Configuring disks to use VMware Paravirtual SCSI (PVSCSI) adapters

PVSCSI adapters are high-performance storage adapters that can result in greater throughput and lower CPU utilization. PVSCSI adapters are best suited for environments, especially SAN environments, where hardware or applications drive a very high amount of I/O throughput. PVSCSI adapters are not suited for DAS environments.

This table shows the support matrix for use of Paravirtual SCSI adapters for data disks and boot disks for the various guest operating systems and ESX versions. Support shown in the table is from the listed ESX/ESXi version and later versions.

Guest operating system

Data Disk

Boot Disk

Windows Server 2012 (64 bit only)

ESXi 5.0 Update 1, ESXi 5.1

ESXi 5.0 Update 1, ESXi 5.1

Windows Server 2008 R2 (64 bit only)

ESX/ESXi 4.0 Update 1, ESX/ESXi 4.1, ESXi 5.x

ESX/ESXi 4.0 Update 1, ESX/ESXi 4.1, ESXi 5.x

Windows Server 2008 (32 and 64 bit)

ESX/ESXi 4.x, ESXi 5.x

ESX/ESXi 4.0 Update 1, ESX/ESXi 4.1, ESXi 5.x

Windows Server 2003 (32 and 64 bit)

ESX/ESXi 4.x, ESXi 5.x

ESX/ESXi 4.x, ESXi 5.x

Windows 7 (32 and 64 bit)

ESX/ESXi 4.1, ESXi 5.x

ESX/ESXi 4.1, ESXi 5.x

Windows Vista (32 and 64 bit)

ESX/ESXi 4.1, ESXi 5.x

ESX/ESXi 4.1, ESXi 5.x

Windows XP (32 and 64 bit)

ESX/ESXi 4.1, ESXi 5.x

ESX/ESXi 4.1, ESXi 5.x

Because the default type of newly hot-added SCSI adapter depends on the type of primary (boot) SCSI controller, hot-adding a PVSCSI adapter is only supported for those versions that support booting from a PVSCSI adapter.

Paravirtual SCSI adapters also have these limitations:

  • Hot add or hot remove requires a bus rescan from within the guest.
  • Disks with snapshots might not experience performance gains when used on Paravirtual SCSI adapters if memory on the ESX host is overcommitted.