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ESXi 5.1 Image copy a hard disk

Posted on 2014-02-03
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I have two ESXi 5.1 machines, Each machine has two hard disks. I believe one drive on each machine is going bad and I have new, larger replacements for them. One is the boot drive with a datastore and the other is an additional drive with a datastore.

Is there a disk copy utility that will simply copy the old drive to the new? Moving suff around (and reinstalling on the boot drive) could take a while.

Mike
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Question by:MikeBroderick
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 500 total points
ID: 39831064
I'm afraid there is no disk copy utility.

I would recommend, that

1. When you re-install, install ESXi to a USB flash drive or SD card, so your OS is not stored on a disk drive.

see here

Here is the VMware KB on installing 5.x on USB/SD:
http://kb.vmware.com/kb/2004784

2. Use a backup product, e.g. Veeam Backup and Replication to Backup your existing VMs, and restore once you have your new disks installed.

or

Part 10: HOW TO: Backup (Export) and Restore (Import) virtual machines to VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 for FREE
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by:ktaczala
ID: 39831180
When you say one is the boot drive, are you saying that it boots the VMware OS, and that's the one that's failing?
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by:MikeBroderick
ID: 39832769
That's a shame there's no disk copy utility.

I've read about installing ESXi onto a flash drive, but what does that buy me (i.e. what good things can I do or what bad things does it prevent)? Also:

Can the flash drive be duplicated and used in case of the original fails?
Will there be performance implications? I've seen slow flash drives.
Can the flash drive be removed once the startup is complete?
Is this the way most shops operate?
What brand/size do you recommend?

Thanks
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 500 total points
ID: 39832821
That's a shame there's no disk copy utility.

It's not designed to be cloned!

I've read about installing ESXi onto a flash drive, but what does that buy me (i.e. what good things can I do or what bad things does it prevent)?

In the event, you want to increase your VMFS datastore in the future, it's easy, if you install ESXi on the same set of disks as your datastore, it's very complicated, if not impossible to change the size of datastore. Easier to duplicate (and keep a backup copy), easier to fix, than RAID failure.

Bad Things, it's not bad, you will need to purchase the media.

Here is the VMware KB on installing 5.x on USB/SD:
http://kb.vmware.com/kb/2004784

Can the flash drive be duplicated and used in case of the original fails?

Yes, see my EE Article

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

Since, I wrote the above article ESXi 5.5 has changed, so use USB Imaging Tool for Backups

http://www.alexpage.de/usb-image-tool/

Will there be performance implications? I've seen slow flash drives.

It's only used to load the modules at BOOT, and then goes memory resident, so the faster the USB flash drive, it loads the modules slightly quicker! (but not worth the money!)

Can the flash drive be removed once the startup is complete?

It can be, but it's designed to stay in the plugged in the server.

Is this the way most shops operate?

Yes, we've been installling to USB/SD cards since 2004, and most servers today, have an internal USB port or SD card slot for this purpose of embedded OS. Dell even has mirrored SD card module!

What brand/size do you recommend?

1GB is all that's needed, and you'll find it difficult to purchase such a small size, but brands from HP, SanDisk, Kingston, Lacie, Corsair are all good.
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Author Closing Comment

by:MikeBroderick
ID: 39832864
This is what I need. Thank you.
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