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I have a physical linux server that I'm considering moving to a virtual linux server running on the standalone Hyper-V R2 hypervisor. Theres alot of unused cycles on that box that could be shared with other machines. Normally this would be a pretty easy choice, but this particular server is hosting an mdadm raid5 array on it. Once I get a similar linux virtual server running, is there a way to add the discs that make up the array to the virtual machine and have it use them directly?

In other words, I dont want to have to convert them all to virtual discs and then rebuild the array; I want to just use the existing discs and partitions in a kind of 'pass through' mode. The array is working just fine, I dont want to go through all the I/O of moving it off these discs to new, virtual, ones. Hyper-V supports a mode called 'passthrough', would that do the trick?

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Can you provide more details? Are you sure that ESXi will run on your existing server? Are you sure the hard drive controller is supported under ESXi? –  Zoredache Sep 23 '09 at 2:32
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ESXi? He's talking about Hyper-V from Microsoft, not ESXi from VMware. –  mrdenny Oct 12 '09 at 6:57

3 Answers 3

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Yes. In the Hyper-V management OS, take those disks offline. This can be done either with the Disk Management MMC snapin or through the command line with diskpart.exe. Then, when configuring the VM, add a Virtual SCSI controller and attach hard disks to it. The disks that you offlined will show up as candidates for assignment.

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I've found that it's also important to have the administrator account from the Hyper-V server registered via cmdkey (or similar) on the administration client machine. Otherwise, the client cant connect to the VDS service and enumerate the disks. –  Jeff Shattock Feb 16 '10 at 18:50

It may be possible to setup a raw device mapping. It depends a lot on what type of hardware you have.

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It's possible to do the raw device mapping. I've not used Hyper-V, but on VMware Workstation I had a Linux install I ran physically as well as from within Workstation on Windows. I identified my array with UUIDs to allow device names to change without issue (e.g. /dev/sda becoming /dev/hda or something similar), this worked without problems. As long as Hyper-V allows you to directly access drives you could likely virtualize the whole machine with a minimum of downtime and fuss. Linux won't complain too much about hardware changes as long as you have proper support for the Hyper-V virtual hardware, which is generally built off generic drivers.

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