VMWare guests - sharing an internal hard drive

Hi all,

Description of my home lab setup:

- ESXi 5.5
- One Server 2012 R2 Standard VM
- Three Windows 7 Pro VM's connected to the Server 2012's domain
- AMD motherboard that has IOMMU

My question has to do with backups. Can i share one internal hard drive among all the VM's? Is this a good practice? Or is it better to give one guest (Server 2012) exclusive access to the HD?

Thanks in advance.
Go-BruinsAsked:
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
My question has to do with backups. Can i share one internal hard drive among all the VM's?

Simple Answer - No.

You can create a network share on a server or workstation, which they can all access.

But you backups should be away and OFF the ESXi 5.5 host, if it fails, you will lose all your VMs, including your backups!
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Go-BruinsAuthor Commented:
I see. Thank you.

But if I have a separate physical hard drive in the ESXi host machine (apart from the HD that hosts the VM's), I can give the Server 2012 VM exclusive access to this HD, and have it do backups to it, correct?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Yes, I see no reason why not, BUT you may have to create a datastore on this single physical hard drive, and then create a virtual disk on the datastore.

However, I have written an article here, which does exactly want you want, but this is unsupported, but it's doable, and done in Home Labs!

HOW TO: Add Local Storage (e.g. a SATA disk) as a Raw Disk Mapping (RDM) or Mapped RAW LUN to a virtual machine hosted on ESXi
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Go-BruinsAuthor Commented:
This could be exactly what i need.

From a "best practices" standpoint, am i better off backing up the Server on a separate NAS box - something like a Synology box?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Yes, most definitely, backups are then OFF the server completely!

That's why I do with our Labs, and all Production Servers.
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Go-BruinsAuthor Commented:
That way, i could ensure that all the VM's get access to a hard drive(s).
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Go-BruinsAuthor Commented:
Thank you.
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