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I toyed with the idea in the past few months of virtualizing a workstation machine (with ESXi/Xen/etc), basically having it run some very basic server stuff behind the scenes; this was more of an experiment than an actual necessity. I found that using the hardware available, I couldn't directly pass through hardware like the video card, to have it run one of the VMs as a workstation.

My question is, how much will Hyper-V (on Windows 8.1 Enterprise) hurt disk access on the Linux VM? I don't see an issue with running something like Ubuntu, configuring md, and just keeping the disks offline in Windows, but there might be concerns I'm unaware of. The motherboard and processor do not support VT-d (IOMMU), or else this question would be far more straightforward.

  • Can it be done? I'm thinking yes.
  • Larger risks to corruption/data loss with Hyper-V involved?
  • Performance hits? Not super concerned, but it would be nice to know.
  • I would obviously need to be able to access the array over LAN/through the Windows host.

Hardware:

Intel i7-4770k
Asus Maximus VI Hero
20gb (2x4, 2x8 sticks, matched speeds and latencies, each in dual channel)
Samsung 840EVO (to run the virtual machines)
3x 4TB WD Red (for RAID5 storage, growing into 4 soon enough)

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So, long story short, this is entirely possible. You use diskmgmt.msc to put the desired disks Offline, and then you use Hyper-V Manager's virtual SCSI controller to pass the physical disks to the VM. Did this, set up Linux Mint, running mdadm, and RAID5 was achieved no differently than it would be on a dedicated box.

That said, there are definite concerns that will stop me from using this full time. For one, SMART status isn't passed to the VM correctly; it will need to be monitored from the Windows host. To get around this, you'd have to use a hypervisor with bare metal access, like esxi or xen. For all intents and purposes, this exercise is POSSIBLE, but not worth the trouble.

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