I'm using an ESXi 6.5 with some virtual machines to conduct some use case at university. I do not have a full structure nor the ESXi is a production machine (this means I can stop the service as often and as long as I need).
The problem is: I would like to backup the VMs. I tried to export the VMs in OVA format but I always got a network error, so I decide to back them up using an attached USB drive (an external HD from Seagate). To accomplish that, I enabled SSH and SSH to the host, but I could not see the USB HD nor any device like /dev/sd*
Can you help me?
Try below commands from a ssh session to verify your device is available
esxcli storage core device list | grep -i usb
Check mounted filesystems using the command - esxcli storage filesystem list
Stop below service and try above commands again
Also check commad lsusb
first of all, the USB harddisk should be mounted and formatted as VMFS for a host to write data in it. Unfortunately, USB hard drives were not supported to be formatted as VMFS in ESXi host. Sometimes it may not detect the drive. This was till version 6.0. I am not pretty sure if 6.5 allows this. you may research. I will post if I get something more on this.
You may deploy a NAS appliance and try to pass through this device to the NAS appliance. Export a mount from the appliance and add as a NFS datasstore in ESXi host , then move the data. This is just a high level plan of an idea how we can copy the data.
ESXi kernel cannot claim USB disks unless it is formatted with FAT16. And you need to stop usbarbitrator service to release the USB disk to kernel. Then even the FAT16 disk can be mount by kernel there's another limitation of 2GB size of file. If you want to pack the VM into the disk you need to make sure the largest file size doesn't exceed 2GB.
Anyway, using USB disk to back up VM is not an ideal solution. To mount a NFS storage might be better for your requirement.