NUC instead of Pi4

My Pi4 unexpectedly died on me a few days ago. Now, taking into account either high Pi prices or long lead times at those who keep old prices, it pushes me to think about NUCs.

For NUC I have two options available at the moment, one is based on Celeron J4005 (4GB, 240GB SSD) and the other on i3-5010u (8GB, 120GB SSD). I am leaning toward NUC (i3 version) because of a few add-ons one cannot install in an ARM environment.

The questions:

  1. I have a regular backup made on my Google drive. Can I use a backup made on ARM to restore settings on the x86 system?

  2. How much RAM and disk space is needed by the HAOS?

  3. I am not certain if I would choose HAOS as the only platform on a NUC or would I rather make it a Docker appliance in a system with a few other Docker images. On one hand, it is reasonable that HaOS with its dependencies stays alone on a hardware platform. There are many useful (not media-oriented) addons that can be installed through Hassio Addons using HA as supervisor, like on the PI.
    What would be the advantages and disadvantages of using plain Linux with Docker and adding a HA image, besides a few other images, against installing HAOS as a supervisor and adding a few images through it?

I have used Docker, but I am not proficient with it. I have run devenvs and tested dockerized apps inside docker inside Linux VM, inside Windows, but I have never run a 24/7 environment of any importance inside Docker. Seems like too many points of failure, but it may be just my inexperience talking.

Edit: looking through similar questions here and on Reddit, I would probably rather go for a dedicated NUC for HAOS (with possible addons) and another NUC for Dockerized services on a Linux flavor (Debian/Ubuntu).

And, an answer to a frequent question, no I do not run any cameras. I may add one or two in near future, but my system mostly consists of ESPHome-based devices and HA is mostly for presentation and interaction with them.

What are your thoughts on the matter?

Thank you for your time

  1. Yes

  2. 2GB RAM and 32GB Storage. Minimum for HA. Then you have the requirements of your addons / containers which can vary from next to nothing (SSH) to considerable (NVRs and image recognition).

  3. You have the flexibility to run anything that can be containerised, but you have to look after the updates and OS updates. It’s not an “appliance like” experience like HA OS.

I’m running an older NUC (d34010wykh) which has an Intel Core i3-4010U with 250GB SSD and 8 GB Ram. At first i ran it as a VM on the NUC but i installed HAOS in the end as i wanted it as an HA server and nothing more. Plus i had some USB issues, which were prob down to something i did but not having to deal with that was a big plus for me.

As for your questions, tom_I already answered most. I’ll just add to those:

  1. Yes and no :stuck_out_tongue: The database is finicky. So if you want to keep your history and such
    you’ll need to take some extra steps:
    Make sure you are using the MariaDB addon instead of the default one.
    It should now stop and restart the DB while doing a backup.
    Database corruption after full restore - is this “normal” still? - #7 by Sddawson

  2. Your 8GB should be enough for now

  3. I would advice running HAOS alone if you want maximum stability and 0 issues. (And yes, of course there are going to be installations with a VM that will never have an issue :smiley: )
    Plus any USB pass through will eat something of your CPU.

You probably don’t need 2 NUC’s - here’s an alternative idea:
Get a NUC, and get Proxmox onto the NUC, and then you can get the “appliance like experience" running a HAOS VM under Proxmox, you can also get all kinds of different containers.

… the same thread mentioned tteck’s work, which I have to say is quite impressive. Things you want to achieve but not (yet) available as an add-on in HAOS, you likely find something useful among tteck’s scripts.
Proxmox Helper Scripts | Proxmox Scripts For Home Automation (tteck.github.io)

Not for everyone I know, but if I’m in your shoes I probably would (force myself to learn Proxmox and) go this route.

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My HA is running on a dedicated NUC and I love it. It’s fast, it’s reliable and you can store a lot of info on it.

Thank you all for your comments.

I like the zero-issue option. Currently, my system is not so widely spread that I cannot control something without HA integration, but as soon as I add window blinds and the boiler to the setup stability will be paramount.

@k8gg I want to learn Proxmox, Traefik, and some other tools too. Thank you for the valuable resources, but I will go the route of dedicated hardware for HAOS and at some later moment another unit with Proxmox and all the other appliances, like torrents, media streaming, and network helpers, (maybe even a HAOS backup server) on that other unit. That unit might also be a bit more capable than the one that will run HAOS and it will help reduce electricity consumption because all the VMs and Docker are currently running on my main PC.

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I just moved this weekend from a pi4 to a Lenovo m93p (like this one: New Lenovo M93p Intel Core i3 256GB SSD 8GB Win10 Micro Tiny Desktop Home PC VGA | eBay )

I installed proxmox on it, and then did the following:

  • Used belena etcher to write home assistant os to a bootable USB drive, and then installed a new vm from booting that.
  • When I accessed the home assistant os image, I chose to restore the backup that I took from my old pi instance.
  • Then I forwarded the USB from the host to the home assistant vm image.

All worked perfectly at that point, took less than 2 hours. It’s much faster, and all works great.

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I switched to an Intel NUC i3 about two years ago- it has been the best decision for Home Assistant. I am running native HAOS Generic x-86 image) as this server is exclusive to Home Assistant. It’s remarkably stable and no docker management needed. I have a 500GB M.2 main drive, but only using 4% of it, so overkill. I don’t recall how much RAM is in the NUC, probably 32GB, and probably overkill.

Now a restart takes 15 seconds. Longer for core updates. Node Red deploys take 5 seconds. A snapshot takes about 30-seconds.

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Yeah not really, there seem to be a lot of issues with HAOS updates lately, around 8.0/8.1…

That’s news to me. 8.1 is running just fine on my NUC.

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What kind of prices are you seeing on the lower-end NUCs these days?

One I have set my target on is a second-hand one, NUC7i3BNK based on 7100u 4GB with 128GB SSD and power supply it goes for 120EUR. The one mentioned before got sold before I could act, that one had i3-5010u, 8GB, and 120GB for 110eur. New ones based on J4005 with 4GB are starting at 170eur, and in cheapest version have 320 or 500GB mechanical drive.

Why are people hung up on NUC? A PC is a PC. There are plenty of computers with the same or similar form factor.

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Up to recently, I did not even know that a NUC is … what it is. But, it is a convenient little device from some perspectives, a laptop without an integrated display and keyboard, a space-saving, and a power-saving device. I would also assume a nightmare when the motherboard dies, similarly to laptops.

From a B2B perspective, you can purchase an integrated third-party UPS which is nice for 100% up-time. When managing a fleet, it’s easier to manage an image with the same architecture (e.g. AARCH64) across all devices as opposed to having to manage multiple images.

Widget that are all the same make life easier :slight_smile:

Nucs are not aarch64. Nor are we talking b2b.

I have three NUCs in my basement (on a UPS). One is Home Assistant, one is for Plex and the last is running Ubuntu for those things that Linux does better than Windows.

They have been running for two years without a single moment of problems.

There is also a Raspberry Pi3 which is my MQTT broker and a Viewsonic VOT133 (Point of Sale) PC that is a small NAS. The Sonic is slow, but it runs Ubuntu and only cost $35 on eBay.

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That doesn’t explain why you chose nuc over the many alternatives.

Compact, well built, wall mount (important when building a server wall).

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