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Which Virtualization software will allow direct access to HDD's


Don W
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I have one WHS 2011 machine that I built using a 16 disk server case and I want to virtualize FreeNAS but I would like to let the virtualization software be able to have direct access to the hard drives, I tried to figure out if VirtualBox allows that but it looks like it would be too much of a headache too setup in VirtualBox. How about VMware and Hyper-V? I have read in these forums that VMware is very picky about hardware, and I do not have Server 2008 but have heard there is a free version of Hyper-V.

 

Any Thoughts???

 

Don

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Each one has its drawbacks or features, if you like. You can most certainly pass thru drives to Hyper-V whether they be internal or external to the host.

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I found VMWare ESX to be a lot more picky about the hardware it was running to do this. I have an external 4 bay hard drive box that is connected via an eSATA card. I was unable to pass the drives through to my VMWare machines as there was not driver for the host to see them. I tried everything as I really wanted to use ESX for my virtualization.

 

With Hyper-V however I was able to install the drivers on the Core OS and it saw all the drives. Then with a few tricks (set the drives as offline and add them to the virtual machine) I was able to see all the drives in the virtual machine. I use FlexRAID on the 4 drives.

 

There were a few other things I liked about have the Windows Server Core OS. I was able to get my UPS working on it as well as a few other things.

 

So far its working pretty well for me.

 

If you have network speed problems take a look at the network card. It was a pain in the ass to stream anything with the MB network card. I purchased an intel card and now get over 100MB transfer easily.

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Virtual box is pretty straightforward but runs on top of an OS. I would got with Hyper-V unless you need USB in which case you need ESXi which is more confusing but more powerful.

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