Physical Drive Allocation with VMs?

Hello all!

I recently built this workstation for a small repair shop environment, and to optimize it I’m wondering if any of you guys could give me pointers on usage of VMs with physical storage.

Given that I’m a complete noob when it comes to virtual machines, I had assumed that I would be able to allocate two SATA drives to one VM and two to another in order to run multiple operations (HDD>SSD clones, file transfers) at the same time. However, achieving that goal has proven to be very complicated and I haven’t yet been able to get it to work. I’ve been trying to use Virtualbox for this, and I can’t get drive access permissions to allow loading of physical disks through .vmdk files which target their positions in the drive order.

I’m open to trying new methods, including going through VMWare or Windows Hyper-V instead, but ultimately I need to be able to distribute physical storage to desired VMs with tolerance to change in drive IDs as I swap out to drives from different customers. I wouldn’t really mind if I had to run command batches for this.

I have more questions, most notably on file access god mode and the use of WIMs in virtual machines, but I will save those for later. Any help on the above would be greatly appreciated.

Generally you want to pool your storage into one big disk (sometimes called an array or pool), then create virtual disks or files for the VMs. This gives a single VM the full performance of all of your disks, and allows you to use RAID for disk redundancy.

I’d recommend Hyper-V over Virtualbox, but also suggest you look at Proxmox (might be a learning curve though). Those two solutions give you software raid. ESX requires hardware RAID, which you probably don’t have available at the moment.

Can’t suggest much more beyond that, I’ve never used Hyper-V myself.

IMO cloning an image of the drive and importing it to a VM would be safer than letting a VM (especially with potentially hidden issues) have access to physical hardware controllers.

Yes it would take longer but it also would have the benefit of keeping the original media untouched in case you have a situation where accidental borking of OS could happen…

From the way it sounds, the OP wants to boot customer disks in a VM.