Home network planning. VMs and Free NAS

I am currently in the planning stages of a home network and i am trying to lock in a good server setup.

Right now i am wanting to run 1 x Linux server (VM), 1 x Windows 2012R2 server (VM) and free nas.

So my question is what setup do you guys think would work best?

I am currently considering a few options.

  1. Free NAS running native on the hardware and using jails to run the VM servers.

  2. Using a bare metal Hypervisor (ESXi) to run all 3 environments as VMs. Setting aside small partitions for the linux/windows servers and having Free NAS use the rest.

P.S. I already have windows server licenses so there is no extra cost there :)

Are VMs easy to set up on free NAS or should I go with option 2? Let me know if you want more details on my planned setup.

might be a good idea to actually post what you want to do. saying you created 3 VM's of which one would most likely be a fileserver is great but says little in the end and we can't telepathically look into your brain ;)

I'm sure you can run freenas as a VM, but I've heard that you shouldn't. Not sure how well running VMs on freenas works either.

It might be easier to set up a linux server to use as your NAS as well as running your VMs.

What i am looking for at the end of the day is the following.

  • File server/SAMBA server
  • DLNA/XBMC server
  • Misc hosting. (Teamspeak server, game servers ect)

Apparently running VMs in Freenas was only introduced recently anyway so one would assume that it won't be 100% reliable yet. If I don't have to use Freenas I won't.

I'm thinking that I will go with this idea instead as it will simplify the process.

Thanks Dexter :)

I've played around with open media vault which is a linux based NAS OS, it has a webui like freenas but it's pretty much running on top of a standard debian install so you can do anything with it that you can do with debian. Of course if you don't want the webui you can set up samba and whatever file system you want on any version of linux.

Thanks I will check it out. Also would it be fine to run as a VM on top of a bare metal hypervisor (VMWare ESXi)?

I'm just thinking that backup&recovery as well as migration to new hardware will be easier if I can make every server a VM.

KVM on linux is pretty much the same as a bare metal hypervisor, so you can use linux as your file server and VM server. But it should work fine to run your file server as a VM, although I think it would probably be better to run it on the host system so that it has direct access to the disks.

Alright I will give it a try.


What you need is ProxMox @wendell did a video ages ago but it is still great. Recently I used it in a deployment and is was bliss. Plus web based management is always a plus for your multiple VM's. For storage if you are wanting a home lab I would look at Deep Discount Servers for good cheap rack mounted servers or use one of @wendell 's ITX/integrated board reviews and go to newegg and build out a server. It'll be more rack space taken up but you really should isolate storage in another machine especially if you want to stick with FreeNAS because you can dedicate an entire RAM selection and processor for ZFS and your ProxMox VM host can be free to run your other machines.

I am looking at doing something similar and I came to the conclusion that it would be better to just build a VM server and a dedicated Nas with freenas. I know that that solution is more expensive but if one of your servers fails the data on the other will be safe. And you should not run freeNAS as a VM

What I was thinking for backups was a usb3 raid enclosure as a DAS solution. If i can set up ProxMox to backup the VM servers to the DAS then that would be ideal. From what I can tell you can get a dual bay usb raid enclosure for much less than having a dedicated NAS.

However I also understand that some people need a dedicated NAS.

tl;dr ProxMox hosting VMs which are backed up to DAS RAID storage.

Something like this for the RAID enclosure http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=210_177_287&products_id=25121

Well if you are ditching the need of FreeNAS then your solution sould work great! I think the only thing you may want to do is have that NAS running in RAID 1 OR RAID 0 with a secondary master backup on a seperate USB storage device like a massive WD drive and just take snapshots of the entire network so in the event of a certain locker virus or maybe a power surge you have redundancy on your backups and data still saving without a dedicated NAS box.