No Storage detected on VMWare

Posted on 2012-03-28
Last Modified: 2016-11-23
I have set up ESXi V4.1 on DELL T105 Server with one 1TB SATA HD connected to the SATA port on the motherboard. There is no separate RAID Controller Card or On-Board RAID Controller on this computer.
I successfully load OS into the 1TB HD and boots to the OS on the DELL T105. However when I run VSphere client, it can't find the storage space.
Now my question is that if it loaded OS from the hard drive, why does it not see the rest of the space from the same hard drive?
Question by:sglee
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Expert Comment

ID: 37780424
VMware is a little picky on the hardware. Make sure your server is on the VMware HCL. If it is not, you're maybe out of luck. One thing you could try would be to install ESXi on a USB-thumb-drive and use the internal disk completely as datastore. If ESXi still can't find your drive, you could check the HCL for a compatible RAID-controller and connect your harddrive to this one.
LVL 120
ID: 37781150
Check the VMware HCL (Hardware Compatability Lists) and these resources

Whitebox HCL

Ultimate Whitebox

VMware Communities

You will find ESXi has a limited number of devices it supports.

Dell PERC, HP Smart Array and LSI RAID Controllers are mostly supported and available from Ebay.

Author Comment

ID: 37781741
I understand the HCL.
But what I don't understand is,
When I installed ESXi V4.1, it had to be installed the hard drive because it boot from the hard drive that I selected to install ESXi V4.1.
Then why in the world the same hard drive does not get listed in datastore?
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Expert Comment

ID: 37781830
How do partitions apply to ESXi 4.1 hosts? VMware ESXi installations do not use a Service Console, so need fewer partitions than ESX. Both ESXi Embedded and ESXi Installable automatically create two partitions and a VMFS datastore:

The scratch partition supports the system swap. This is a 4GB partition which is created on the disk from which ESXi is booting. Although the scratch partition is not required, it is recommended by VMwre. When it is present it is used to store vm-support output.
The vmware diagnostic partition is the core dump partition where ESXi will write info about a system crash. In VMware 4.1, the VMware diagnostic partition is 110 MB.
VMFS – all the rest of the local storage is a VMFS 3 datastore. This is an extended partition.

Can you confirm if the VMFS partition is created?
This article addresses the situation in which the ESX/ESXi host is unable to create a datastore because the volumes contain an existing non-msdos partition table:

Hope it helps.
LVL 120

Assisted Solution

by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 167 total points
ID: 37781898
drivers used for storage cobtrollers  are different for the source installation, than those required to create a vmfs datastore for storage of VMs.

Author Comment

ID: 37782080
by: CarlosDominguez, Can you confirm if the VMFS partition is created? ---> how can I tell?

Author Comment

ID: 37782086
If hanccocka is correct, then it make all the sense as to why ESX was able to use the HD to load OS, but the same HD can't be used as a datastore.
LVL 120
ID: 37782150
do you have a datastore call datastore
LVL 120
ID: 37782153
or datastore1
LVL 120
ID: 37782157
example, you can install ESXi on usb flash drive, but you cannot create a vmfs partition on a flash drive

Assisted Solution

CarlosDominguez earned 333 total points
ID: 37782889
So sglee, please, can you check the vmware HCL for your motherboard or server model?

Regarding your last question, about how you can check the partitions created. The answer is the last URL I sent you. Here are the contents:

Open a console to the ESX or ESXi host. For more information, see Unable to connect to an ESX host using Secure Shell (SSH) (1003807) or Using Tech Support Mode in ESXi 4.1 (1017910).

Identify the disk device in question from the log messages. For more information, see Identifying disks when working with VMware ESX (1014953). For example:


Use the fdisk command to display the current partition table on the device.

Using fdisk, run the command:

fdisk -l "/vmfs/devices/disks/DeviceName"

The output appears similar to:

Disk /vmfs/devices/disks/DeviceName: 536 MB, 536870912 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 65 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

                        Device Boot    Start       End    Blocks   Id  System
/vmfs/devices/disks/DeviceName             1        66    524287+  ee  EFI GPT

Make note of the Id and System values (highlighted in red). Depending on the value of these fields, the ESX/ESXi host may not be able to understand the contents of the disk device, and refuse to make any changes. To allow the host to make any modifications to this volume, the volume must have an msdos partition or no partition at all.

Accepted Solution

CarlosDominguez earned 333 total points
ID: 37782924
I have found some articles about problems with ESX(i) and that server model (DELL Poweredge T105). For instance:

Take a look to that reading.

Checking the HCL: I/O Devices - DELL - SATA, it seems that these hardware items are compatible:
Broadcom HT-1100 Native IDE-ATA Dell
Broadcom HT-1100 SATA mode
Intel ESB2 SATA AHCI-mode
Intel ESB2 SATA ATA-mode
nVidia MCP55 SATA Dell

Author Comment

ID: 37783607
Thanks for the insight and suggestions.
It was good to know that T105 might work with ESX V3. But I also can see that I really need a VMWare compatible SATA Raid controller to load ESX V5. So I ordered a separate RAID Controller card.

Thanks for your help.

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