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I have some questions about esxi

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Ok so while researching stuff about how to set up plex on my unraid set up, I read a post by someone who said that they are using esxi with unraid to run plex and watch their media outside of the home network. This is what I have been trying to figure out for a while, because I would like to watch my media on my unraid server when I am not at home. So from what I understand esxi is kind of like an operating system that lets you make several virtual machines, like say having unraid and windows running at the same time on the same level, instead of having say windows running and then unraid running inside of windows with vmware. Is this correct? Second thing is, how hard would it be to set this up so I can stream my movies and tv shows outside my home network? Also any links about setting this up or system specs I need to run this would be helpful, I think I read something about only certain hardware will work with this??
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Main System
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unRAID Server
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5-4670k EVGA Z87 Stinger miniITX EVGA GeForce GTX 770 Klevv Urbane 16GB 2400 
Hard DriveOSMonitorKeyboard
RAID 0 (2x Mushkin Enhanced Chronos 240GB) Windows 10 27'' HP - 2709m Razer Blackwidow Chroma 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
500W 80 plus gold (EVGA Hadron Air) EVGA Hadron Air Razer Naga Chroma Rocketfish Dual-Sided Aluminum Mouse Surface 
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
i5-4590s  ASUS H87I-PLUS 2x4GB GSkill 1x8TB Seagate Archive HDD (Parity) 
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2X8TB Seagate Archive HDD 4X3TB WD Green LG Blu Ray Reader unRAID 
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post #2 of 6
ESX and ESXi are bare metal hypervisors. So in essence ESX is the host OS for your virtual machines.

This is a list of confirmed hardware for use with ESXi 4.0. http://www.vm-help.com//esx40i/esx40_whitebox_HCL.php
I don't think a list exists for 5.0. The only issue I've run into is NIC card compatibility though.

I run Plex on top of a regular Windows 7 installation with a LSI 9211 and RAID1 volumes.

Once Plex is installed and setup and you have an account you just go to http://my.plexapp.com/web and you can access it from anywhere. Also if your mobile device is logged in you can access it from wherever you have internet.
Edited by itznfb - 6/17/13 at 12:53pm
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Samsung 830 Western Digital Caviar Black Western Digital Caviar Green LG Bluray/HD-DVD 
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post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Do you have to have ESXI installed on a SSD? I haven't seen anyone not do this. Also would a Sandy bridge or Ivy bridge i3 be powerful enough to run a set up with unraid, windows 7 with plex media server, some sort of FTP server (don't really know anything about them but I know I could use one)?
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500W 80 plus gold (EVGA Hadron Air) EVGA Hadron Air Razer Naga Chroma Rocketfish Dual-Sided Aluminum Mouse Surface 
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Main System
(12 items)
 
unRAID Server
(10 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5-4670k EVGA Z87 Stinger miniITX EVGA GeForce GTX 770 Klevv Urbane 16GB 2400 
Hard DriveOSMonitorKeyboard
RAID 0 (2x Mushkin Enhanced Chronos 240GB) Windows 10 27'' HP - 2709m Razer Blackwidow Chroma 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
500W 80 plus gold (EVGA Hadron Air) EVGA Hadron Air Razer Naga Chroma Rocketfish Dual-Sided Aluminum Mouse Surface 
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
i5-4590s  ASUS H87I-PLUS 2x4GB GSkill 1x8TB Seagate Archive HDD (Parity) 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveOS
2X8TB Seagate Archive HDD 4X3TB WD Green LG Blu Ray Reader unRAID 
PowerCase
Kingwin 500W 80 Plus Platinum Apple Xserve RAID 
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post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
oh also could any of you recommend a micro atx motherboard for an i3 that would be compatible with esxi 5?
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i5-4670k EVGA Z87 Stinger miniITX EVGA GeForce GTX 770 Klevv Urbane 16GB 2400 
Hard DriveOSMonitorKeyboard
RAID 0 (2x Mushkin Enhanced Chronos 240GB) Windows 10 27'' HP - 2709m Razer Blackwidow Chroma 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
500W 80 plus gold (EVGA Hadron Air) EVGA Hadron Air Razer Naga Chroma Rocketfish Dual-Sided Aluminum Mouse Surface 
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
i5-4590s  ASUS H87I-PLUS 2x4GB GSkill 1x8TB Seagate Archive HDD (Parity) 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveOS
2X8TB Seagate Archive HDD 4X3TB WD Green LG Blu Ray Reader unRAID 
PowerCase
Kingwin 500W 80 Plus Platinum Apple Xserve RAID 
  hide details  
Reply
Main System
(12 items)
 
