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Best setup for my situation


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The more I read, the more confused I get because of all of the personal opinions. I need help with deciding which path I should take with setting up my system.


I was all set to purchase a QNAP TS-451+ until I came across some conflicting info and how others have built an all-in-one server that has a virtualized NAS.


In a nutshell, I need to know what would be the best hardware/setup for my budget ($500-600). I already have one ESXi host with everything installed on hardware RAID 10, internal storage. It performs very well. I want to convert an existing workstation into another ESXi host. I have all of the parts I need to do this so it will not affect my budget. I just don't know if I should go the internal storage route, buy the QNAP TS-451+, build an all-in-one server or build a physical NAS using parts from another workstation.


I'm concerned about performance and storing backups. I'm thinking the NAS would be nice because I can use it with both ESXi hosts but from what I've read, performance will not be on par with ESXi internal storage. Everything on my network is 1 Gigabit.


Hardware specs of parts for ESXi or all-in-one I'm going to build:

  • Motherboard that supports vt-d
  • i7-950 CPU
  • 24GB memory
  • LSI 9260-81 RAID controller
  • 4 - 4TB SATA HDD's
  • Broadcom 5709C 4-port Gigabit NIC


My requirements:

  1. Really good performance
  2. Need to be able to stream and store videos that are LAN accessible.
  3. Have some storage space that is LAN accessible so VM's and other physical machines can share files or map as a drive.


- Will a $500-600 NAS provide the performance I want?

- Is an all-in-one server robust and does it perform well?

- Will anything within my budget beat the performance of ESXi internal storage?

- What have I not taken into consideration?


I realize you probably need more info to help me. Please tell me what you need from me :)

Edited by jeffshead
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  • 2 weeks later...

The key in external storage is in how fast your drives are in the NAS vs what kind of controller you'd be using if they were connected locally.


In this case, your LSI controller wins out over the NAS because it's a caching controller.  The 9260-8i is robust, and as it can support eight drives, I'd be likely to put a boot SSD off your motherboard controller to run the hypervisor, and then use the LSI controller for the magnetic storage to hold your VMs.  Try and use 7200rpm drives like the HGST NAS drives, so you'll at least get moderate performance, as well as the benefit of getting CCTL (time-limited error recovery) for any RAID arrays you set up.


The NAS is more of a good choice for backing everything up.  You could look at using Veeam or something similar to back up to the NAS by setting it up as an iSCSI target; you could even split it into two targets and use one-per-ESXi server.

Edited by LoneWolf
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