After installing VMware ESXi on Mordor, the next step in my Mordor 1.0 -> Mordor 2.0 project is to regain the basic Mordor 1.0 functionality based on a VM, AKA, set up an unRAID-powered-NAS.
In this post I document the details of my experience of setting up unRAID (version 5.0-beta12a) on my ESXi server (running version 5.1.0). I describe creating a VM on ESXi that boots from a physical USB flash drive (using Plop Boot Manager), my adventures with trying to passthrough the onboard SATA controller to the VM (spoiler: it failed), and other options for configuring the data drives for the VM (Raw Device Mapping, VMDirectPath I/O passthrough).
By far, the most useful resource that guided me in this process was the amazingly detailed documentation by the unRAID user Johnm in his ATLAS post in the Lime Tech forum. I have used guidance and tips from his post extensively, and will probably repeat some in this post.