Should I install VMware ESXi on USB flash drive? We're using a Dell R410 server.

matt1237
matt1237 used Ask the Experts™
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I've read that you can install the VMware ESXi hypervisor to boot from a USB flash drive.

1. Question 1

Is it recommended practice to use a USB flash drive for the VMware hypervisor?

2. Question 2

Are there any concerns using USB flash for this purpose?

3. Question 3

How big of a flash drive should I start with? There will probably be less than 10 VM's... likely about 5.
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Yes you can install the esxi in flsah drive. Maximum you need 2 GB
http://searchvmware.techtarget.com/tip/Installing-VMware-ESXi-on-a-USB-drive-A-walkthrough

The size depends on the size of VMs you will be building on it
Top Expert 2010
Commented:
Question 1: Is it "recommended practice"? No, but it's a common practice (see VMware KB: http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1020655)

Question 2: Any concerns? None really. The "only" potential issue is with recovery. If you use disks in at least a RAID1, if you lost a disk, you'd still be running until you replaced the failed disk. If you lose your USB, you're down. But, what you can do is once you installed/configured ESXi on your USB, just make an identical copy on a 2nd USB. See: 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

Question 3: 2GB should suffice, but probably best for 8GB. VMs are NOT run on USB. They are run from datastore storage, beit local disks or SAN or NAS.

Regards.
~coolsport00
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
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Commented:
1. yes

2. no

3. Minimum of 2GB, and make sure its a good quality unit, HP, Sandisk
Top Expert 2014

Commented:
It would be better to use a SD card if your hardware supports it, but only because the connectors are normally more secure. Why nobody's produced hypervisor in BIOS I don't know, that was what was meant to happen.

If you lose USB (or SD card) you're down after a reboot, not normally before which is a saving grace.
Robin CMSenior Security and Infrastructure Engineer

Commented:
Just out of curiosity, does this not wear your USB flash disk out fairly fast what with all the logs being written to it all the time? Or do you have to configure logs to go elsewhere?
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
Actually, no. It is best practice to indeed configure logs to go to a log server...yes.

~coolsport00

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