answrman
Contributor
Contributor

Run ESX4 from USB

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Hello -

We have a client that is insisting on running ESX4 from a usb drive he purchased from HP. Their system is HP DL 385 G6, with the P400 RAID card with 512MB RAM and one 147GB 10K SAS drive in each server. Don't ask me why they chose this configuration, they ordered the hardware from a different vendor. I was able to install ESX on the USB drive that is connected to the internal USB port on the motherboard.

The only way I was able to install ESX4 was to use the physical hard drive for the /tmp /log and swap files. I am really trying to discourage the customer from running this in his Enterprise Environment (health care).

Before going any further can anyone tell me if running ESX4, not ESX4i, from a USB stick is a supported by VMware? What will happen when/if the hard drive that holds the /tmp /log and swap files fails? He doesn't want to purchase a second hard drive to put those files on a RAID-1 protected mirror, so I feel like this is a very bad hardware design. The client insists that this is better because there are no moving parts on the flash drive, but I don't think he realizes that flash drives have a higher failure rate than hard drives and that he is running his Enterprise server on a $10 flash drive.

I've scoured the documentation, but can only find information about ESX 4i running from a flash drive. If anyone has any links to documentation stating that running ESX4 from a flash is not recommended or supported I would appreciate it! Thank you.

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AntonVZhbankov
Immortal
Immortal

ESX should not be running from USB flash, it is not designed to do this, ESXi should be.

ESXi is absloutely equal to ESX in high level functionality like VMotion, HA etc. The only thing missing is service console.


---

MCSA, MCTS, VCP, VMware vExpert '2009

http://blog.vadmin.ru

EMCCAe, MCITP: SA+VA, VCP 3/4/5, VMware vExpert http://blog.vadmin.ru

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answrman
Contributor
Contributor

I forgot to mention that all VM's are being stored on a Compellent SAN. My main concern is the single hard drive failing that contains the log, swap and temp files and the fact that the USB is highly susceptible to failure and overheating. I read the KB article from HP about running ESXi from a USB stick stating that the entire configuration could get erased due to electromagnetic interference. I showed that to the client and he still wants to push forward. Thanks again for your suggestions.

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kac2
Expert
Expert

i believe ESXi is only available to be installed to a flash drive. It's getting more common to use Flash or SD cards to boot your Hosts from. This actually reduces the amount of moving parts in the machine and it uses less power for the server.

EDIT** not to mention, alot of hardware vendors (HP INCLUDED) only have a handful of compatible flash drives to use. please check with the vendor.

AntonVZhbankov
Immortal
Immortal

ESX should not be running from USB flash, it is not designed to do this, ESXi should be.

ESXi is absloutely equal to ESX in high level functionality like VMotion, HA etc. The only thing missing is service console.


---

MCSA, MCTS, VCP, VMware vExpert '2009

http://blog.vadmin.ru

EMCCAe, MCITP: SA+VA, VCP 3/4/5, VMware vExpert http://blog.vadmin.ru

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Borja_Mari
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

Hi,

vmware doesn't support esx 4 usb installations because usb devices aren't listed as valid disk storage to install esx 4.0.

Your customer must be advised about this fact. It's not unusual If some weird issues happens in this kind of esx installation.

Anyway if i were you, i would recommend the customer to use esxi 4.0 instead esx 4.0.

The esxi architecture for VMWare is the future and runs so well on usb devices (and of course it's officially supported).

Hope this helps Smiley Happy

Regards/Saludos,

Pablo

Please consider awarding any helpful answer. Thanks!! - Por favor considera premiar las respuestas útiles. ¡¡Muchas gracias!!

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macpiano
Contributor
Contributor

I use an SD card to run esxi 4 and it sits inside the server. It does not need the hard drives for anything, well except for the Datastores on the server itself. It only needs a gig of space. Dell sells it with esxi 4 preinstalled and that means they will be supporting it. So for me let's see-2 hard drives on the server even small ones-how much does that cost? and that means your operating system mighth be intermingled with you datastores. SD card from at least Dell-$25, riser block to hold it-$15 with cable.

Gary

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