external Hard Drive with VMware ESXi Guest

Posted on 2012-09-18
Last Modified: 2012-09-24
How do I use USB Hard Drives with our Server 2008 R2 virtual server that is in VMware ESXi 5?
I'd like to be able to use a number of them or large capacity thumb drives for daily data backups.   I obviously don't want to have to restart the Guest OS each time I plug/unplug a device.
I've tried passthrough of the USB ports, but that achieved nothing.
I've tried adding a USB controller, but all that does is allow me to attach USB devices connected to my laptop that uses vSphere Client.
Question by:Reece Dodds
    LVL 116

    Assisted Solution

    by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
    LVL 7

    Author Comment

    by:Reece Dodds
    Thanks for your suggestion.
    I tried this but it only allowed me to connect to devices on my laptop...

    I achieved what I wanted using a different method as I do not wish to need to connect to vSphere every time I plug/unplug a hard drive.
    So what I did was went to the advanced option on the Host configuration, and setup a passthrough for all USB controllers and the SATA controllers (my HDD's are SAS on a LSi MegaRaid card).
    This allowed me to then "add PCI/PCIe device" to the Guest OS's and assign SATA and USB controllers to each Guest.
    It took a good darn while to determine which USB ports belong to which controllers, but I got it sorted.

    Is there a better way I should be doing this?
    LVL 116

    Accepted Solution

    What you are doing is called VM Direct Path I/O which should not be necessary.

    USB Passthrough should work as per my article.

    You could check the usb.log file, on the server to check your usb devices are being recognised.

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