Free NAS and Vmware ESXi on the same physical server

Hi there,
I have IBM X3500 server with 48GB RAM, 3TB of hard drive space with on-board USB.  My planning is to install the VSphere ESXi on the USB onboard key.
1) Can I install Free NAS on one of the hard drives with limited space like 10GB, so that it does not grab all of 1TB from one of the disks?
or
2) I need to install the Free NAS on one of the Vms under this physical server?
Or
Any other workable set will be acceptable.  Not sure at this point how my VMs under setup will be sent to another ESxi.  Would appreciate easy steps to follow.

Need help
Thanks
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amanzoorNetwork infrastructure AdminAsked:
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jmcgOwnerCommented:
Both ESXi and FreeNAS can be installed on USB thumb drives, but I doubt it would work for them both to be on the same USB drive. Do you have two USB slots available? [I haven't tried it, but it looks like it might be possible to make it work.]

For your use case, it sounds like you want ESXi to run FreeNAS as a guest and give FreeNAS direct access to the host server's disks. Aside from FreeNAS, your other VMs would be created on datastores mounted (through NFS, I presume) from the FreeNAS instance. If you have enough RAM to spare (out of 48 you may need as much as 8 for FreeNAS - that's what the most recent specs say is a minimum), I'd go for it. I've been casting about looking for a way to get an SSD cache in front of my ESXi server's disks and came close to trying this even though I don't have any RAM to spare.

Can you explain what you want to do with "how my VMs under setup will be sent to another ESXi"? There's no reason you couldn't use vMotion, including Storage vMotion, assuming you're licensed for it, to move VMs from one NFS-backed datastore on this server to any other ESXi server.

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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
when you install ESXi, ESXi will use all the VMFS datastore for VMs.

But you could pass through one of the disks to a VM, but that would be all 1TB that is presented to the VM, not just a portion.

Have a look at this, a similar All in on NAS is proposed here called Napp It All in One

http://www.napp-it.org/napp-it/all-in-one/index_en.html

http://www.napp-it.org/doc/downloads/all-in-one.pdf
amanzoorNetwork infrastructure AdminAuthor Commented:
JMCG,
The mother board has only one slot for usb key.  I can understand  that freeNas can be installed on a usb key, but in my config it will already be taken by ESXi.  
**************
For your use case, it sounds like you want ESXi to run FreeNAS as a guest and give FreeNAS direct access to the host server's disks. Aside from FreeNAS, your other VMs would be created on datastores mounted (through NFS, I presume) from the FreeNAS instance. If you have enough RAM to spare (out of 48 you may need as much as 8 for FreeNAS - that's what the most recent specs say is a minimum), I'd go for it. I've been casting about looking for a way to get an SSD cache in front of my ESXi server's disks and came close to trying this even though I don't have any RAM to spare.
**************************************************
I will try now installing freeNas as a guest on the local hd by just allocating 10-20GB and enough RAM like you said about 8-10GB.  Yes I have enough RAM to spare.  I will let you know this set up and how it works with HA etc with other server.  At the moment I will be installing only 5-6 servers on ESXi.

Andrew,
Thanks for the detail info.
amanzoorNetwork infrastructure AdminAuthor Commented:
Thanks guys.  Appreciate it.
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