Limits on the number of drives seen by ESXi?

I have an HP Proliant ML350G5 with 3 raid arrays. When I installed ESXi 3.5, the OS saw the 1st array but not the other two. Is this a limitation of ESXi or did I miss a configuration step?



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ESXi 3.5 can see up to 256 LUNs via FC or iSCSI. Nothing said about local storage, but I suppose that this number for local storage is not different.


VMware vExpert '2009

EMCCAe, MCITP: SA+VA, VCP 3/4/5, VMware vExpert

When attaching storage such as a MSA70 to an ESX3i host, ESX will not

automatically format it or create the relevant partitions automatically.


can however be done from an SSH connection - using the following


1. Log on to the console or use putty to connect to the ESX host remotely. If

you have not created a user for yourself you will not be able to log in through


2. SU to root. This must be done using the su


root command. If you do not use the - then you will not get root's path and thus

get error messages that say that commands cannot be found.

3. Run fdisk -l. This will give you a list of all of your current partitions.

This is important because they are numbered. If you are using SCSI you should

see that all partitions start with /dev/sda# where # is a number from 1 to what

ever. Remember this list of number as you are going to be adding at least one

more and will have to refer to the new partition by it's number.

4. Run fdisk /dev/sda. This will allow you to create a partition on the the

first drive. If you have more than one SCSI drive (usually the case with more

than one RAID container) then you will have to type the letter value for the

device you wish to create the partition on (sdb, sdc, and so on).

5. You are now in the fdisk program. If you get confused type "m" for menu.

This will list all of your options. There are a lot of them. You will be

ignoring most of them.

6. Type "n". This will create a new partition. It will ask you for the

starting cylinder. Unless you have a very good reason hit "enter" for default.

The program will now offer you a second option that says ending cylinder. If you

press enter you will select the rest of the space. In most cases this is what

you want.

7. Once you have selected start and end cylinder you should get a success

message. Now you must set the partition type or it's ID. This is option "t" on

the menu.

8. Type "t". It will ask you for partition number. This is where that first

fdisk is useful. You need to know what the new partition number is. It will be

one more than the last number on fdisk. Type this number in.

9. You will now be prompted for the hex code for the partition type. You can

also type "L" for a list of codes. The code you want is "fb". So type "fb" in

the space. This will return that the partition has been changed to fb (unknown).

That is what you want.

10. Now that you have configured everything you want to save it. To do so

choose the "w" option to write the table to disk and exit.

11. Because the drive is being used by the console OS you will probably get

an error that says "WARNING: Re-reading the partition table failed with error

16: device or resource busy." This is normal. You will need to reboot.

12. To reboot the server type "reboot" at the prompt.

13. Once you have rebooted you can now format the partition VMFS. DO NOT do

this from the GUI. You must once again log into the console or remote in through


14. Once you have su'd to root you must type in "vmkfstools -C vmfs3

/vmfs/devices/disks/vmhba0:0:0:#" Were # is the number of the new partition. You

shoulder now get a "successfully created new volume" message. If you get an

error you probably chose the wrong partition. Do an fdisk - l and choose the

number with the "unknown" partition type. Note: IF you have more than one SCSI

disk or more than one container the first 0 may need to be a 1 as well.

15. Go to the GUI and in configuration/storage select refresh. You should now

see your new VMFS volume.

One day I will virtualise myself . . .

It's very possible that I installed from a CD containing an older version of ESXi. I reinstalled using the ESXi 3.5 CD and my perceived problem went away.

Thanks for your help.


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