migrating esxi server install to usd drive - what happens to existing datastore

egrotjahn
egrotjahn used Ask the Experts™
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we are rebuilding our esxi server - currently installed on mirrored drives.  We have 2 mirrored sets - 1 with OS and 1 with Datastores.  We are going to install esxi on a usb drive and replace the existing os drives with higher capacity drives.

The question is:

If we install esxi on a usb drive on our existing server, will it be able to see the datastores on our data drives?  

Will the vmware install overwrite our existing datastores or reformat them?

Any help is appreciated.

thank you,
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Top Expert 2010
Commented:
Yes...it will see the drives...it will see them as VMFS volumes and not overwrite. I always recommend testing the process though. If you have a single drive you can add to your host as a datastore with a single VM (no OS needed), and test out the process.
Paul SolovyovskySenior IT Advisor
Top Expert 2008
Commented:
I agree with coolsport00 although I would backup the VMs just in case.  
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
Nothing will happen, but please make sure you have a backup of the vmfs datastore, ive seen a few instances where the datastores were reformatted. whoops!
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Cloud Architecture Manager
Commented:
trying to improvise on what the experts has suggested, why not disconnect the disks currently holding the VMFS datastores and install ESXi on the USB drive and then connect the VMFS and scan for storage.

This would avoid the need for backup
Paul SolovyovskySenior IT Advisor
Top Expert 2008

Commented:
I would backup in either case...just in case the ESXi install doesn't pick up the signature and resignatures the volume.
Naga Bhanu Kiran KotaCloud Architecture Manager

Commented:
the only reason why i was suggesting to disconnect and reconnect is to avoid disk utilization for the backup.  

However, backup of the VMFS volumes is always recommended.

paul:

on a side note i believe the resignatures was a issue in ESX 3.5 and vsphere 4.0 and this seems to have been fixed in vsphere 4.1

i had recently run into this issue of resignatures and while working on that i came up on this information.

otherwise one can always resignature the volumes from the VI client or using vspherecli or esxcfg tools


regards
bhanu
Paul SolovyovskySenior IT Advisor
Top Expert 2008

Commented:
I agree but I wouldn't want to be the 1 in 100 where it just doesn't work.  I've had good results as well but how much do you like your job when it doesn't go well.
Naga Bhanu Kiran KotaCloud Architecture Manager

Commented:
yes very true, a workaround is not always the best path to follow

egrotjahn,

you have the suggestions now so make your plan and post back if you run into issues and paul,coolsport, hanccocka are there for expert advise.

regards
bhanu
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
You should always have valid backups before any configuration change. He/she who does not either does not follow good change management practices, and is at risk of service outages.

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