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Is there anyway to connect a USB hard drive to an ESXi Guest OS?

Posted on 2008-10-11
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Last Modified: 2012-05-05
I have a ESXi installation running Windows SBS 2003 R2 as the guest OS. However I can't use my USB hard drive to backup SBS as I would if I were running it without ESXi.

Is there a way to connect the USB hard drive into the SBS OS?

If not, what are my options?

Basically all I need is to be able to backup SBS 2003 every now and then. Would an internal HDD be the best way of doing it, or NAS, or is there another way?

Thanks in advance.
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Question by:DReade83
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paulsolov earned 2000 total points
ID: 22694909
Connect USB hard drive on another system and share as a share folder. Use any host of backup solution to backup the system.

Another method is by using Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery for Small Business Server to image the system and push it to usb hard drive share on another system or a regular share folder.  This will allow you to do incremental images during the day "hot imaging" and provide granular restores of your mailboxes/emails into pst files.  This will also give you capability of restoring directly to the ESX server using the built-in tools in the applicatin to convert image to vmdk and push to ESX or push image via vmware converter.

It will also give you capability to restore to dissimilar physical hardware if the need ever arises.

My $.02
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Expert Comment

by:azjeep
ID: 22913661
Get a Digi AnywhereUSB and use it to connect the USB drive in your guest OS, and then backup in the same manner that you are used to doing.

The AnywhereUSB is basically an IP gateway to the USB devices.  You just plug your USB device into the AnywhereUSB, assign it an IP, and install a little IP to USB driver in the guest OS.

This is also a good solution for apps that need USB dongles in guest OSs.

http://www.digi.com/products/usb/anywhereusb.jsp
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Author Closing Comment

by:DReade83
ID: 31505327
This was the best method in the end. Connected the USB device to my workstation, set it up as a network drive, and mapped to the drive from the server via the workstation. Works quite wel over the Gigabit LAN. Thanks! :-)
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