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VMware ESXi Storage Implementation


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Hey gang,

After seeing the series of episodes on VMWare ESXi I've been wanting to implement my own system. I currently have a 4-bay QNAP TS-439 Pro NAS that I use for storage with a 4x WD640 RAID5 array. It works swell, except for the fact that I'm running out of space... so figured it would be a perfect time to buy new toys, and give VMWare ESXi a try.

While I could just build a regular box with only FreeNAS on it to handle my storage needs, I thought it would be more fun go the VMWare ESXi route seeing as I could use the experience (something I've been interested in for years) and a few VMs.

I'll be building the box within a few months, as I save up for it, and would like to use this time to figure out exactly what I'll be doing (and what I'll be buying). I'll need the server to work as my NAS for storage (anime, backups, etc.) that I'll have connected via iSCSI (or SMB) to my iMac. I'll also want to run a web server, as well as a SVN server, and some other stuff. I know that the "proper" way would include having an external SAN that wouldd be connected via iSCSI to the VMWare ESXi box and used to store the VMs. Seeing as I'm attempting to replace my NAS, without overkilling the replacement, I want to attempt to accomplish it with just one box.

With that said, what would be the best way of going about that? Should I create two data stores within ESXi? One for my VMs, and one for FreeNAS and run FreeNAS as a VM that I'd have connected to my iMac? Or, create one large datastore that would be used for FreeNAS, connect the FreeNAS VM internally via iSCSI as a SAN (like Matt did on the show), and create two iSCSI targets (one for ESXi, and one for my iMac)? Or would it be best to spring the extra cash and setup a dedicated SAN box?

Any suggestions/options would be appreciated.



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