Raspberry Pi as a VMWare witness?

Regarding your last video - Gigabyte Dual Xeon Server DIY and Benchmarks! - Maybe I am assuming too much here.
What I am trying to figure out is how to run a two node VSAN with a Raspberry Pi 3 or 4 as the witness for it. Which is why the word WITNESS popped out at me. Then I went and looked up the old video "6 Gamers , 1 GPU, but I couldn’t seem to find anything about using the Raspberry Pi as a witness.
Maybe I’m being a little dense. I’m an avid VMWare guy, but ESXI for ARM isn’t available to us lowly system administrators, or even lofty golike ones, even though it’s been almost two years since they said “Hey look at this” at VMWorld 2018 EU… I went to VMWorld 2018 Las Vegas and there was nothing mentioned that I remember. My feet may have been too sore to walk to that one by that time! I put 40 miles on them in 3 days!!!

So if you have a way to load a VSAN witness on a RasPi 3 or 4, please, Please, PLEASE let me know how it’s done. Right now I’m running it from VMWorkstation on my laptop, and since I don’t that on all the time, it gets a little cranky.

I am an avid watcher of your youtube videos, especially your news! You guys are not totally about Covid or Protests or Let the world burn every day, and I really appreciate that!

Thanks again!

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Not an answer,

but why not just get a third cheap x86 machine (or build one for like 250).

What is it that makes Raspberry Pis especially good for witness hosts?

Older house with power constraints mainly. I’m probably running more in this room than I should.
The other reason is because honestly, the RPi 4 is more than enough to do this, so why not use one for it?
I do have older computers that I could set up to do this, but I twigged on what Wendell said, and then I couldn’t find any more info on it, so I thought I would ask.

Hahaha I wondered when someone would ask! A VMware guy gave it to me and asked not to distribute it. It is getting quite old however x86 in rpi form factor is available for less than $100 and esxi will work fine with those.

Also asrock deskminis are not a bad choice for ye olde homelab. For the 6.7latest I started using the deskmini a300 for the witness and that works fine


That makes more sense now. They gave out such a limited number of those at VMWare 2018 EU and pretty much everyone who got one is keeping their lips sealed about it. VMWare does want people to talk to them about it to see if there is even a use case for it. At the same time you have to remember that they are owned by Dell, and Dell sells servers… I don’t know if the project will ever get any more love.

x86 Emulation on a Pi, I haven’t tried. I think by the time you’ve emulated x86, loaded an ESXI host and loaded a VM under it you’ve about stretched the bits as far as they will go before the bucket explodes. I doubt you would see much stability at all. I have loaded multiple ESXIs under one ESXI host and found to be very slow. I don’t know how much performance dip you would see under emulation, but I bet the results would be depressing. Also, I think the stability of all that would be even more questionable than what I was initially after.
I like to tinker with stuff, it helps you learn. But there is a point where frustration sets in when you’ve had to reload something 10 times because it isn’t functional and you go back to tried and true.
So, I have a little Mini-ITX embedded board that I was going to mod into an old HP N40L, because the N40L is honestly way too old to run ESXI 6.7 or 7 and needs a lot of help doing so. Maybe I’ll pull that out and get out the dremmel…

Cheers! And thanks for the advice!

I’d be very surprised if the processor in the N40L isn’t faster then a Raspberry pi 3 for general computing tasks, I would have thought it would be fine for a VSAN witness.

I’d give it a go before taking it to bits.

This. Also fwiw I was able to use a Synology as a witness by migrating the witness from esxi to Synology since the Synology supports that

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Wow… This is funny. I was watching your newest video on the Synology DS920, and came back here… Got an unloved i7-8700 (no K) from a friend, ordered a motherboard and some RAM to set up a 3rd home ESXI box for VSAN fun. I have a 418Play with 8gb and a 1517+ with 16gb, an n40l running (for shame) Xpenology… And had no idea that I could mount a VM in place even though I have been using them for NFS and VM backup! Thanks for this though! If I decide to use the newer machine as a desktop instead, then I now have an option!!!

Works like a champ on a DS1517+. 418play was for some reason not as good (cores?)
. Btw, I would not recommend at all on something with a Realtec or Appurna CPU. Had a friend try it, and it totally failed, would not run at all.

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