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Need to format vmware drives

Posted on 2009-04-17
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Last Modified: 2012-05-06
I recently added additional storage to my RAID controller and reinitialized my drives thinking that would wipe any previos data or configuration.  I am booting off of an internal USB drive that contains my VMware ESXi and it's related configuration.

However, now when I go to VIC and add storage, it shows the Device and the new capacity (3.6T) but says there is only 1.6T available.  It is like there is a 2T ghost LUN that needs to be deleted.

How do I erase all VM configuration on these drives?  Essentially, I want to format and start all over?  I used the "Restore to Factory Settings" but that didn't work either.

Thoughts?
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Question by:KristenHoward
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by:wazoo9000
ID: 24169142
The limit on a VMFS volume is 2TB so I would imagine that is why you only get ~2tb when you format the volume.
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by:aldanch
aldanch earned 400 total points
ID: 24170578
You would need to break up your LUN into two VMFS volumes that are under 2TB.
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by:KristenHoward
ID: 24171961
No, it's not the LUN restriction.  This is before I even get to the formatting.   I have attached some screenshots.



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by:aldanch
ID: 24172131
Did you post the screenshots? I don't see them.
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by:Mesik2pp
ID: 24172158
Under Stoarage adapters can you see that all new added storage is found by the server?
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by:KristenHoward
ID: 24172995
Yes, under Storage adapters I see 3.6T which is the same amount listed in the RAID controller.  
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by:KristenHoward
ID: 24173167
Attached are the screen shots.
Doc1.doc
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by:Mesik2pp
ID: 24174321
Please do rescan under Storage Adapters. And then check Storage, does new VMFS appear?
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markzz earned 1600 total points
ID: 24176467
If you want to delete the original disk you can do so from the VI client via the configuration-storage tab.
If you wan to see all of your disk you will need to break it up into 2Tb Logical volumes at a raid controller level.
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by:KristenHoward
ID: 24179658
Hi Mark,
I don't think that you have to create it at the RAID level:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/VMWare/Q_24216111.html

Besides, I see the 3.6TB listed on the storage controller, but it says that only 1.6TB is available - as if something has already used 2TB and there is only 1.6TB remaining.
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by:markzz
ID: 24180211
KristenHoward
I can't be curtain if there is now the ability of ESX to see and effectively create multiple 2TB volumes in a larger than 2TB LUN, Good for VMWare if you can now do this.
I am suggesting you look at best practice and would suggest you perform your LUN sizing at a Raid Controller level the same as we would do with a SAN.
To decide how harge you should make your LUNs is a contraversial point, my method was to look at the largest guest and times by 3.
Also if you create your LUN at a controller level you can expand them if necessary assuming you have a controller with these functions.
You should also be aware this alows better strip size and writes and off loads CPU cycles from the OS to the controller which is directly related to disk translation.
As a foot note, it's worth undertanding the disk starting sector issues and adjusting you starting sector/Disk offset, I've read that in an IO challenged environment this can improve performance as much as 15%
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by:markzz
ID: 24180223
KristenHoward
Sorry another point and disk breakup.
You should also do this on your Physical servers no matter what OS they run. This again gives performance improvements and managability due to the ovove mentioned.
Partitioning under windows impares performance as does dynamic disks.
Make that expensive controller or SAN earn it's keep.
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by:KristenHoward
ID: 24180249
Hi Mark,
The problem is that when I create my first LUN, I should have the ability to carve out a ~2TB LUN from my 3.6T storage and then create another LUN with the remaining 1.6T.   Right?

The issue is that when I create the first LUN, it says that there is a 3.6T disk, but only lists 1.6T available space (see screenshots attached above).  Even if I choose 1.6T, and then go back to create a new LUN, there is no more storage available to me.  I would think that even if the problem was the 2T limit, it would allow me to create the 2T LUN?  It's almost like it kept track of the old VM's somehow and is reserving the space for them.  

PS - VMware is releasing ESX v4 next month and the rumor is that they have expanded the LUN size to 4TB.  Hooray!  (But I don't think that will fix my issue)
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by:Mesik2pp
ID: 24180272
Actually the 2TB is not the limit of the Lun, but it is the limit of the size of virtual disk you can create on the LUN.

