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Install NAS4Free on VMware ESXi Part 2

Here we are with the second part of this article. In the previous step we have seen how to create a VM ready to install NAS4Free with some minor considerations that of course can change depending on the available hardware and needs. In this part we’ll start the actual install NAS4Free OS.

As soon as we power on the VM the OS will boot and load the console as shown below. By default the address is serving on http and of course  this can be changed later on. From this console it is possible to run the most basic operations. We’ll start with the step to  install NAS4Free OS system disk on the first virtual disk configured to the VM (20GB disk).

Install NAS4Free VMware ESXI 06

Since the “menu” is running into RAM Memory from mounted ISO we need to install the OS by selecting option 9. This will bring us to the options below. Personally I prefer to do a “Full” installation for the simple reason this will located in a dedicated virtual disk and on a VM we are not running short of additional Disks that can be mounted.

This type of installation will also make upgrading to future versions and new packages easier. As per screenshot below we’ll be able to configure 3 partitions for OS, Swap and Data.

Install NAS4Free VMware ESXI 07

For our installation MBR would be more than sufficient. MBR supports up to 4 Primary partitions and can operate with disks up to 2TB in size. It might be suitable to choose GPT for larger disks or where more partitions should be supported. Of course depending on available hardware we can accommodate different scenarios.

Install NAS4Free VMware ESXI 08

At this point the wizard will show how the partition layout creating one for the OS, one for Swap and last one for Data.

Install NAS4Free VMware ESXI 09

Let’s accept the default selection.

Install NAS4Free VMware ESXI 10

Let’s accept the default selection with the first Disk attached to the virtual machine.

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At this point we can specify the size of the first partition. Even though the minimum is 3GB I’m setting the OS partition to 10GB.

We can now setup the size for the Swap partition. Assuming this should rarely be used it might happen that under heavy loads (for example during compression, de-deplication and encryption) more RAM Memory would be used to complete such operations. For this article the aim is to setup NAS4Free to present iSCSI drives to a SQL Failover Cluster.

iSCSI as a such can be resource consuming especially when it comes down network and memory usage. Personally I like to apply the rule of 1GB of RAM Memory per 1TB of storage. In the previous article we did setup the VM with 2GB of Memory. It should be enough to cover the majority of home lab scenarios with simple requirements.

When it comes down to the size of Swap partition I like to apply the allocated RAM Memory amount x1.5 rule hence 3GB in size. This will ensure this partition can accommodate a full dump of RAM Memory during swapping operations.

Additionally as we’ll see later on the home page of NAS4Free also shows how much disk space is also used for Swap partition along with current memory consumption. Should the requirements grow in the future we can always add more RAM Memory!

As soon as we hit OK to the previous screen now the installer has enough info to proceed with  installation as per screenshot below.

The operation will take a few moments ending with the recommendations below. Let’s press enter to return to previous menu.

At this point the steps to install NAS4Free are complete. Let’s remove the LiveCD iso file from the VM and click on exit.

All the necessary info to boot the VM are now installed on local disk first partition. The iso file has been disconnected and it’s now time to reboot the server by simply pressing option 7.

NAS4Free basic installation is now complete. It is a very easy and quick process. We are now ready to start configuring the OS and this will be covered in the next article.


About the author

Michele Domanico

Passionate about Virtualization, Storage, Data Availability and Software Defined Data Center technologies. The aim of Domalab.com is sharing with the Community the knowledge and experience gained with customers, industry leaders and like minded peers. Always open to constructive feedback and new challenges.


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