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Date:      Tue, 3 Dec 2013 18:54:30 -0600
From:      Graham Allan <allan@physics.umn.edu>
To:        Michael Sierchio <kudzu@tenebras.com>
Cc:        Drew Tomlinson <drew@mykitchentable.net>, FreeBSD Questions <freebsd-questions@freebsd.org>
Subject:   Re: FreeBSD 9 On ESXi 5.5?
Message-ID:  <20131204005430.GB8508@physics.umn.edu>
In-Reply-To: <CAHu1Y70Tcx=t9cXSu+sVQaR-8AuhFvyJJfF9FdHzJ0ELcdqPfg@mail.gmail.com>
References:  <BLU0-SMTP3715B7F52FF0ACE69A856B7B3D50@phx.gbl> <CAHu1Y70Tcx=t9cXSu+sVQaR-8AuhFvyJJfF9FdHzJ0ELcdqPfg@mail.gmail.com>

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On Mon, Dec 02, 2013 at 04:31:00PM -0800, Michael Sierchio wrote:
> On Mon, Dec 2, 2013 at 4:15 PM, Drew Tomlinson <drew@mykitchentable.net> wrote:
> 
> > I used to use ZFS and like the redundancy it provides.  However I've googled
> > and there seems to be a lot of posts about ZFS not working well in a virtual
> > machine.
> >
> > Does anyone have any insight on this?  Good idea?  Bad idea that will bite
> > me later?  It is most important to me to have a machine that is reliable and
> > just runs like my old one did than to do anything fancy.  I like a raid1z
> > pool because I could lose a disk and not lose data.  However I do not want
> > to cause problems by using it in a vm since they are so easy to restore from
> > backups.
> 
> The only way to use ZFS pools in any reasonable fashion with ESXi is
> to present iSCSI targets to the ESXi server from the host that has the
> pools.  Just my $0.02 ($0.11 adjusted for inflation).

I ran FreeBSD with ZFS for a while on a whitebox ESXi (5.1) server at home
using raw device mappings to local SATA drives. ESX doesn't support
RDM directly for non-SAN type storage but it can be done. Here's the
page I used to get it working:

http://blog.davidwarburton.net/2010/10/25/rdm-mapping-of-local-sata-storage-for-esxi/

Obviously this does need some degree of caution - it worked just fine
for me at home but I don't think I'd stake my job on this setup :-).
Also although ZFS seemed perfectly happy with the pass-through RDM
devices, you aren't getting 100% raw access to the drives (eg SMART
monitoring didn't work).

Graham



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