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I've got a brand new HP Proliant Microserver N40L here, which I want to use mainly as a NAS system (because it has four hard drive bays) but since it also is a full-featured homeserver with enough RAM and CPU power, I'd like to use it for some other tasks like a little web serving, IRC bouncing, Git Repositories, etc.

I would prefer FreeNAS as an operating system for the NAS functionality but it doesn't seem I can use that OS as freely in regards to packages and configuration as I'd like to.

Which would be the better approach:

  • Using two VMs on a Linux host, one for FreeNAS, one for all the other stuff?
  • Using a normal distribution, since all can export smb shares and manage RAID arrays (and I don't think I'm gonna need that extraordinary performance that ZFS shall bring in FreeNAS, or do I?)

I can't decide between these alternatives, maybe someone has an argument for one or both of them. Thanks!

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I'm using Debian GNU/kFreeBSD exactly on a recent HP MicroServer: ZFS+Samba+LAMP. Unfortunately, there aren't virtualization tools available.

An alternative could be to install the native ZFS port http://zfsonlinux.org/ on a standard GNU/Linux distribution of your choice (with virtualization tools).

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