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Best uses of N54L?


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Hello All, long time lurker first time poster seeking suggestions, advice and best practice on using a N54L effectively.

I bought it primarily as a backup location for photos and video from Macs and PCs but also want to use it as a Plex media server and a place to archive ripped DVDs and CDs. It would also be great to store iPhone backups and my iTunes library.

I've installed the custom BIOS along with 10GB RAM and ESXI 5.5, is it worthwhile considering other options such as using the N54L as a router, firewall or VPN?

From reading these and other boards RAID seems unnecessary for me but I like the look of using greyhole or stablebit to folder duplicate across a pool of drives to offer some redundancy to irreplaceable files.


Can anyone offer suggestions on what may work well for me, the best OS for PMS and what NAS OS's play nicely under ESXI? Things I've considered are freenas, unraid, OMV, xpenology and various Linux flavours.


Any help appreciated.

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FreeNAS would probably be easiest to manage and it does many things very well. I hear you can also add the PMS to it nowadays. 


I have chosen Ubuntu Server to run zfs pool + PMS + netatalk (afp)/samba + avahi (bonjour) and a few other services on my N54L in the VM under esxi. Depending on how familiar you are with the Linux command line, Ubuntu may not be the best choice for you tho.

Oh, since you've already installed ESXI, you may find this link useful: http://www.vm-help.com/esx40i/SATA_RDMs.php

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Thanks stangri, I'm possibly over complicating things and Ubuntu will do all I require and do the job.

Are there any advantages to letting a particular OS handle a particular task on a VM or is it better to let one do everything?


I am very tempted by Freenas, it ticks a lot of boxes, but I've been reading its not ideal to run as aVM on ESXi. I'd like to keep ESXI because of the flexibility it offers but maybe I'm asking too much of it.

I'm new to the world of VMs and RDM, does the link you shared make it possible for say two of the drives to be allocated to one VM and the others to another or mean that all the drives can be shared by all the VMs?

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For home use I don't see the reason to split services between different VMs, so I ended up with a single Ubuntu server doing everything.


Not sure why FreeNAS would be not ideal for use under ESXI. As long as you do not virtualize access to drives (check the link I posted above), it should work just fine. My experience with running FreeNAS in VM under ESXI is very limited tho, maybe someone else will correct me.


The link I shared gives you the steps to let the VM access your hard drives in a high-performance pass-thru mode without esxi virtualization.


If you're new to the world of virtualization, play around with VMware Fusion or VMware Workstation first. Or just install FreeNAS without esxi.

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