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How does one set the size of the first storage volume created by the ESX4 installer?

As far as we can see the installer insists on creating a VMFS3 volume which consumes all remaing free space on the selected disk, by default the ESX install / boot disk. This first volume is the location of the Console VM.

Have read many discussions on changing the block size to something other than the default 1MB, but nothing on setting the volume size.

Why do this? Because we want the VMFS volume sector offset to ALIGN=64 for performace reasons. A volume created by the installer uses either ALIGN=16 or ALIGN=32 (really hidden sectors 63 starting offset = 32256 - should be sectors 64 starting offset = 32767). Create the VMFS volume with vClient and the correct starting offset is used.

So we would like to have the installer create a small volume for the Console and leave the rest of the physical volume to be added and formatted by vClient.

There is a whole other discussion re why the installer does NOT correctly setup the sector alignment on all partitions if the first place? Whom ever wrote the vClient understood the issue.

On this topic we have found that the installer use ALIGN=16 and correctly aligns the starting offset at 16384 (16K) if the first 2 partitions are created with DISKPART before running the installer, and will set the partition to ALIGN=32 with starting offset at 32256 when it should be 32767 for a 32K offset if the installer is run against a blank physical volume.

Would be really interested to hear if anyone has been able to adjust the sector offset config during an install!

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

It's quite easy to script every part of an ESX4 install from a jumpstart server, there's a whole section devoted to partition and formating of vmfs volumes.

HERE is a good basic guide of how to do this, also HERE is VMWare's own methods for this too.

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