I've been using my Opensolaris BOX for while, with 6 internals drives under ZFS. More recently I've been playing with ESXi and i've got to say this platform is amazing; therefor my plan is to buy a nice SSD drive, install ESXi, create a VM with OpenSolaris and add my 6 disks into the vm and do a zpool import and all my data will be there.

My question is very simple, if I import 6 drives in the VM is there any risk to loose my data? or it will just be very straight forward and ESXi will just make the drive visible to the VM without touching the disk?



I was able to accomplish this using ZFS under FreeNAS in ESXi, with an array originally created on an old OpenSolaris install. The tricky part is setting up the passthru, but vm-help.com is the best place to go, and the pass thru is technically called a raw disk mapping. So to summarize, I created the array on a physical machine, moved the drives into my ESXi server, setup the passthru, and then was able to access all the data through a virtual machine running FreeNAS reading the ZFS drives.

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I'm doing just this.

BACK UP ALL CRITICAL DATA FIRST!!! Do not blame anyone but yourself if your data goes "Bye Bye" when trying stunts like this. You have been warned.

Once you've backed up anything important. Follow this guide carefully. http://www.vm-help.com/esx40i/SATA_RDMs.php

This Howto looks scary, but if you are careful and follow it exactly it'll work first time.

Note the following:

1: Do NOT create physical RDM passthroughs, - Use Virtual ones instead (So use the vmkfstools -r option NOT vmkfstools -z). I learned this the hard way (Some data minor corruption was caused initially by using the incorrect option - not serious luckily).

2: Use a separate Virtual SCSI controller in your VM - So assuming the VM's boot partition is on 0:0 then use 1:x for each of your RDM'd SATA drives.

3:Once you've added the RDM's to your Solaris/BSD... VM. Then you just import the Zpool as you would on a bare metal install. Assuming you've done it right you could then export the zpool and transfer the drives to another zfs capable machine and import the zpool straight into that.

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