USB Passthrough lost on reboot

Hi,

I am experiencing strange things trying to configure USB-Passthrough on ESX 4.1 Update 1.
My goal is to pass through a USB 3.0 interface card (NEC uPD720200) to a virtual host.  Platform is Fujitsu Primergy TX200 S6, VMware is ESX 4.1.0 348481

I can see the card I want to pass through.  It is marked as supporting passthrough.  It is connected to "Intel 5520/550/X58 I/O Hub PCI Express Root Port 3" which is marked as not supporting passthorugh.  I can select it, it shows it as configured and asks for a reboot.
After the reboot no devices are configured for passthrough - I can start over without result.

I tried the same with the onboard USBs.  Same thing.
The only thing I was able to configure for passthrough through a reboot was one of the Intel I350 NICs, even though it also is connected to a PCI Express Root Port not supporting passthrough.

Am I missing something?

Thanks,
Ralph
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Ralph ScharpingDigital TherapistAsked:
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)Connect With a Mentor VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Okay, firstly USB External hard disks for Backup purposes are extremely slow and unsable in our opinion, the read and write speeds are very slow. (USB2 and USB3, whether in PCI Passthrough Mode or Native USB Passthrough).

As you have already stated, I would recommend the network and using of NFS backup, now you can find some NAS units, e.g. WD Worldbooks that also support USB, and you can connect the USB hard disks to the NAS directly, backup to the USB external hard disk through the NAS, and then remove.

Users, also have issues, in USB devices attached to machines, being detected sometimes, when you'll be removing them daily.

You should be able to add a USB Controller, followed by a USB Device to the Virtual Machine, without using and adding a PCI Card or device. Connect the HDD to the server, and this can be added as a USB device directly to the machine.

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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Its possibly not supported, not all cards are supported.

Are you trying to add a USB3 card for backup? If so, you may not be happy with the results, USB backup to external hard disks are slow.
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Ralph ScharpingDigital TherapistAuthor Commented:
Is this typical behaviour if a device is not supported?  Besides is says that it _is_ supported.
It acts the same with all the onboard USB-Ports.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
If the device is not supported anything can happen.

Why USB3?
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Ralph ScharpingDigital TherapistAuthor Commented:
Speed (I know you said that's not true).  
And because it's a card - since the onboard ports did not work with passthrough.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
what are you connecting?
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Ralph ScharpingDigital TherapistAuthor Commented:
Transcend USB3 2,5" 1TB Hard Drive.
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Ralph ScharpingDigital TherapistAuthor Commented:
But it's invisible so far.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
What USB device are you wanting to connect to the VM?

Did adding a USB device not work for you, from the VM settings?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
and this is for backup or otherwise?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
You can add a Virtual USB Controller, and add a USB device currently connected to your existing USB ports to a virtual machine - does that not work for you?
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Ralph ScharpingDigital TherapistAuthor Commented:
I don't understand your question "Did adding a USB device not work for you?"
Is there something I don't know about?

I mean to connect a USB-HDD to my administrative virtual Win7 workstation running Veeam Backup & Replication 5 and use it to backup all the other production VMs.
Usually I use an NFS NAS for this purpose, but this customer absolutely wants removable USB-Disks.
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Ralph ScharpingDigital TherapistAuthor Commented:
It needs to support changing devices daily without interaction on ESX-level.  Does it?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
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Ralph ScharpingDigital TherapistAuthor Commented:
Sounds great - learned something new there.

Does this WD Worldbooks-NAS you suggest support daily exchanged USB-Drives without doing anything?  In what file system does it format the USB-Drives - do you happen to know?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
The WD Worldbook NAS NFS Solution is a solution we've used for clients, that want to use USB External Hard DIsks! (despite us advising us against it).

The daft thing is the cost of a WD Wordbook Ethernet attached NAS in the UK, is about the same cost as an external hard disk! So we do not really see any reason why not to use 7 WD worldbook NAS!, rather than attach 7 External Hard disks to them (day by day).

Yes, you just remove it. The NAS does not format them, it uses them in FAT32 or NTFS mode.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
we would recommend if you can stay away from Server attached USB, it's poor, and very slow for your client, we've been there many times.
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Ralph ScharpingDigital TherapistAuthor Commented:
sorry to appear even more stupid than I am, but I cannot find this anywhere.  I find My Book World, but that has nothing to do with exchangeable disks.  Could you point me to a specific product page?  

I am looking for a way to carry a HDD-based backup out of a building on a daily basis.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
You connect your External USB HD drive to the USB port on the back of the WD World Book, and then you share it. Just like you would share any folder on the WD World Book.

You USB hard drive then becomes a removalable, network shareable device.
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Ralph ScharpingDigital TherapistAuthor Commented:
Not the answer to my question, but a solution for my problem. Thank you very much.
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