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I currently have Solaris 11 Express running on bare metal. I'd like to convert the machine to an ESXI host and run the existing os as a virtual machine.

I have ESXI setup, the virtual machine made, if I boot the vm from the recovery disk the drives and lsi2008 controller is visible. Everything looks like it should work, but the vm bios does not seem to try and boot from the controller.

Is this just impossible?

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did you ever get an answer to this? – Ryan Nov 3 '13 at 22:40
up vote 2 down vote accepted

It's quite possible to host a virtual guest with a passthrough controller, but it's not possible to boot from one. I've documented this configuration here in the past.

I don't think this question would appeal to a large audience, though. This is a pretty esoteric request.

The purpose of the passthrough controller is to provide dedicated access to a hardware resource, bypassing VMware. However, even in this situation, your VM needs to live somewhere. That means the VM folder, .vmx files, logs, RAM .swp files, etc. need to be located somewhere where VMware can see them. For me, that means VMware-accessible storage separate from the passthrough device. The LSI 9211 SAS controller is still perfectly usable for data disks and non-boot disk purposes.

DirectPath I/O PCI configuration for LSI 9211-8i controller enter image description here

Virtual machine configuration with passthrough device configured enter image description here

zpool listing showing the drives connected to the passthrough controller

[root@Davalan ~]# zpool status -v
  pool: vol1
 state: ONLINE
  scan: scrub repaired 0 in 1h44m with 0 errors on Sat Jul  6 13:12:06 2013

        NAME                               STATE     READ WRITE CKSUM
        vol1                               ONLINE       0     0     0
          mirror-0                         ONLINE       0     0     0
            scsi-35000c5003af99fa7         ONLINE       0     0     0
            scsi-35000cca0153ec2d0         ONLINE       0     0     0
          mirror-1                         ONLINE       0     0     0
            scsi-35000cca01540e340         ONLINE       0     0     0
            scsi-35000cca01540e298         ONLINE       0     0     0
          ata-STEC_M8IOPS-50_STM000136649  ONLINE       0     0     0
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