Which virtualization platform?



  • I am just starting out with PFSense, with my hardware arriving on Monday (I went with an HP T730 with 8Gb RAM). Excited to kick this off, having used a traditional "consumer architecture" (modem plus ASUS router) for too long. So, my investigation starts here!

    One of my first decisions is whether to virtualize PFSense. Down the road I'd potentially like to get a little more from the hardware I have coming so my current plan is indeed to virtualize. Let's assume that for now.

    That leads me to which platform to use. I have used Windows / Hyper-V for many years, so that's my comfort zone. But that also seems like a heavy hammer for my PFSense (or other) scenarios.

    So, I am also looking at Proxmox or EXSi. I have precisely zero experience with these two - but that doesn't worry me at all (I love learning new stuff, where there's a justification).

    So, with all that said, I'm hoping for some pointers as to which way to go here. I am actively researching Proxmox and EXSi, with the former being the bias right now, since it is open source and seems to be well-respected.

    What specific factors might play into the use of Proxmox or EXSi for PFSense? Respectfully I'm not too interested in "I use <x> and it's been great", but I am interested in specific reasons why one or the other might be a better choice.

    Thank you.


  • LAYER 8

    @markwill said in Which virtualization platform?:

    EXSi

    i would probably chose EXSi, there is a good documentation here
    https://docs.netgate.com/pfsense/en/latest/virtualization/virtualizing-pfsense-with-vmware-vsphere-esxi.html#
    Open-VM-Tools is available under System / Package Manager
    Could be my impression but there are more people using it here that can help if you have trouble



  • I use Hyper-V, specs in my sig, running on a 10 year old quad core with 4 other Windows machines.



  • @kiokoman Thank you for the response. I will take a look at those docs. Do you happen to know of any specific technical advantages of EXSi over Proxmox or vice versa. For someone like me who will be researching / using either from scratch, is there any clear advantage of one over the other that springs to mind (the fact that a lot of folks use EXSi is indeed a good pointer).

    Thank you again.



  • Performance of the guest os is the main reason people used to pick esxi for pfsense.

    You can probably find comparisons from a couple of years ago. No clue if anyone has bothered to check this recently



  • @heper Thank you. My home network is pretty small and my use cases generally don't put much of a load on anything. Also, I only have a 200 Mbs WAN connection so guessing that pfSense performance on the hardware I have ordered won't be an issue.

    That said, it's good to know that some folks may consider EXSi to offer better performance than Proxmox and I will do some research in this area too. Thank you again.


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