with at least 4 GB RAM
- a second SAS/Sata controller for storage pass-through
- fast PCI-e slots for storage or nic upgrades

What you can do with your board
- use a small disk to boot ESXi and a storage VM (first Sata)
- use the other three Sata for RDM to pass disks to your storage VM
This is not as fast and stable like pass-through but it should work
(if ESXi supports your Realtek otherwise you need a small pci-e 1x Intel nic)


I second this mo-board selection. I have this board w/ 1230v3 running esxi with the lsi passed to freenas. It's been working good. Though performance suffers a little with less than 12Gb of ram assigned to freenas. (6x4tbZ2)
 
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