unRAID Server
(10 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5-4670k EVGA Z87 Stinger miniITX EVGA GeForce GTX 770 Klevv Urbane 16GB 2400 
Hard DriveOSMonitorKeyboard
RAID 0 (2x Mushkin Enhanced Chronos 240GB) Windows 10 27'' HP - 2709m Razer Blackwidow Chroma 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
500W 80 plus gold (EVGA Hadron Air) EVGA Hadron Air Razer Naga Chroma Rocketfish Dual-Sided Aluminum Mouse Surface 
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
i5-4590s  ASUS H87I-PLUS 2x4GB GSkill 1x8TB Seagate Archive HDD (Parity) 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveOS
2X8TB Seagate Archive HDD 4X3TB WD Green LG Blu Ray Reader unRAID 
PowerCase
Kingwin 500W 80 Plus Platinum Apple Xserve RAID 
  hide details  
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post #5 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by xxredxpandaxx View Post

Do you have to have ESXI installed on a SSD? I haven't seen anyone not do this. Also would a Sandy bridge or Ivy bridge i3 be powerful enough to run a set up with unraid, windows 7 with plex media server, some sort of FTP server (don't really know anything about them but I know I could use one)?

I run ESXi off a USB key. It's a tiny OS and once it gets loaded into ram it doesn't touch the drive its running off of (much). Usually people like to have their VHDs on their SSDs. I am not 100% certain, but I think you will want to have a motherboard and processor that supports VT-D so you can pass through your HBA cards.

I have my 12TB ZFS FreeNAS storage server running off of ESXi.

The specs are below, right now its running my FreeNas VM, three server 2012 VMs, my HTPC VM and a Win7 test VM. It's tapped for RAM right now, but its running just fine.
 
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Western Digital 2TB Green Seagate Barracuda 1Tb  Western Digital 500GB Western Digital 250GB 
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Dark Knight II ESXi 5.1 Antec Earth Watts 380w RAIDMAX Platinum 
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2600k ASRock Z68 Extreme 4 Sapphire 7970 8GB Vengeance 1600 CL8 
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Crucial M4 256GB HP dvd1160i Windows 7 x64 Ultimate Samsung BX2231  
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Samsung BX2231  Samsung BX2231  Panasonic 42" Plasma  Ducky Shine Green LED with Red Switches 
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Corsair 750w Fractal Midi  G500 
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
Intel i7 3770s Asrock Z77 Extreme-m 32GB G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series Samsung F3 1TB 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
Western Digital 2TB Green Seagate Barracuda 1Tb  Western Digital 500GB Western Digital 250GB 
CoolingOSPowerCase
Dark Knight II ESXi 5.1 Antec Earth Watts 380w RAIDMAX Platinum 
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post #6 of 6
I am running the system you describe. I have an ESXi server, with an unraid VM which is running plex. I have had some hiccups, and setting up unraid and plex in ESXi doesnt have the clearest directions, but I was able to overcome the hurdles.

As far as hardware, I recommend getting actual server parts and skipping desktop components. It doesn't have to cost a fortune if you use stuff that is a couple years old. My CPU/RAM/Mobo cost about $300 using amazon/newegg/ebay. Just make sure that whatever you use has full support for IOMMU or the Intel equivalents. As Im sure you know, for a media server the big costs comes from the hard drives.

Once you have the hardware then you just run ESXi off a USB stick. You still need a HDD or SDD to store your VM's on. For unraid you will need to get an HBA, I recommend the IBM M1015. You wil need to reflash the M1015 to IT mode using an online guide. Once you build your unraid VM and passthrough your unraid USB stick, and passthrough your HBA, then you will be in buisiness.

With ESXi you can run as many VMs simultaneously as your RAM, and to a lesser extent your CPU will allow you. I only have 8 gigs of RAM on my server and I run unraid with 4 gigs, pfsense with 1 gig, an ubuntu desktop with 2 gigs, and a LAMP server with .5 gigs. If i had more RAM I could easily have a Windows VM or run other servers. I can access the ubuntu desktop directly from the ESXi console, or I can RDP into it from my main PC.

In any case its a great setup to learn basic networking and VMware stuff. I love being able to access me file collection through plex regardless of where I am.
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