ESXi 4.1 hard drive replacement

Posted on 2011-03-15
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I have installed a ESXi on a test server that had one 250gb hard drive. ESXi and 3 vm's are installed on the hard drive in datastore1.

I added a second hard drive, created datastore2 and I'm using that for added storage for my vm's.

The original 250gb hard drive is squealing quite loudly and likely going to crash shortly. I can move the vm's to datastore2 or even add a temporary hard drive as datastore3 and move the vm's. But how do I actually reinstall ESXi?

I've seen some suggestions about using a command line but it's not clear. I run a command and backup up the ESXi config and run a command to restore it. Is that after I put in the CD and install ESXi to the new hard drive? Once it's installed I then run the restore command?

It was also suggest I could just do the install and "import" the vm's back in.

Is there a best method?
Question by:AJNS
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LVL 13

Assisted Solution

Randy_Bojangles earned 83 total points
ID: 35140164
If you can gett he VMs off then I'd not ven replace the drive

ESXi will fit onto an SD card and most modern servers have an SD slot (failing that a USB thumb drive will do but people have a nasty habit of pulling these out to stick photos on....)

I'd install to SD from sratch, add the storage and it will pick up the VMFS after a rescan

Then simply add the VMs back into the VIClinet via the browser
LVL 40

Accepted Solution

coolsport00 earned 84 total points
ID: 35140169
What I recommend doing is reinstalling ESXi onto a USB stick. Just disconnect your HDs (temporarily), install the USB and reinstall ESXi on that. Then reconnect your HDs and it should automatically show as VMFS datastores. You can copy your VMs off the current datatstore and onto the 2nd by using Veeam FastSCP: You just need to power down the VMs to do so. Copy the whole folder. When the copy is done, go onto the 2nd datastore, then in each VM folder, rt-click on the .vmx file and select 'Add to Inventory'.

LVL 13

Expert Comment

ID: 35140176
Snap :-)
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LVL 40

Expert Comment

ID: 35140180
I know, right? :P
LVL 11

Assisted Solution

willettmeister earned 83 total points
ID: 35140182
The ESXi install is so easy to do I would just re-install ESXi after you have migrated the VM's and then register the VM's to the "new" host.  
LVL 13

Expert Comment

ID: 35140188
if 2 experts say theexact  same thing at the exact same time then it must be true! :-)

Author Comment

ID: 35140194

that was fast

let me digest that for a sec :)

Expert Comment

ID: 35147837
Make note of your esxi settings for your new install.  

Also, You can buy a Compact Flash to IDE adapter if you are having trouble booting off of USB stick (I did!).  The compact flash IDE adapter will be presented as an IDE drive.  IF IDE isn't supported on your motherboard, you can use a Compact Flash to SATA adapter.

LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 35166400
As a different side note.  I wouldn't recommend using USB/SD if you these servers are production servers or critical in any way.  The reason is that by going that route you loose redundancy that you may/should have on a server using RAID. My 2 cents.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 35200005
I had to spread the points out since you three all said the same thing at the same time.

Thanks for the help

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