ESXi on External USB or JUMP Drive

Hi,

  I have gone thru setting up ESXi V4,1 and V5 on traditional internal hard drives.
  While learning how to set up ESXi, I saw some articles that advocate the use of either USB Jump Drive and use internal hard drives you have in your server as data partition?

  I am ready to install VMware Server for my customer and going to order a new Server with 6 SAS 15K HDs. I would like to use all 6 HD space as a one big data partition if I load OS on a separate storage device.

  If you have personal experience, can you shed some light on the subject?

 Also is it worth buying a paid version of ESXi vs free version?

Thanks in advance.
LVL 1
sgleeAsked:
Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

coolsport00Commented:
Yes, absolutely install on USB...no reason not to. My buddy @hanccocka has an article on how to even make a backup in case of (rare, if any) USB failure: http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/VMWare/A_5409-How-to-Backup-an-ESXi-installation-on-an-USB-Flash-Drive-or-SD-card-for-security-or-redundancy.html

If you can, yes, get 'paid' version of ESXi to be able to use vSphere APIs for VM backup capability...or....well, EASIER VM backup (& replication) capability. Depends also if you want availability with HA, etc.

~coolsport00
0

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
I would install ESXi onto a USB flash drive or SD card.

Here is the VMware KB on installing 4.1 on USB/SD:
http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1020655

Here is the VMware KB on installing 5.0 on USB/SD:
http://kb.vmware.com/kb/2004784


@coolsport00: has already posted my EE Article

How to Backup an ESXi installation on an USB Flash Drive or SD card, for security or redundancy.

For $500 you get the ability to backup your VMs!

VMware ESX/ESXi Backup Guide

0
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
We've been installing ESXi on flash drives since 2004!
0
Ultimate Tool Kit for Technology Solution Provider

Broken down into practical pointers and step-by-step instructions, the IT Service Excellence Tool Kit delivers expert advice for technology solution providers. Get your free copy now.

sgleeAuthor Commented:
hanccocka:coolsport00:

OK I will try Jump Drive today and get back to you.

As to getting a paid version of ESXi, if the only advantage is for the backup, here is my take:

In my last posted question, hanccocka: taught me how to backup entire image of a virtual machine in VSphere client (by going to datastore and download files). This server that I am setting up is for Terminal Servers, some light App servers. There is not much data to backup. So once I set up Virtual Machines, I am going to back up their images. Then all i need to do is to backup data files on a daily basis on external USB hard drive.
That said, is there a compelling reason to buy a paid version of ESXi?
0
coolsport00Commented:
There is a reason IF there is a 'feature' in paid version you need:
http://www.vmware.com/products/datacenter-virtualization/vsphere/small-business/compare-kits.html

If all you need to back up is data WITHIN the guest, then you're good to go, really. A full VM Image backup is good for recovery because it mitigates the need to do data restore is all.
0
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Yes, but for that Backup you have to TURN OFF the VM!

Would it be nice, if you could Backup machines whilst they were on!
0
sgleeAuthor Commented:
"for that Backup you have to TURN OFF the VM!", yes That was the only downside. But since this is done only once or after major changes/updates are made on the virtual machines, I can do shutdown VMs at night or weekend to perform the image backup.

By the way in order to install ESXi on a jump drive, what do I need to do in Computer BIOS?
Do I format the Jump Drive in Windows OS first?
 

0
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
VMware ESXi installation does everything for you.

Ensure you server can boot from usb, sometimes youll need to change the boot order to usb first!
0
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
No need to format!
0
sgleeAuthor Commented:
OK I will try it this afternoon and post the result.
0
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Use a quality flash drive.
0
coolsport00Commented:
It's pretty simplistic, really. No need to do much more than regular install. The KBs (depending on your version) @hanccocka posted give a very nice step-by-step....should go pretty quick! (~ 8mins or so)
0
sgleeAuthor Commented:
What is the mim. size of Jump Drive? 2GB, 4 GB , 8GB?
0
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
4GB is ample.
0
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
2GB is min size, but we always use 4GB
0
sgleeAuthor Commented:
Onec I set up the ESX on the USB drive and create some virtual machines, what is the best way of duplicating the Jump Drive just in case it goes bad over the time?
0
coolsport00Commented:
Look at the link I provided in my 1st post. @hanccocka did an 'article' on how to create a duplicate...
0
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
VMware

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.

Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.