FreeBSD 9 On ESXi 5.5?

Graham Allan allan at
Wed Dec 4 01:10:30 UTC 2013

On Mon, Dec 02, 2013 at 04:31:00PM -0800, Michael Sierchio wrote:
> On Mon, Dec 2, 2013 at 4:15 PM, Drew Tomlinson <drew at> wrote:
> > I used to use ZFS and like the redundancy it provides.  However I've googled
> > and there seems to be a lot of posts about ZFS not working well in a virtual
> > machine.
> >
> > Does anyone have any insight on this?  Good idea?  Bad idea that will bite
> > me later?  It is most important to me to have a machine that is reliable and
> > just runs like my old one did than to do anything fancy.  I like a raid1z
> > pool because I could lose a disk and not lose data.  However I do not want
> > to cause problems by using it in a vm since they are so easy to restore from
> > backups.
> The only way to use ZFS pools in any reasonable fashion with ESXi is
> to present iSCSI targets to the ESXi server from the host that has the
> pools.  Just my $0.02 ($0.11 adjusted for inflation).

I ran FreeBSD with ZFS for a while on a whitebox ESXi (5.1) server at home
using raw device mappings to local SATA drives. ESX doesn't support
RDM directly for non-SAN type storage but it can be done. Here's the
page I used to get it working:

Obviously this does need some degree of caution - it worked just fine
for me at home but I don't think I'd stake my job on this setup :-).
Also although ZFS seemed perfectly happy with the pass-through RDM
devices, you aren't getting 100% raw access to the drives (eg SMART
monitoring didn't work).


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