When you create a virtual machine, a default virtual hard disk is added. You can add another hard disk if you run out of disk space, if you want to add a boot disk, or for other file management purposes. When you add a hard disk to a virtual machine, you can create a virtual disk, add an existing virtual disk, or add a mapped SAN LUN.

You can add a virtual hard disk to a virtual machine before or after you add a SCSI or SATA storage controller. The new disk is assigned to the first available virtual device node on the default controller, for example (0:1). Only device nodes for the default controller are available unless you add additional controllers.

The following ways to add disks can help you plan your disk configuration. These approaches show how you can optimize controller and virtual device nodes for different disks. For storage controller limitations, maximums, and virtual device node behavior, see SCSI and SATA Storage Controller Conditions, Limitations, and Compatibility.

Add an existing hard disk that is configured as a boot disk during virtual machine creation.

To ensure that the virtual machine can boot, remove the existing disk before you add the boot disk. After you add a new hard disk to the virtual machine, you might need to go into the BIOS setup to ensure that the disk you were using to boot the virtual machine is still selected as the boot disk. You can avoid this problem by not mixing adapter types, and by using device node 0 on the first adapter as the boot disk.

Keep the default boot disk and add a new disk during virtual machine creation.

The new disk is assigned to the next available virtual device node, for example (0:1) You can add a new controller and assign the disk to a virtual device node on that controller, for example (1:0) or (1:1).

Add multiple hard disks to an existing virtual machine.

If you add multiple hard disks to a virtual machine, you can assign them to several SCSI or SATA controllers to improve performance. The controller must be available before you can select a virtual device node. For example, if you add controllers 1, 2, and 3, and add four hard disks, you might assign the fourth disk to virtual device node (3:1).

You can add a virtual hard disk to an existing virtual machine, or you can add a hard disk when you customize the virtual machine hardware during the virtual machine creation process. For example, you might need to provide additional disk space for an existing virtual machine with a heavy work load. During virtual machine creation, you might want to add a hard disk that is preconfigured as a boot disk.

You can add an existing virtual hard disk to a virtual machine when you customize the virtual machine hardware during the virtual machine creation process or after the virtual machine is created. For example, you might want to add an existing hard disk that is preconfigured as a boot disk.

You can use a raw device mapping (RDM) to store virtual machine data directly on a SAN LUN, instead of storing it in a virtual disk file. You can add an RDM disk to an existing virtual machine, or you can add the disk when you customize the virtual machine hardware during the virtual machine creation process.