Configure Passthrough In VMware ESXi 6.0

In hopes of having a solid storage solution to replace my trusty Readynas  104 I began the hunt looking for different NAS/DAS/SAS solutions that would fit my needs. I needed expandability, redundancy (RAID 1 or grater), reliability, lower power/noise than a full server, ability to connect and share to VM’s and across my network.

I settled on a Lenovo SA120 paired with a LSI 9200-8e card. Right now I’m still getting things configured and setup, but I am very happy with the results thus far!

I needed to configure the LSI 9200 card for VM DirectPathc I/O Passthrough to make this work with my current hardware. It is a simple process, so I made a quick write up.

Configuring DirectPath I/O

Next log into the vSphere client and connect to your server. Navigate to the Configuration Tab >  Advanced Settings. This is where passthrough can be configured by clicking on “edit”.


VMWare Configuration Tab

In the pop up window select a device to pass through (associating device with a VM occurs later.) Make sure that you select the correct device, check the box and click OK.


Select Passthrouh Device

Reboot the host to make the changes take effect.

VMWare Reboot to Enable Passthrough

After the host is backup, reconnect via vsphere . Make sure the VM you are configuring is powered off and edit the VM settings.

VMWare Add PCI

Add PCI Device

VMWare Add PCIe LSI SAS 2008

Add PCIe LSI Device

Add the PCI/ PCIe device from list and click Next and Finish. After this is complete, wait while the VM finishing the configuration, then you can start the VM. Once the system is running you can install drivers or whatever else is needed.

Note: Not every device works with DirectPath I/O, so your millage may vary. Also Make sure that your CPU and motherboard support Intel VT-d or AMD IOMMU. Make sure to double-check that the features are enabled in the BIOS.

Once a devices is configured with passthrough it will not available to other VMs. So don’t plan on sharing the card to other VM’s.  I am using my R710’s H700 to manage all my VM storage so it’s not an issue.


Lenovo SA120: Using Drive Blanks As Trays

I recently purchased a Lenovo SA120 and ordered a few trays to go along. I read online that the blank trays can be used as trays with some “modification” so I wanted to see how hard this was before populating the entire unit with OEM trays. I was unable to find any write up or guide to the process, so I figured I’d help those who are curious.



OEM Tray vs OEM Blank



The red highlights need to be cut/removed.


Tools used:

– Rotary tool

– Drill

– Cutting wheel

– Grinder wheel

– Sanding wheel


In progress


Lining up the screw hole, I used a marker to make a dot and then a 11/64th drill bit to drill the hole.



Final Product




4-10-2016 2-55-57 PM

Working! (note: I move the drive positions from the picture)

Overall this works fine but it does have it’s downfalls. If you already have the tools in the garage/shop then this will get you by if you cant afford the Lenovo Trays. You will need to order one drive tray to use as a template for the screw holes.

Downfalls: You will lose the drive and activity lights the OEM trays have. The blanks take a little force to slide in to the slots when compared to the OEM Trays. Since the modified blanks don’t support the rear of the drive, the drive drops when you slide it in. If you have blank slots you can use your hand to support the drive, if the unit was fully populated you will need to get creative.


Blockade: Raspberry Pi (Install and setup)

I’m sure many people (like myself) have a spare Raspberry Pi laying around and always want to have a cool project or use for it. I recently stumbled upon a really great use for that extra Pi in the house!

Meet Blockade a DNS ad blocker that is easy to setup and is a great ad blocking solution for home or work. Blockade is free and will do the following for your entire network with little effort:

  • Block malware, tracking, & ads on every device in your network
  • Choose a single device, a group, or your entire network
  • Simple software deployment and configuration
  • Custom blocklist & exceptions

Recently the Metiix team added support for the ARM processor and have an package all set for Raspbian.


The install is dead simple and I had the a fresh Raspbian install + Blockade configuration setup in a few minutes.

Fire up that spare Raspberry Pi or use an existing one. Hit the Terminal and type the following:

cd /tmp
unzip /tmp/
sudo ./

*note the build will change with time

From here you will will need to confirm some file locations (default options work great in a vanilla Raspbian install) so keep pressing the [y] key.

Once that is complete the Blockade server will start.


Now you can point your browser to http://localhost:8053 and configure the system (Default username:  admin password:  blockade).

Once logged in you will  be greeted with a screen that looks like this:blockade

Once you are up and running, you can change the default login information, there isn’t much else to configure!

DNS Configuration

To start taking advantage of Blockade you will need to change the DNS server on your PC/Mac/Linux Desktop, or router.

You will be want to redirect your preferred DNS server to the IP address of your Raspberry Pi. Note:Make sure you have configured a static IP address for you Pi.

If you want to test things before making the change on the router, configure 1 system to test.


From the above screenshot  above you can see I have configured my Blockade instance as a primary DNS and then google DNS as a secondary. This allows everything to continue working if they Pi or Blockade were to crash, lose power, etc. You could also configure two separate instances of Blockade as primary and secondary, etc.

If you are planning on integrating this into an environment with Active Directory integrated DNS you can configure blockage as the forwarder (I have not tested this yet).

Improvements/Next Steps

According to Metiix, Blockade should improve network performance. Since up to 20% of internet interactions and traffic contain block queries (unwanted traffic). Once Blockade is in place,  you can look at your Query History page and hit refresh to listen in.

What if Blockade blocks a site I want to visit? You can check check your Blocked Queries and look for any current blocked domain history that you may want to add to your Exceptions list and allow. When Blockade is working you will also see a little “M” on your browser bar.

If you need to disable blockade on the fly, login to the admin portal (http://localhost:8053)  click on “Settings” in the Manage drop down window and turn “OFF” the Blockade Server, then Click Save. Turn it back “on” and Blockade Server will immediately go back to work.

Fore more information, FAQ, and download links check out Metiix’s site.

I have no affiliation with Metiix or Blockade. I couldn’t find much information other than the FAQ on Metiix’s site. Hopefully this will save a few people some time or additional reading and get things running quickly.

I’ll leave you with a image of my Pi tossed into my rack. I still need to find a better mount solution.