I have a Vmware ESXi server running at home.

This has a 6-port SATA motherboard (Asus Z8NA-D6), with the following drives

  • 1TB
  • 2TB
  • 3TB
  • 4TB
  • 4TB
  • 4TB

I have a Windows 10 media server with a system partition and then a data partition. The system partition is only around 150GB and the data partition is around 15TB, created as a spanned volume.

There are obviously multiple layers here:

  • Layer 1 - Physical disk
  • Layer 2 - Vmware virtual disk
  • Layer 3 - Windows partition

I tend to increase my available storage over time so this has resulted in smaller virtual disks being installed on a single physical disks, virtual disks being increased in size, and other confusing results. I have just purchased an 8TB drive, and intend to remove the 1TB drive from the system and replace it with the 8TB.

Currently my Windows dynamic disk is spanned across 7 virtual disks stored on all six drives. Although accessing the dynamic disk is easy, managing it is hard. Replacing the 1Tb drive with the 8TB is far from trivial.

So I want to remove the dynamic disk so that there is a 1-to-1 between virtual disks and partitions. Obviously this would mean six drive letters, given six physical drives.

Is there a sensible way to manage this?


The best-practice approach to accommodate storage growth is to use a RAID controller. You also want to manage your storage at the (Hypervisor) host level, not in the virtual machine itself.

Ideally, you would use a RAID controller that supports expandable virtual disks (VD). As you add or replace fixed disks, the RAID controller will migrate the data from the old disk to the new disk, then let you expand the VD to take advantage of the new drive's additional storage capacity.

From the Hypervisor host's perspective, that one VD would appear as a single fixed disk on which you would have a single virtual disk that serves as your VM's data volume. Once the RAID VD is expanded, it's a simple matter to expand the VHD, then expand the data volume within the VM.

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