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Looking for best method to copy vmdk to USB drive

Posted on 2014-02-25
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Last Modified: 2014-03-14
I am in the process of copying vmdk disks off the esxi host onto to an external USB drive.  The process is extremely slow when I attempt to copy the vmdk file from within vCenter to the external disk.

Questions:

If I copy from the esxi host would it be faster?
Is there a best practice for accomplishing this task?

The external disk is currently attached to a utility server on the same subnet.  But, the time it is taking to copy a 400GB vmdk is exorbitant .

Thank you,

lipotech
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Question by:lipotech
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LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:Shahnawaz Ahmed
ID: 39885621
Dear lipotech ,

Can you please check the USB drive's file system is it NTFS or FAT 32?
Actully i had came across the same situation and later on i found that USB Drive's file system is FAT 32 which has to be NTFS for huge copy file.

Please check once and let me know
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Expert Comment

by:peea
ID: 39885625
Copy files including vmdk files locally is certainly faster than doing the same thing over the network.

Try SSH onto the ESXi Server - and use the
command line. You can enable SSH access
from vSphere. e.g cp /usb/path/* /vmfs/volumes/datastore1/

FYI

http://serverfault.com/questions/368772/copying-vmdks-onto-esxi-local-disk
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LVL 124
ID: 39885628
USB is not supported as an external datastore for VMFS, so it's not possible.

(FAT32 does have a 2GB/4GB file limit, it will need to be NTFS/ExFat, but it's not supported, and does not work!), ESXi is not LINUX!

Mount the USB on a PC or Server, and use NFS to add this USB disk as a datastore to the ESXi server, and then perform a network copy.
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LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:Shahnawaz Ahmed
ID: 39885645
Agreed with Andrew,

You copy across the network from PC/Server you can use XCOPY to copy the huge 400 GB data.
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Author Comment

by:lipotech
ID: 39886440
Ahmed,

The file format is NTFS.
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LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:Shahnawaz Ahmed
ID: 39886452
Dear lipotech,

I recommend you to give a try Andrew's solution.
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LVL 124
ID: 39886618
You cannot attach a USB external disk drive to ESXi, it does not work, and is not supported.
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Author Comment

by:lipotech
ID: 39889621
Andrew,

Please explain your comment "You cannot attach a USB external disk drive to ESXi, it does not work, and is not supported".   Maybe no explanation is needed, but I have seen USB thumb drives mounted to host.  I know we are talking USB External disk in this case. Can you explain in greater detail?

Thank you all for your excellent response to my inquiry.

lipotech
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Accepted Solution

by:
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 2000 total points
ID: 39889662
You can connect USB External Hard Disks and USB Flash drives to Virtual Machines.

HOW TO: Add and Connect a USB Device to a Virtual Machine, hosted on VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESX 4.1 ESXi 4.1, ESXi 5.0

But trying to attach and mount a USB external disk or flash drive to ESXi is not supported and does not work, because there are "no mount" commands, there is no service console ion ESXi, it's not Unix or Linux.

and even if you could attach and mount a USB external hard disk, (which can be hacked to do it!), there is NO NTFS supported, only FAT32, so is completely useless, for copying VMDK virtual disks.

External USB drives cannot be used to host a VMFS partition.

VMware vSphere Hypervisor is an enterprise, corporate hypervisor, which just does not support the attachments of USB devices for copy operations.
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