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Been trying to find the ideal way to setup disks/partitions for Linux guests on ESXi. Seems as though Linux is falling behind when it comes easily adding disk space. The end goal is to be able to add disk space to a Linux server without rebooting the server or taking the server offline.

Ideally, I would expect adding disk to a Linux machine should be as easy as adding disk space to a Windows machine. I expand the vmdk file from vSphere > Open disk mangler > find the disk and extend volume. Would have to use command line tools in linux which is no big deal, but I haven't been able to find a solid way to exand filesystems on the fly.

What is everyone else using for disk setups on their linux guests? Has anyone been able to acheive adding storage space to linux without downtime? Can it be done without using lvm?

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Depending on your version (see comments) there might be downtime for adding a second disk. Older ESXi versions can't add the disk while the VM is running.

Without LVM you also need to boot into recovery/emergency mode with your installation disc, since you can't extend the active system partition while it's mounted.

There are examples around on the web on how to get it done (with downtime), like here.

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ESXi can quite happily add additional disks, or even expand existing disks without requiring the VM to be shut down. The hard part is extending an LVM volume while the OS is still running. – PhonicUK Dec 10 '12 at 10:17
@PhonicUK Oh ok, is that some recent addition? Last time I worked with it (about a year ago) it couldn't do that. – Oldskool Dec 10 '12 at 10:19
It was there in ESXi 4.1, I don't know about earlier versions (I currently run ESXi 5) – PhonicUK Dec 10 '12 at 10:19
@PhonicUK OK, thanks for that insight. Updated the answer to reflect it. – Oldskool Dec 10 '12 at 10:21

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