This was a neat little trick that I picked up in one of our internal storage email distribution groups which I thought was quite interesting. Some of you may recall an article I wrote a few years back on how to trick ESXi 5 in seeing an SSD device which relied on adding an SATP rule for a particular storage device. The actual use case for this feature was that not all real SSD devices would automatically be detected by ESXi and this allowed a user to manually mark it as an SSD.

The other "non-official" use case for this feature allows a user to basically "simulate" an SSD by marking a regular HDD as an SSD and I this actually helped me test the new Host Cache (Swap-to-SSD) feature which was part of the vSphere 5 release. Recently there was a customer inquiry asking for the complete reverse, in which you could mark an SSD as an HDD. I am not sure what the use case was behind this request but I did learn it was actually possible using a similar method of adding a SATP rule to a device.

Note: If you are running Nested ESXi, a much simpler solution for simulating an SSD is to use the following trick noted here.

Before you begin, you will need to identify the storage device in which you wish to mark as an SSD or HDD. Use the following ESXCLI command to do so:

esxcli storage core device list

In the screenshot above, we can see for our device mpx.vmhba1.C0:T2:L0 shows "Is SSD" parameter as false. After running two commands below, we should then see that property change to true.

Marking HDD as SSD:

esxcli storage nmp satp rule add -s VMW_SATP_LOCAL -d mpx.vmhba1:C0:T2:L0 -o enable_ssd
esxcli storage core claiming reclaim -d mpx.vmhba1:C0:T2:L0


Marking SSD as HDD:

esxcli storage nmp satp rule add -s VMW_SATP_LOCAL -d mpx.vmhba1:C0:T1:L0 -o disable_ssd
esxcli storage core claiming reclaim -d mpx.vmhba1:C0:T1:L0

To perform the opposite, you simply just need to add the disable_ssd option. If you receive an error regarding a duplicate rule, you will need to first remove the SATP rule and then re-create with the appropriate option.

Another useful tidbit is that if you are running Nested Virtualization and the virtual disk of that VM is stored on an actual SSD, that virtual disk will automatically show up within the guestOS as an SSD so no additional changes are required.

6 thoughts on “Quick Tip - Marking an HDD as SSD or SSD as HDD in ESXi

  1. I ran these commands to emulate HDD to SSd on 3 of our nested ESXi VMs. 1 of them was success, the other 2 didnt throw any error for enable_ssd and reclaim commands. But when I list, it doesnt how that disk itself.
    Unable to find device with the name mpx.vmhba1:C0:T1:L0

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