This is a simple guide to creating a VMware ESXi virtual machine for NexentaStor. Actual OS installation is very easy and will be covered in another piece. Just over a year ago I created The Big WHS on a platform of Windows Server 2008 R2 with Windows Home Server installed in Hyper-V. Simply put, this may have been the easiest installation ever since Hyper-V and Windows Home Server work well together. With the lack of a new Drive Extender technology in Windows VAIL server, many users are looking to other storage platforms to fill the void.
Lately, I have been building more and more ZFS based systems. One thing I can say without a doubt is that Windows Server 2008 R2, Hyper-V, and Windows Home Server V1 are much easier to administer for those that prefer GUIs to command lines. I still think that virtualization of storage platforms is the way to go, simply because CPU resources are oftentimes underutilized in storage servers. Nexenta is a company familiar to many folks as it provides a customized storage centric Solaris 10 platform with vendor support. In fact, Compellent Technologies which was just acquired by Dell utilizes the Nexenta platform for their zNAS line. Aside from commercial offerings, Nexenta offers a lightweight but free version of their storage platform that allows a user to store 18TB of data (raw disk capacity can be higher). Unfortunately, like most non-Windows operating systems, Hyper-V and Solaris do not mix. On the other hand VMware ESXi works very well with Solaris, and this guide will show one how to make a simple virtual machine for Nexenta in ESXi.