Just my two-penneth on the subject. Whilst all of us on here must have a reasonable computing knowledge to be dabbling with Xpenology, its fair to say that the ESX route is considerably trickier. I have used both and both configs have been pretty much flawless (ESX probably shades it), but remembering my ESX setup when it comes to upgrade time is tough. I'm about to go back to bare metal again (purely as I'm using too much electricity with my ESXi on an HP workstation) and, although I'll lose my other VM's, I wont miss the complexity of raw drive configurations (but maybe that is my age catching me up). Just be prepared for what you are getting into, that's all I am saying as neither route is wrong.