sossie7
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Tape drives are not supported with ESX4.0 (for passthrough or otherwise)

Hello all I have just had an interesting discussion with a senior VMware support engineers. I am having difficulties getting a Dell tape drive attached to a host talking to a win 2k8 guest.

I was advised that:

"Tape drives and Media changers are no longer supported for local attachment and pass through on ESX4.0 (Neither were they supported on ESX 3.5). The VM KB article floating around that describes how to attach tape drives and pass them through to guests does not refer to any version of ESX later than ESX3.0.

I was also advised that:

Tape drives are not on the Hardware compatibily list, so are therefore not supported with ESX.

I asked why there was no information to say that this sort of (very common) configuration was no longer supported, and the engineer said that they did not need to advise of something that was not supported when it was never supported in the first place.

Sometimes this does work, but if it doesn't, tough luck.

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36 Replies
AndreTheGiant
Immortal
Immortal

I have a passthrough configuration with a SAS 5/E card connected to a TL2000.

It works both on ESX 3.5 and on 4.0 (but after the upgrade I had to recreate the SCSI passthrough devices).

But I'm using Windows 2003 for the backup server. Windows 2008 give me some problems.

Also my hardware does not support VMDirectPath and maybe this is the reason why it works (cause other people with same card and tape cannot use it).

If you have a supported motherboard, try to use VMDirectPath instead of SCSI passthrough.

Andre

Andre | http://about.me/amauro | http://vinfrastructure.it/ | @Andrea_Mauro
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Dave_Mishchenko
Immortal
Immortal

It's a bit odd that they would say that because this is in the documentation for ESX(i) 3.5 and 4.0

Running the Backup Server in a Virtual Machine

You can back up virtual machine data by running a backup server within a virtual

machine that is connected to a tape drive or other SCSI‐based backup media attached

to the physical system.

When using this method, keep in mind the following:

VMware supports attaching SCSI drives to the ESX Server using Adaptec SCSI

adapters. Using other adapters, such as LSI MPT‐Fusion SCSI, is not supported.

If you are using a tape drive library (versus using a stand‐alone tape drive), the

library must be multitarget, and not multi‐LUN.

Set the tape drive’s virtual target ID in the virtual machine’s configuration to be the

same as the physical target ID.

For information on attaching a SCSI‐based tape drive to your virtual machine, see Basic

System Administration.

Dave

VMware Communities User Moderator

New book in town - vSphere Quick Start Guide -http://www.yellow-bricks.com/2009/08/12/new-book-in-town-vsphere-quick-start-guide/.

Do you have a system or PCI card working with VMDirectPath? Submit your specs to the Unofficial VMDirectPath HCL - http://www.vm-help.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=21.

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sossie7
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Hi Dave,

I had a look through all the doc's I couldn't find the reference to: Running a backup in a virtual Machine. Do you know what guide its in? I would like to refer the support tech to it.

Cheers.

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Dave_Mishchenko
Immortal
Immortal

For 3.5 - http://www.vmware.com/resources/techresources/1035

For 4.0 - page 20 - http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vsphere4/r40/vsp_vcb_15_u1_admin_guide.pdf.






Dave

VMware Communities User Moderator

New book in town - vSphere Quick Start Guide -http://www.yellow-bricks.com/2009/08/12/new-book-in-town-vsphere-quick-start-guide/.

Do you have a system or PCI card working with VMDirectPath? Submit your specs to the Unofficial VMDirectPath HCL - http://www.vm-help.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=21.

sossie7
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

I pointed out the documentation that says tape pass through is supported in ESX4.0, this was their response:

-


Thanks for providing the document references and details regarding this issue we have already sent a request to our documentation team to correct it. If you read the Document it states to refer the Basic Administration Guide for more information but there is no information available there for configuring the VM.

Please let us know if you have any further queries.Looking forward to hearing from you.

Technical Support Engineer

VMware Global Support Services

-


So the official word is that ESX4.0 does not support locally attached tape devices at all. Any admin guides that say otherwise are a documentation mistake.

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ConstantinV
Hot Shot
Hot Shot

you can import tape drive directly into VM using SPTI.

StarWind Software Developer

VCP 4/5, VCAP-DCD 5, VCAP-DCA 5, VCAP-CIA 5, vExpert 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
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dmadden
VMware Employee
VMware Employee

I'm not trying to second guess support but that doesn't sound correct to me.

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sossie7
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

dmaddem your post is not very helpful for others that may come across it, if you work for VMware perhaps you could get the official word from support for us. Not what does or doesn't "sound" correct.

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sossie7
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Dave, its not possible to try this with an Adaptec card. There are only two Adaptec SAS SCSI cards available; the 1045 and the 1405. Neither of these cards are on the VMware HCL.

All the Adaptec cards listed on the HCL are Raid cards. Pluggging Tape drives into Raid cards is not supported.

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colintyrrell
Contributor
Contributor

Hi,

I was reading this discussion with great interest.

I'm trying to run a Backup Exec 12.5 job on a Dell t710 server using ESX 4.0; but it is constantly failing.

The tape drive is connected using the SCSI controller through vmware.

Is there a viable solution? Or should I simply give up and retire before my customer demands an explanation??

thanks

C

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TimPhillips
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

I just connected it directly to VM with help of SPTI solution.

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colintyrrell
Contributor
Contributor

Tim,

what's the SPTI solution?

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TimPhillips
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

SPTI - SCSI Passthrouht Interface. It seamlessly transports any device to guest. So, with help of SPTI your guest OS will see your tape device. Cool stuff.

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colintyrrell
Contributor
Contributor

Oh, you make it sound so easy!

I'll look in to this tomorrow; thanks Tim

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TimPhillips
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

If you are lucky - you will do it without any problems, and if not - you will to change a little bit config of it.

About SPTI I got to know from Constantin, look above, and he helped me to configurate it.

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colintyrrell
Contributor
Contributor

Hi,

I presume SPTI isn't freeware?

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TimPhillips
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

SPTI is just a protocol. You need a target, supporting it. As I was said - I`m using StarWind for this purposes.

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ChillY85
Contributor
Contributor

@Tim

i got a question, where is your TapeDrive running?

Over the ESXi or on a extra Backup Server?

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colintyrrell
Contributor
Contributor

Hi ChillY

the backup tape was installed on the ESX server

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