I'm planning on using FreeNAS (was considering openfiler but freenas seems simpler) for my home NAS box running off ESXI. I have managed to get local sata drives to mount in ESXI (http://serverfault.com/questions/216902/esxi-add-datastore-without-partitioning).
I've had one of the drives fail on my before and I was able to retrieve most of the data off it using windows tools (I'm not much of a linux guy I know enough to be dangerous!).
If I go the freenas route in the event that something goes bad what would be the best file system to use so that I could pop the drive out of the freenas box (vm) and put it in another pc running windows so I could try and run various recovery tools to get the data back.
All in all its not a major problem if I lose the data just would be a bit annoying, so I'm not looking for suggestions around backing up etc.
I was considering using NTFS that the drives are already formatted as but it appears that while freenas does support NTFS that its a bit buggy and not 100% reliable, anyone know if this is still true? Read that on a forum somewhere.