Windows, FreeNAS, eSATA, Port Multipliers, Non-IT RAID & VMs

Allan74

New Member
May 15, 2019
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I am about to re-employ some antiquated hardware to add storage and have come to a Chicken vs. Egg roadblock.
It probably best if I lay out the hardware basics first.
- SuperMicro X8DTi-F, Dual x5670's, 96GB ECC REG.
- LSI 9261-8i (RAID Only, no IT-Mode/JBOD) running a SAS array of it's own.
- Sans Digital TR8M-B (8-bay SATA only, Twin 1-4 Port Multipliers, Twin eSATA external Input)
- HighPoint RocketRAID 642L (2x eSATA, 2x SATA, Host 'RAID', JBOD capable).
- Boot drive separate from the array(s).

The Basics
I want to run a Windows OS on the SuperMicro & LSI RAID setup (easy, familiarity)
I want to run the eSATA card/Enclosure JBOD and use FreeNAS rather than Windows Softraid for 8 drives.

The Conundrum (for ME anyway)
Should I run Windows on bare metal, then virtualize FreeNAS and pass the eSATA/TR8M & drives to it ?
or..
Should I run FreeNAS on metal with a Windows VM to support my HW RAID and pass the LSI card to Windows, leaving FreeNAS direct access to the eSATA card and external 8 drives of the TR8M box ?

I would really appreciate someone point me in the right direction, or an even better direction if possible.

I would simply like to get everything done on a single machine and the External eSATA box without having to sacrifice the stability of the external array or needing to employ a 2nd machine to accomplish it all.

My last resort is to gut the eSATA Box and turn it into an external SAS enclosure, but I figure if I can utilize the eSATA multipliers/Backplanes already inside of it, it may serve a purpose for the rest of it's short life.

thanks (and sorry) in advance...lol
Allan
 

Allan74

New Member
May 15, 2019
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Well, I guess it's not a sexy situation, but one that I am left with none the less, as I have 8x 3TB SATA drives and only 1 antiquated enclosure to host them. I simply want to make the best decision.

Short of going to a purely Linux environment on the hardware and extend ZFS to the eSATA box, I would be open to any suggestion.

This thread could have also been placed in a number of sub-forums, so let me end with this:

Life long Windows User/Admin, ESXi capable, Linux Newb and ZFS Curious......lol

I simply want to end up with a decent Virtualization Environment that doesn't leave me backed into a corner, a Windows Environment to manage my HW RAID and Home Network Environment Shares and to make the best of an old eSATA box by using ZFS.

Chicken vs. Egg....... Windows on Linux/BSD ...or... Linux/BSD on Windows to get the best out of a compromised situation.
 
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Allan74

New Member
May 15, 2019
28
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Perhaps it might also help to add that I will eventually virtualize pfsense and play around with some sort of virtualized SDN as I add 10Gbe ports to the box, as the limited number of connections that I need in the end will never really require a dedicated switching device, leaving me room to grow without being forced to forget everything that I know...lol
 

gregsachs

Active Member
Aug 14, 2018
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One thing to be aware of if you do hyper-v and pass disks into it the VM will stop if a disk vanishes. I had issues passing disks from h-v to a whs V1 that were in a sansdigital ESATA box. (also, I had two of those 4 bay boxes die due to p/s issues. )