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VMWare ESXi 4 as a file server?

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Hello there,

Got a server running on VMWare ESXi 4, currently with one Linux virtual machine, more to come.

My goal is to use the server as a storage place/file server within company network as well as test environment (thats what i need multiple virtual machines for).

My question is: Is there any way to use ESXi 4 as a file server separately of installed virtual machines? Or do I have to use one of virtual machines as a storage place? If so, is there any way I can connect to this storage place WITHOUT using VMWare vSphere (which I'm currently using to manage server)? Say, add network drive from within Windows on workstations.

Those looks for me like a basic questions however I'm pretty much newbie here so I'm not really sure whats doable Smiley Happy

Cheers

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Expert
Expert

Hi, Welcome to forum

AFAIK, No, You can't use VMware ESXi itself as storage/file server.

You have to use VM in it and that VM should get this service to other client.

As long as you want to use this host (ESXi) as your test environment (put some VM on it for test), you should be careful about your bandwidth and I/O, may be the test VM needs a lot of bandwidth or I/O, and if your host can't answer all the VMs need (file server and test VMs), you will see a low performance.

If I miss anything; please correct me, thanks.



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If you found this note/reply useful, please consider awarding points for "Correct" or "Helpful" If there's any mistake in my notes, please correct me! Sohrab Kasraeianfard | http://www.kasraeian.com | @Kasraeian

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Expert
Expert

Hi, Welcome to forum

AFAIK, No, You can't use VMware ESXi itself as storage/file server.

You have to use VM in it and that VM should get this service to other client.

As long as you want to use this host (ESXi) as your test environment (put some VM on it for test), you should be careful about your bandwidth and I/O, may be the test VM needs a lot of bandwidth or I/O, and if your host can't answer all the VMs need (file server and test VMs), you will see a low performance.

If I miss anything; please correct me, thanks.



-= If you found this note/reply useful, please consider awarding points for "Correct" or "Helpful" =-

-= If there's any mistake in my notes, please correct me! =-

-= Thanks =-

If you found this note/reply useful, please consider awarding points for "Correct" or "Helpful" If there's any mistake in my notes, please correct me! Sohrab Kasraeianfard | http://www.kasraeian.com | @Kasraeian

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Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Easiest way is probably run a little openfiler VM in your environment. As mentioned though, if you are running development/test VMs with heavy IO you may cause problems with your file server. Provided the fileserver function is itself a non-critical thing then go with it, if not you ought to look at a separate storage system.

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Contributor
Contributor

Thanks for your answers,

I figured out that some files could be stored on disk itself using SSH (so ESXi would be used storage-like), however I'm not finding it as a good idea. Little openfile VM solution is probably what I'm looking for, however I got no clue if theres any way to connect VM straight from client computer (using FTP maybe?) or how to do it.

My architecture should looks like:

Client PC -> FTP Client -> ..... NETWORK ..... -> Virtual Machine on server operated by VMWare ESXi4, say Windows Server VM and its FTP server -> Storage space on server machine

and way back. I am not sure if I'm clear with this and I hope it's doable, all I want is to connect services given out by my Virtual Machine (like FTP, SMTP and so on) without using vSphere and logging into Virtual Machine itself.

Just came to my mind: Are VMWare Tools helpful in any way in this case?

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Enthusiast
Enthusiast

You wouldn't have to use the VI client at all to connect to either an openfiler or windows VM, you could use ftp, smb/cifs or whatever, straight to the IP/name of the VM. That's all managed within the VM guest's OS itself and vSphere really doesn't know (or care) what you are doing there. You only need to use the VI client to install the VM in the first place and for subsequent management in the case that you cannot use native tools.