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ChrisHelvey

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Copy VSphere host files from USB drive

I have a virtual machine file(s) on a USB drive attached to a newly installed VMware Vsphere Hypervisor host. I am familiar with Linux/Unix commands, VMware Server (type 2 hypervisor under Windows/Linux hosts) and the concepts of client side tools, but I am new to the type 1 hypervisor environment and simply need to know how to copy my files from the host's USB drive to the host's main drive. Is this an appropriate use of the "emergency mode" on the host - just to get a shell? I believe I was told no....

I have created a guest from scratch - that was easy, and it will be used as access to tools via RDP. But the server guest I have virtualized using VMWare Converter is sitting on the USB drive. How to get at it?

What is the proper way to do this?

Any good GUI tools available to help? (Not that I am uncomfortable with command lines.)
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Joseph Daly
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If I understand your question correctly you would want to connect to your ESXi host or Vcenter (if you have one set up) using the vmware client. From here you should be able to select the datastores option. You would put the usb stick into your computer and then you can upload the VM files from your machine to the datastores in VMware.
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coolsport00
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ChrisHelvey

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OK. So, it's easiest to move the files over the network instead of the system bus, even though the latter would be faster? That's perfectly fine, I just want to make sure I wasn't missing anything silly because I'm a newbie. :-)
That was SO fast. Thanks.
As a follow-up, can I connect the USB drive to the Guest running on the host and then do the above? THAT would actually move the data directly through the bus via the "virtual" network.
Believe us...we're in agreement with you on the local connection vs network. VMware doesn't allow it via the Host. If you are running vSphere 4.1 and later, you can connect the USB device to the Host and yes, you can 'see' the USB device within a virtual machine on that Host. Your host CPUs have to be compatible for "direct path" though - Intel-VTd or AMD IOMMU enabled in the BIOS. If you log into the Host with vSphere Client, click the Host on the left, Configuration tab on the right, then Advanced Settings link in the 'Hardware' box, you'll see a msg on the right that says if your host is compatible for 'Passthrough' or not.

But, you'll still need to log onto to the Host with the vSphere Client within that VM and follow my steps above.

~coolsport00
Thanks for the points, not like both answers were exactly the same or anything.....smh
Awesome. Thank you.
I wanted to post a follow-up comment to this thread, as I'm pretty sure others are going to have the same issues and questions. I wanted to share the best way I have found to accomplish the task of copying big VM files from a USB drive. For that matter, it may be a primer for new people like myself to getting started with VSphere Hypervisor.

The best way to manage VMware files on a host:

1.      Install VSphere Hypervisor onto hardware server. (Burn CD, boot, and install to qualified hardware.)
2.      From the console, enter the configuration mode (F2) and give the host a static IP number,gateway, DNS, etc, and gang/failover NICs if you please (Networking menu item.)
3.      Reboot the host from the console - F12
4.      TEMPORARILY, use a Windows machine connected to the same network.
5.      Download the VSphere Client and install it to that PC
6.      Use the VSphere client to log in to the host (your static IP number you set.)
7.      Create a new VM and give it about 60GB, one processor, and a couple Gig of RAM (More if you have more…you know.)
8.      Install a Windows desktop version (Win 7 Pro, etc.) WITH a license – you will be using this permanently.
9.      For now, we use the VSphere client on your hardware PC to access its console. (Right click on the VM and click "Open Console."
10.      Once the OS is installed, install VMWare tools on the guest – you can use Vsphere client to do this or download it and install it from within the guest.
11.      Do updates, etc on that Windows installation.
12.      Download the VSphere client onto that virtual Windows PC.
13.      Download the VSPhere CLI tools as well. (And anything else you deem necessary.)
14.      Enable remote access to this guest (My Computer, Properties, Remote access, enable)

Now the important part:
•      Plug in a USB drive on the HOST. I used a Western Digital Passport 500GB)
then
•      Using your hardware PC, use Vsphere Client, right click on your Virtual Machine (I called mine “VSphereClientPC”) and “edit settings” “add a USB controller.” It should add.
•      Edit settings again and “Add a USB device.” You should see a list of one thing to add – your USB drive you plugged into the host earlier. Add it. Wait a few seconds – maybe even a minute.

Go back to your Guest Windows on the Vsphere client guest console. My USB drive showed up automatically within the guest. You may need to reboot the guest. (I don’t remember –maybe I did reboot.)

NOW, you can quit using your hardware PC and RDP into your Windows guest, which has a USB drive (purportedly containing very large files you wish to copy to the host’s datastore,), which is physically connected, to the HOST USB port.

Now, when you want to copy over a ginormous VM guest file(s)to the datastore using the Vsphere Client (use the browse datastore function and the little green arrow “upload” icon) it will go MUCH faster. Use VMWare converter to convert from an older type to ESXi type and it will automatically put files on the host for you. Plus, you can use 3rd part utilities to automate backups, snapshots, and such to this USB drive, attached to the server.

Enabling passthrough USB on your host may or may not improve speeds, but in any case, this is, in my opinion, better than having to pass the data over the network from your PC.

 I hope that helps someone. Thanks to those who helped get me started.