Wow, is that a 62TB drive in my home lab?

Posted by Paul Braren on Sep 7 2013 in
  • ESXi
  • Hyper-V
  • Storage
  • Virtualization
  • Remember this post, from Dec 16 2011?

    Practical ways to deal with VMware ESXi 5.0′s 2TB virtual disk size limitation by Paul Braren on Dec 16 2011

    Well, 2 Terabytes isn't cool, you know what's cool? 62 Terabytes.

    With my new ESXi 5.5 GA build, passing through some or all of my 4 port USB 3.0 PCI card ports is working out quite nicely (passthrough/VMDirectPath/VT-D). But VT-d has some drawbacks, and it's become less necessary for my current configuration. Why? My affordable external Mediasonic HFR2-SU3S2 RAID enclosure can now simply be formatted as one big 5.6TB VMFS datastore, then VM data dropped right on there, for less crucial stuff, such as my daily backups. Yes, that is a ginormous 62TB drive you're seeing there. Admittedly, it's virtual, and thinly provisioned. I can't actually exceed my physical 5.6TB datastore limit. But I can pretend I can. I configured this using eSATA instead of USB 3.0 passthrough, with no RDM mappings needed. Simple, elegant, nice! And able to handle storage vMotion, should I actually upgrade the physical drive capacity at some point in the future. No resizing of drives, Windows just sees it as 62TB of NTFS.

    Next stop, testing a VM with a modern OS, like Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials (Preview). This time, it'll start its virtual life with virtual hardware version 10, and a UEFI virtual BIOS. Then let's see if I can boot this massive 62TB GPT C: drive. A bad practice for so many reasons. But still, a lot of fun.

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    See also:

    4TB Seagate Faceoff - DX vs DM by JimmyJoe Feb 23 2013
    The Case for Larger Than 2TB Virtual Disks and The Gotcha with VMFS by Michael Webster Sep 17 2012
    Hyper-V Scalability in Windows Server 2012 by Microsoft Oct 3, 2012, updated Jun 24 2013, note that the Hyper-V role in Windows Server 2012 supports 64TB virtual disks

    Sep 20 2013 Update:
    Video of ESXi 5.5 Build133180 (which may well be the final RTM code) now available, demonstrating the creation of a UEFI BIOS VM, and Windows 8.1 installed on that VM's 62TB virtual drive. The physical 128GB SSD, formatted VMFS, holds the roughly 10GB of files, but the VM thinks it has 62TB of GPT type of disk, NTFS formatted as one giant C: drive.

    Sep 30 2013 Update:
    From the ESXi 5.5 Release Notes.

    Configuring virtual Flash Read Cache for VMDKs larger than 16TB results in an error
    Virtual Flash Read Cache does not support virtual machine disks larger than 16TB. Attempts to configure such disks will fail.

    Workaround: None