ESXi 4.1 Free - Can I copy Clone or Template to USB External Drive

I have successfuly attached my external USB to a W8 VM as per hanccocka's instructions in Tutorials.
However if possible I would rather format my 2 TB USB external hard drive and connect to ESXi so I could copy either a Clone or Template of my virtual machines to it.  My datastore has some room, but I would rather save it to add to DC01, FS01 & AP01 if needed. Or any new VMs needed in the future.  Datastore is not on a NAS, but is on the server disk space.

Is this possible on the free ESXi?  If so, how hould I proceed and what format should the drive be formatted in?

My virtual machines have their data backed up using DPM 2007 so if I could created a Template or clone to take off site, then it would be a simple matter to get the VMs up to-date and running after a disaster.
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You may be able to. See this article by fellow EE expert @Ryder0707:

Otherwise, the only other way you can do it is not connect the external drive to ESXi directly, but to your workstation. Then use Veeam FastSCP or WinSCP or even just the Datastore Browswer window to copy the VMs to it (VMs *MUST* be powered down to be able to copy them, though).


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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Your USB external disk would have to support large files.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
fat32 supports only 4gb files, so make sure your templates are smaller than this.
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If it's a 2TB drive, it should natively, but you can always reformat to NTFS when connecting to your workstation..
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
ryders article only works with fat32 formatted USB, and 4GB file is max supported by fat32.

so if you have templates larger than 4gb youll not be able to copy and get a corrupted disk.
Correct; my response was for connecting it to the workstation (which is my recommendation anyway) :)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
also as ESX does natively read and write fat32 its also worth noting, not having anything else of importance on the disk, because they often get corrupted, when using in this manner,especially on WRITE operations.
pjamAuthor Commented:
Sorry, thought I had already posted this.
Thanks you two, gives me a lot to work on.
pjamAuthor Commented:
I read over that article, thanks for that.  Saw a warning not to try on production server.  This si definitely a production server.
That said I am going to give the Veeam a shot from my XP Pro workstation.

Getting ready to format the external USB again, Can I use NTFS to use larger VMs.

Both of you,
What exactly do I copy? Attached is what I see for my main file server.

I decided to remove the jpeg of my servers.
So I have the following extensions:
nvram, vmdk, vmsd, vmx, vmxf, vswp and several log files.
the two flat.vmdk I assume are the C: & E: drives as they are 40GB & 600 GB respectively.
If you wanna make a complete copy of your VM, then what you need to do is rt-click on the whole folder on the right pane, select copy, then paste it to your storage location.

pjamAuthor Commented:
sounds like a plan,
thanks coolsport00
You betcha! :)
pjamAuthor Commented:
Should the exteranl disk be NTFS or Fat32, still not clear on that.
Due to Fat32 limitations, i would guess NTFS.
Yes - NTFS. You should be able to see what it is in Windows explorer, or rt-click on the drive and go into Properties of it..
pjamAuthor Commented:
Thanks you two.  I have formatted NTFS and tet copied my ISO folder to the external disk.  I will wait for an opprotunity to power down and copy the VMs.  That may take a little while.
I still want to make a W2k8 64-bit template as I may need another VM some day.
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