I have my VM's setup on ESXi 5.5, they are running on an SSD datastore. I have some HD's that I want to add to one of the servers that are formatted in ext3. Is it possible to add these drives to one of the server's without adding them as a datastore, which seems to destroy the partition table?
So I want the VM to recognize the drives as they are and not have to transfer data in any way. Is this possible?
Best option: Backup the data on the ext3 drives, add them to your host server, create the new data store, restore the data from backup.
If retaining the drives' formatting is a primary concern, you might be better off placing those drives into another server and using iSCSI to access that 2nd server.
If retaining the use of those hard drives is the primary concern and you have two other servers or decent computers that could be used temporarily, another possibility would be:
Set up your ext3 drives in server number 2 and set that up for iSCSI.
Purchase a large, inexpensive drive of sufficient capacity to hold the data on the ext3 drives, place it in server 3 and copy the data via iSCSI from the ext3 drives in server 2.
Set up the Ext3 drives in your ESXi server and let it reformat them into a datastore.
Copy the data via iSCSI back from server 3 to the new datastore.
Return the other 2 servers to their normal duties.