How to add a disk to a running VM

This tutorial will show you how to make Vmware autodetect a new virtual disk in a running Linux VM without rebooting it.

1. Start by adding the SCSI virtual disk

In my case I am using VMware workstation and following this link to add the disk. Use the steps relevant for your system, it shouldn’t be that difficult.

2. Status of the disk on the VM

By running fdisk on my Linux VM, I can see that it has two disks attached – /dev/sda and /dev/sdb – both having the same size of 107.4GB. The later is an LVM partition, which I can resize on the fly.

[root@lincenvma ~]# fdisk -l

Disk /dev/sda: 107.4 GB, 107374182400 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 13054 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x00061f7f

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sda1   *           1          39      307200   83  Linux
Partition 1 does not end on cylinder boundary.
/dev/sda2              39         549     4096000   82  Linux swap / Solaris
Partition 2 does not end on cylinder boundary.
/dev/sda3             549       13055   100453376   83  Linux

Disk /dev/sdb: 107.4 GB, 107374182400 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 13054 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x00ea04d0

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdb1               1        3265    26226081   8e  Linux LVM

Disk /dev/mapper/vg_target00-lv_target00: 10.7 GB, 10737418240 bytes
64 heads, 32 sectors/track, 10240 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 2048 * 512 = 1048576 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x153067d3

                               Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/mapper/vg_target00-lv_target00p1               2        2049     2097152   83  Linux


[root@lincenvma ~]# ls /dev/sd*
/dev/sda  /dev/sda1  /dev/sda2  /dev/sda3  /dev/sdb  /dev/sdb1 

[root@lincenvma ~]# ls /sys/class/scsi_host/
host0  host1  host2

Apparently after adding the disk, the VM didn’t automatically detect the disk, that takes us to the next step of re-scanning the disks.

3. Rescan Scsi bus

This is where we run the trigger command, to scan the SCSI bus for everything – channel number, SCSI target ID, and LUN values. Check the /var/log/dmesg log file or run dmesg command in another window to see the action live –

[root@lincenvma ~]# echo "- - -" > /sys/class/scsi_host/host2/scan

[root@lincenvma ~]# dmesg
sd 2:0:2:0: [sdc] Write Protect is off
sd 2:0:2:0: [sdc] Mode Sense: 61 00 00 00
sd 2:0:2:0: [sdc] Cache data unavailable
sd 2:0:2:0: [sdc] Assuming drive cache: write through
sd 2:0:2:0: [sdc] Cache data unavailable
sd 2:0:2:0: [sdc] Assuming drive cache: write through
 sdc: unknown partition table
sd 2:0:2:0: [sdc] Cache data unavailable
sd 2:0:2:0: [sdc] Assuming drive cache: write through
sd 2:0:2:0: [sdc] Attached SCSI disk


[root@lincenvma ~]# tail -f /var/log/messages
Mar 15 01:02:11 lincenvma kernel: sd 2:0:2:0: [sdc] 2097152 512-byte logical blocks: (1.07 GB/1.00 GiB)
Mar 15 01:02:11 lincenvma kernel: sd 2:0:2:0: [sdc] Write Protect is off
Mar 15 01:02:11 lincenvma kernel: sd 2:0:2:0: [sdc] Cache data unavailable
Mar 15 01:02:11 lincenvma kernel: sd 2:0:2:0: [sdc] Assuming drive cache: write through
Mar 15 01:02:11 lincenvma kernel: sd 2:0:2:0: [sdc] Cache data unavailable
Mar 15 01:02:11 lincenvma kernel: sd 2:0:2:0: [sdc] Assuming drive cache: write through
Mar 15 01:02:11 lincenvma kernel: sdc: unknown partition table
Mar 15 01:02:11 lincenvma kernel: sd 2:0:2:0: [sdc] Cache data unavailable
Mar 15 01:02:11 lincenvma kernel: sd 2:0:2:0: [sdc] Assuming drive cache: write through
Mar 15 01:02:11 lincenvma kernel: sd 2:0:2:0: [sdc] Attached SCSI disk

We can see that the system detected the new disk and identified it as /dev/sdc.

In RHEL/CentOS 5.4 or above, the script /usr/bin/rescan-scsi-bus.sh will have the same effect.

4. Validate

At the bottom, fdisk shows the new disk as /dev/sdc with size 1073 MB –

[root@lincenvma ~]# ls /dev/sd*
/dev/sda  /dev/sda1  /dev/sda2  /dev/sda3  /dev/sdb  /dev/sdb1  /dev/sdc

[root@lincenvma ~]# fdisk -l

Disk /dev/sda: 107.4 GB, 107374182400 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 13054 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x00061f7f

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sda1   *           1          39      307200   83  Linux
Partition 1 does not end on cylinder boundary.
/dev/sda2              39         549     4096000   82  Linux swap / Solaris
Partition 2 does not end on cylinder boundary.
/dev/sda3             549       13055   100453376   83  Linux

Disk /dev/sdb: 107.4 GB, 107374182400 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 13054 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x00ea04d0

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdb1               1        3265    26226081   8e  Linux LVM

Disk /dev/mapper/vg_target00-lv_target00: 10.7 GB, 10737418240 bytes
64 heads, 32 sectors/track, 10240 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 2048 * 512 = 1048576 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x153067d3

                               Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/mapper/vg_target00-lv_target00p1               2        2049     2097152   83  Linux


Disk /dev/sdc: 1073 MB, 1073741824 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 130 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x00000000

From here, you can partition the disk and mount it directly or create a PV and merge it with the existing LVM to increase the size of the LVM.

References –

https://access.redhat.com/documentation/en-US/Red_Hat_Enterprise_Linux/5/html/Online_Storage_Reconfiguration_Guide/adding_storage-device-or-path.html

http://serverfault.com/questions/490397/what-does-in-echo-sys-class-scsi-host-host0-scan-mean

https://www.vmware.com/support/ws5/doc/ws_disk_add_virtual.html

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