CNewbe choosing a hardware platform for Home Assistant

I’m getting ready to install Home Assistant and wanted to ask which platform will work best for me. So let me say a few things about myself first.

  • I am totally new to Home Assistant.
  • I currently have a few Lutron and Philips Hue and Wiz devices I bought to experiment with
  • I am not new to computers, Linux, or Python. I have an advanced degree in computer science and 30+ years of experience in real-time embedded development. My current interests are robotics and AI.

I want to setup a working Home Assistant system in my house and also a development instance. I have no “feel” at all for how much “computer power” is required. Especially with the news that voice will be a part of Home Assistant starting around right now. My experience with voice and natural language is that a high-end GPU is required at least for training.

I currently have HomeBridge runing on a Synology NAS and I suspect it is the cause of some “lag” when data has to make a double pass (when both sensor and light are bridged.)

Platforms I already own

  1. A Linux based Xeon workstation, wth 16 cores 64GB RAM. It is my main desktop but burns enough power to work as a space heater.
  2. An old Mac Mini running an older macos. It’s a dual-core Intel i3 with 8 GB RAM. It runs 24x7 as a backup server to keep my NAS sync’d to a cloud server.
  3. A Synology NAS (DS920+ 8GB RAM) that currently runs HomeBridge in a Docker container.
  4. I have an old Raspberry Pi3 (not a 4) in a box I could put into service.
  5. I could resurrect any number of 10 year old PCs or notebooks

I kind of hope that HA will run also on the Synology NAS in a Docker container, but I see no way to plug-in a Matter or ZigBee radio to Synology.

One last question, Any reason not to use VMware for virtual machines?

As you are experienced the question really is how much time you have to devote to two things:

  1. Underlying HA Infrastructure - OS, drivers, services, etc
  2. HA core functionality

If you do not want to spend time maintaining the underlying HA infrastructure go for HAOS (HA OS). Any bare metal x86 or hypervisor-based x86 is good (2 cores, 2 or 4GB RAM, 64GB SSD/eMMC).

If on the other hand you have the time and the willingness to play around you can try core or supervised.

I have opted for HAOS as I do not have the time or am I willing to waste my time with anything else. I run all HAOS instances (production, test and development) on Proxmox VE, which makes disaster recovery, high availability and CI/CD possible. You also get the option to run something as a HA add-on to quickly test if something is a viable option and you can then move it to its own KVM or LXC.

It is all about where you want to focus your effort.

For production I suggest HAOS in a hypervisor-based x86 setup. For anything else it depends on how much time you can devote to tinkering. Especially if you can devote no time, then go HAOS for all your instances. HAOS is running HA as an appliance.