Is the Home Assistant Operating System on a Intel NUC the right way to go?

I’ve been using Home Assistant for a few years now, first on a Raspberry Pi before switching over to a VirtualBox container on an old PC. Everything runs great, except for when my PC shuts down for whatever reason (power/updates/etc.) - I have tried many times without avail to get my PC to autostart VirtualBox on PC startup, followed by starting the VM running Home Assistant, but nothing works.

My goal now is to install Home Assistant OS on an Intel NUC (love the small form factor compared to my giant desktop) so that (similar to my old Raspberry Pi hardware setup) after a power failure, Home Assistant will start back up automatically after turning on.

1st question - is installing Home Assistant OS on my Intel NUC the correct way to accomplish my goal of autostarting Home Assistant on every power-up of the device (vs. docker/etc. which I don’t fully understand)?

2nd question - How do I flash the Home Assistant OS onto the M.2 SSD card in my Intel NUC? The installation instructions say to flash the Home Assistant image onto an SD card but thats it, no other steps or listed? Should I be flashing the image to my M.2 SSD? How do I go about doing that?

Thank you very much for your help!

I have 3 instances, NUC, Pi3 and Pi4.
My main production instance is the NUC and reboots to full running in 95 seconds
Note: z-wave needs a bit longer to initialise
It’s a 7i3 NUC
It consumes 5.8W fairly consistently

So question 1. I believe so, but YMMV

Re the 2nd, you can do it two ways.
Buy an USB enclosure (be careful to check if nvme or pcie (nvme adapters are a bit more expensive).
Alternatively you can write a Linux (eg ubuntu or even debian) to a USB memory stick.
Set the NUC to boot from usb
Write the NUC HassOS image to another stick
Boot ubuntu, use ‘disk’ to write the image to the internal ssd
Set the NUC to boot from ssd

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The description is perfect