Solaris 11/11 Hard Drive Spin Down


Active Member
Mar 28, 2012
Toronto, Canada
Hi Everyone,

First post. I want to start by thanking everyone on this site for all the information they have made available such that I could make this build possible. Skip ahead if you want, heh.

Just 6 months ago I was using a windows file server with no redundancy and drawing over 100W. and a total mess for file locations, was difficult to find what I needed because I would shuffle things back and forth as the drives filled up. That said it was stable and had a bunch of great services running on it. On a very small budget (< $150) I rebuilt the system using ESXi 5 and Solaris 11/11 with Raidz redundancy. I changed the e6400 processor to a celeron g530 ($40!) and now the system draws 51 W idle but with all drives spinning. I'm very happy with the build, and also that I rebuilt it a second time with ESXi. First time around was bare metal and without s server board for IPMI i was suffering, but my first experience with ESXi has been grand, it seems like my lust for a server board was unjustified. I also was thinging I should get VT-d and wa pricing out a core i5 and a m1015, but only later discovered RDM and it turns out that wasnt really a warented upgrade for me either.

In summary:
Asus h67 matx board
Intel Celeron G530
8gb Ram
5 SATA disks
51W idle but spinning
ESXi 5 /w Sol 11

I would highly recomend a build like this for anyone researching a budget, low power, but good performance file server. I almost did an amd e350 build but this was only $20 more and will saturate GBE easily as opposed to capping around 70 MB/s so I hear. Approx same idle power but probably 4x performance.


Anyways, moving on to the topic at hand. Many many hours of research and I can't figure out how to spin down the SATA drives when Idle. The drives are 'RAW device mapped' to the solaris VM, so by my understanding it is Solaris that needs to tell them to spin down. All I have found are some scripts which offer questionable functionality, and certainly nothing on how to idle spin down properly in Solaris. Can anyone lend assistance on this last problem I have.

Thank you!


Well-Known Member
Dec 31, 2010
There is currently no support for disk spin down in Solaris 11.
(Solaris Express 11 and OpenIndiana have spin down support)

I have not tried RDM but as far as i know, all transfer is going through
ESXi drivers, so there is no low level access to disks. Maybee it will not work either.
You may ask this at vm-help forum

RDM is experimental and not a supported ESXi option, there are reports about
bad stability and performance. It is not the suggested way. Better is using
passthrough which gives Solaris full access to the controller and disks with
Solaris drivers. Main advantage of RDM is that you do not need a vt-d capable
system with a second disk controller for pass-through.

But maybee such a config can be an option for home use
Last edited:


Active Member
Mar 28, 2012
Toronto, Canada
This is what I feared, but could not confirm. It is a shame since I backed myself into a corner with Zpool version 33, so I guess now I just need to swallow the electric bill until a future version comes out that does support it, or I replace my 1TB drives with larger ones and can change my zpool version.

I suppose I should retract my support for using RDM over VT-d. My very limited experience is positive, but I am not aware of all the risks it presents. It would have been over $250 EXTRA just to get VT-d (core i5 minimum and a m1015 card). For home use I would sooner run bare metal I believe as I truly don't need the extra performance.

Thanks very much.