I want two virtual servers to share the same disk (one R/W, the other one R/O) Can I do this on VMWare ESX, setting up the same virutal disk on both servers?


You can share disks in VMware ESX by editing the properties of the SCSI controller for "virtual" or sharing mode. This will allow you to access the same LUN/disk from two different virtual machines.

This will not allow you to have one system using it R/W and the other R/O. It is designed for use in clusters with cluster aware filesystems.

  • Thanks Kevin, Now I know my limitations, and perhaps I can use OS permissions to prevent undesired access to the R/O part. – Nicolas De Irisarri Jun 12 '09 at 14:56
  • It isn't really a permissions issue. It is an issue that Windows, as an OS (or any other OS), expects full access to the file allocation tables, etc. that manage the disk. If you have two OSes touching those tables, even if you are trying to make sure one of them is never writing, they're going to interfere with each other. It might be possible with Linux to mount the drive RO which could work, but I've never tried it. Good luck! – Kevin Kuphal Jun 12 '09 at 15:01

Here is a way to do it, create a lightweight no gui install of linux, install samba. share out the drive as a file server. You can do this with any distro, 2 min setup after you have it installed, seriously.

  • Running iSCSI would be better than Running SAMBA – Zypher Jun 12 '09 at 2:14
  • Yes it would, but hes trying to share a physical drive, the only way to do that is a file server. You would have the same limitation with a NAS drive. – XTZ Jun 12 '09 at 13:43

ESX does not support this. Although you might be able to do something with a clustering file system and raw device mappings. Also as of 3.5 U2 (VC/vSphere 2.5 U2) you can use MS Cluster services to cluster the servers.

  • -1. Yes it does. There's a sharing mode. This shares just the physical disk and it's up to you to use a clustering filesystem. – kbyrd Jun 12 '09 at 2:45
  • if you notice his question is can i have a filesystem R/W and R/O ESX cannot do this. So, i was answering his question. If you notice the upvoted question Says no you can't do this either. – Zypher Jun 12 '09 at 4:16

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.