Wednesday, April 1, 2009

VMware ESX and SATA controllers

VMware ESX hypervisor has supported only SCSI internal drives for a long time. The third update of ESX hypervisor introduced support for some SATA controllers like Intel ICH-7. The newest fourth update contains support of ICH-9 and ICH-10 chipsets as well. The same holds for ESXi platform.

The big difference is what SATA mode is supported. For example, the ICH-7 chipset is supported in IDE/ATA mode only, so you can't use use connected hard drives but you can access connected optical drives. The rest of the chipsets is supported in AHCI or Advanced Host Controller Interface mode. In this mode, you can access internal SATA drives.

When IDE/PATA mode is used, you will be able to see internal SATA (or emulated PATA) drives but you can't use it as VMFS storage. VMFS filesystem can be created on SCSI-based disks only.

There exists a nice knowledge base article about the topic. To better understand it, I borrowed an image from the article which is quite self-explanatory:


Matt Jurcich said...

Nice, have to give it a try. Thanks for the info.


Anonymous said...

Configuring tape drive on ESX 3i 3.5.0

In VMware 3i 3.5.0 U4 build 199239 (with installed fresh patch 199239, originally was 153875)
I don´t have an access to tape drive IBM DDS Gen SATA Tape (P/N 43W8480)
VMware is installed on IBM x3650 M2.

In VMware vSphere Client – configuration – storage adapters I see:
ICH10 4 port SATA IDE Conroller

But when I want to add new hardware for Virtual machin (Linux) I see:
SCSI device (unavailable),

All I see on service console is:
# cat /proc/ide/ide1/hdc/model
# cat /proc/ide/ide1/hdc/media
# cat /proc/ide/ide1/hdc/driver
ide-default version 0.9. newide

How can I map tape drive for guest OS (Linux)?

Jason D said...

I've set this up before on different hardware (HP) - tape drives need to be presented as SCSI devices to the VM - you then add a SCSI pass-thru device to the VM - if your tape drive is IDE (really?) then it won't work.