Thursday Dec 06, 2007

ZFS disks, VMWare, and WinXP disk management

In VMWare and 4 physical hard drives I talked about how I couldn't get VMWare Server to use the 4 physical drives I had my ZFS pool on. I ended up archiving the contents (which was mainly blowing away duplicate copies or previous archives to get to the core of what I needed) and recreating the pool on 2 drives.

I wanted to clone my build 77 Solaris image, but I didn't have enough space. Since I had a couple of extra disks sitting there in my system, I thought I would go ahead and move my virtual machines to all of that free space. And there the problems started.

If we look at the Disk Management snapin under WinXP, we can first see that VMWare must be capping the physical drives at 128G:

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Okay, I can live with that for right now, but why can't I right-click on either of the two free drives and do anything? Anything at all!

If you look carefully, you will see that the disks are labeled as 'Healthy (GPT Protective Partition)'. And that is what is keeping me from doing anything with them. Microsoft has this to say about Windows and GPT FAQ. And wiki defines GPT as GUID Partition Table. But I found both of these much later. And I only found this Microsoft TechNet note now: Change a GUID partition table disk into a master boot record disk.

In short, the Disk Management snapin is not going to be able to do anything with these GPT disks.

I tried to use QTParted off of a Knoppix live disk to fix the problem, but Knoppix refused to see the disks. So I booted into a nevada b77 dvd and selected a single user shell. I then used fdisk to blow away the partitions on the two disks. Finally, I rebooted and the Disk Management snapin could manipulate the disks:

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I then started off a copy of the VMWare simulators to the new disk area.

Originally posted on Kool Aid Served Daily
Copyright (C) 2007, Kool Aid Served Daily

Friday Nov 09, 2007

VMWare and 4 physical hard drives

For someone who develops cutting edge system software, I'm actually a late adopter of technology. I fought GUI mail clients forever (or perhaps it was just Microsoft Exchange I was fighting) - I stayed with elm and mutt long past their shelf lives. (And I still prefer mail spools which can be grepped.) But now I use Thunderbird on every system I own.

I finally broke down and bought VMWare Server. And it was a snap to configure and install Ubuntu (I need a Linux NFSv4 test machine) and Solaris Nevada 77. With the first one, I installed Ubuntu off of a DVD. With the Solaris install, I did it off of an ISO.

And I got to thinking, why do I need to dual boot at all? I've got WinXP and Nevada 77 dual booting, and why waste that additional space for Solaris. And, I already love how ZFS lets me preserve my data across Solaris re-installations. My plan is to nuke the raw Nevada partition and run my home directories straight off of the ZFS pools I have created.

The four disks are totally committed to ZFS. And I'm able to add them one at a time to the VMWare Workstation virtual machine. Until I get to the last one that is!

I just checked, it doesn't seem to be something specific with the 4th drive. I added the 4th drive okay as the 3rd drive in the system, but when I tried to add the 3rd drive as the 4th one in the system, I got the very mysterious "Fatal Application Error: reason unknown (type unknown)".

A quick search on didn't reveal the issue. Perhaps I'll have to rephrase my query. Anyway, more to come as it develops.

Originally posted on Kool Aid Served Daily
Copyright (C) 2007, Kool Aid Served Daily



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