Passthrough existing SATA drives to ESXi VMs

Enable SSH on the ESXi host

SSH in (ssh user@server) and run command “ls -l /vmfs/devices/disks”

To identify your hard drive, look for a t10 entry with only rw access and without an additional entry such as :1 attached at the end. Example:

-rw——- 1 root root 1000204886016 Nov 16 06:04 t10.ATA_____WDC_WD10EZEX2D60WN4A0_________________________WD2DWCC6Y1ENVDD7

Use the vmkfstools command to turn this HDD entry into a vmdk file which can be attached to a VM. Example:

vmkfstools -z /vmfs/devices/disks/t10.ATA_____WDC_WD10EZEX2D60WN4A0_________________________WD2DWCC6Y1ENVDD7 /vmfs/volumes/SSD/Ubuntu Server/Cache.vmdk

The vmdk file needs to be created inside the datastore and VM folder you are passing to. Make sure the new vmdk filename does not conflict with other files in the folder

Finally, edit the VM settings in ESXi and add a new SCSI controller (only need to do this once for multiple drives). Then add an existing hard disk (selecting the new vmdk file we created). Once the existing hard disk has been added, expand it and change the SCSI controller to the one you just added and change the disk mode to Independent – persistent.