KristenHoward please do rescan under storage adapters and mark both options.
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by:KristenHoward
ID: 24181220
I rescanned and still the same result (see attached file).
I don't think it matters but I have a Dell R900 that has VMware embedded on a USB drive and that's what I am booting from.  The RAID5 array is up and functioning and reporting the correct amount.  I have already reset VMware back to factory defaults as well - but no luck.
Again - VMware sees the 3.6T but only thinks it has 1.6T available.
Doc1.doc
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Author Comment

by:KristenHoward
ID: 24181274
I just found this on a vm posting - I wonder if this is my issue, it seems to be spot on.
http://communities.vmware.com/thread/138421
"It turns out it is a limitation of the underlying hardware. The Dell MD1000 hasn't got the smarts to assign mulitple LUNS to a RAID array. The VMFS <2tb limit per LUN then comes into effect preventing from formatting the rest of the 3.6 tb RAID array."
My array is all internal, but the problem seems identical.
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by:kumarnirmal
ID: 24181345
Mesik2pp, you are wrong buddy.
The VMFS3 Extent can be of a maximum size of only 2 TB. You can combine 32 Physical Extents of 2 TB each to have a 64 TB VMFS3 Volume (which is the max size of a  VMFS3 Volume)
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by:markzz
ID: 24181540
Without reading the doco, my interpretation of how ESX addresses this is you can address up to 64TB of disk.
Again using max 2TB LUNs therefore you need to present 2TB LUNs. This is achieved with a Raid controller which is capable of presenting the disk as individual chunks of disk or logical volumes which ESX sees as LUNs.
With HP controllers even the basic controllers can achieve this, what they can't do is extend a logical volume.
I've not used extents but again my understanding is this is effectively the method of taking multiple max 2TB logical volumes which ESX sees as LUNs and putting these together in a single chunk of disk.
Keep it as simple as possible.
Don't use extents unless absolutely necessary..
Although if you can't create Locical volumes at a raid controller level your need to buy a different controller.
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by:Mesik2pp
ID: 24182113
It is possible that you have the same problem. You should check your hardware documentations.

As for 2 TB limits, it is correct that VMFS3 supports 2 TB and if you want to add more storage than you must use extents.
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by:markzz
ID: 24182302
The way I do it is limit my LUNs to 1TB, of a system needs more it likely shouldn't be virtualised.
Virtualisation is not the end all and be all. Don't be fooled. Not everything should be virtualised.
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Author Comment

by:KristenHoward
ID: 24185842
Hi Mark,
The problem is even if I create one 1TB Lun, all that is left is .6T for my second LUN.  I'm still missing the other 2TB of space that I should have available.
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by:aldanch
ID: 24185999
KristenHoward,

In your PERC interface, do you have it formatted as one RAID array (3.6TB)?

If so, try breaking that up at the RAID controller level, so that you have two RAID arrays amounting to less than 2TB per array. ESXi will see it as two datastores. Then you can go forward with provisioning your VMFS volumes for your VMs.
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by:markzz
markzz earned 1600 total points
ID: 24186336
what he said "aldanch"
Although I suspect it's time to rebuild as very few controllers will allow you to reduce your Logical volume size without firstly deleting it.
My suggestion is blow the entire Host server away.
Reboot and via PERC create a small volume of say 1GB for the ESXi installation to install to. (Don't create any other logical volumes at this point.
Install ESXi
Reboot.
Via PERC create 3x 1TB logical volumes and 1x 600GB Logical volumes.
Reboot and let ESXi start.
Now via the VI Client you should be able to see 4 new Luns totaling 3.6TB of disk.
There is always a logical process to follow to achieve a successful and reproduceable result. Please try this.
Even though I don't know the The PERC interface or the Dell hardware this process must be followed for all hardware and ESX combinations I have worked with.
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Author Comment

by:KristenHoward
ID: 24189650
Hi,
Finally I have success!

I have attached the screen shots for the process that I followed.  Basically, I configured the disks with Raid5 and then created virtual drives with the 2TB limit. Once I went back into VIC, I could add the storage and then the Extent.

Thanks to everyone here, and especially "Gary at Dell" who spent an hour walking through the config remotely until we were successful.
doc1.doc
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