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I used VMware Converter to do a P2V of my server.

My server had 3 HDDs: C: D: E: (SATA/IDE)

I only included the C: drive (boot) in the image, because I had not intended to need to activate this VM - just access the files.

After doing a P2V I reinstalled the host OS on to C:.

It turns out that I now need to run the old server as a VM... the problem is drives D: and E: are not accessible, but they are needed in order for the server to function correctly.

How can I access the physical drives D: and E: on my host from my VM in a transparent way? I cannot used network shares because things like SQL server on the VM will not let you have the data store on a network share.

Any ideas? Thanks, Jack

Edit: I am using Vmware Server 2.x (latest from site), Windows Server 2008, and SATA/IDE discs.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

I take it that you don't want to / can't physically attach the "D:" and "E:" "drives" to the server computer hosting the VM.

If this is goign to be a short-term thing, the easiest thing I think you could do would be to install an iSCSI target onto a computer that can host these disks and export them as iSCSI targets. On your VM, you could install an iSCSI initiator, connect to those targets, and assign them the proper drive letters. Do note that I'm talking about actually loading the initiator inside the VM-- not in the hypervisor itself. The iSCSI traffic would be coming from the VM (and, as such, you might need to make a physical network connection to create a dedicated iSCSI network and then expose that connections as a dedicated virtual NIC in the VM).

If this is going to be a long-term thing I would convert the disks to VMDK disks and be done with the physical disks. If you get the whole iSCSI thing going you could just add some virtual disks to the VM in addition to the iSCSI targets and copy the contents from the iSCSI targets to the virtual disks.

What you use for an iSCSI target shouldn't matter too much, so long as it can present entire disks as targets w/o requiring any changes to the disks. I think Openfiler can do that, but I'm not 100% sure.

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The D and E drives are physically attached. The physical server configuration was unchanged, but basically a P2V was performed, then the OS was reinstalled on the P. Now I want to run the V on the P! :) – Schneider Aug 2 '09 at 4:12
I thought about iSCSI although doesnt appear to be many target software packages to choose from. Once you export the disks as iSCSI are they locked down into exclusive mode? (this would be fine for me, just curious how it works, stopping disk being modified by a user on physical server etc) – Schneider Aug 2 '09 at 4:20

You haven't explicitly mentioned which product, so I'm going to assume the tag of "vmware-server" is accurate. I'm also assuming you are running your old server as a VM on top of your new server install.

The feature you're looking for is known Raw Device Mapping (Server 1, ESX, ESXi) or SCSI Passthrough in Server 2.

RDM's work great in ESX/ESXi; anecdotal evidence on SCSI passthrough in Server is mixed.

The procedure, according to the documentation for Server 2 (page 157):

  1. From the Add Hardware or New Virtual Machine wizard, click Passthrough SCSI  Device.
  2. Select a SCSI device to use. A physical SCSI device must be attached to the device,  and it must be connected to the virtual machine.
  3. (Optional) In the Virtual Device Node section, select a SCSI adapter and device node  from the drop‐down menus.
  4. Click OK.
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The disks on the host are not scsi though - they are just IDE drives. Does that mean the above wont work? – Schneider Aug 2 '09 at 4:11
Maybe I should downgrade to server 1.x – Schneider Aug 2 '09 at 4:13
I'd suggest try adding the passthrough device either to your current VM or a new one to see what back-end disk options become available. You never know -- it might work :) Downgrading to Server 1 might not be an option if the virtual hardware version for the VM is too new (I think Server 2 is version 7, Server 1 is version 3 or 4). – Greg Work Aug 2 '09 at 4:46
Only option that showed up was 'CDROM' or similar. Didn't show any HDDs. – Schneider Aug 2 '09 at 6:27
I've tried this solution (SCSI passthrough) with SATA drives before on Server 2 and could only get it to work on a Linux host. When I installed a Windows host in an attempt to improve my graphics performance, I couldn't get it to work, even by editing the configuration files manually (as though they were imported from Server 1). Eventually I did have to just bite the bullet and migrate everything into virtual disks. – rob Aug 10 '09 at 23:47

What happens if you try running the converter again to virtualize the D and E drives, get the hard disks copied to your VMWare Server system, then attach the virtual disks as extra drives on the VM? Unless space is an issue I don't think it would hurt to try it...

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space was an issue unfortunately - the two discs totaled 1.5TB. No temporary space was available to convert the disks :( – Schneider Aug 5 '09 at 0:24
Ouch...can you locate an external disk to use as temporary storage somewhere? Could come in handy later. – Bart Silverstrim Aug 5 '09 at 3:13

In the end I decided to go with exporting the discs as iSCSI as per Evans suggestions.

I used a demo of StarWind Enterprise as the iSCSI target; reason being it was the only version of StarWind that seemed to let me export the entire disc ("Disc Bridge mode"). The software seemed pretty good, esp considering all the alternatives I tried (iSCSI CAKE etc) would just cause the windows iSCSI initiator to hang.

The throughtput it only about 10MB/s which is about 20% of what it was on the physical server. Thats pretty bad but this is only a bandaid solution - I will be reinstalling everything when Windows 2008 R2 is made available.

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