Make a backup usb of esxi 5.5 install

I have a server running esxi 5.5 latest build as of 12/4/14 I exported the config and i wanted to install esxi 5.5 on another usb and import the config then ship the usb to customer to have as a backup. When i try to load the config i got an error. Not sure if i need to do this on the server. Can this be done without cloning the current usb drive and not being infront of the server?
noclavAsked:
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MazdajaiCommented:
No, you cannot simply clone the USB and it use a back up. The config itself for ESX is minimal - networking, root password and hostname. You can use scripted install to backup and automate this information.

http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2004582
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
@Mazdajai this is not quite true!

You have been able to backup the USB flash drive installation for backup or deployment.

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 this article, many things have changed with ESXi, including the partition types.

Use this software application


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

or

http://sourceforge.net/projects/win32diskimager/
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MazdajaiCommented:
I mean it is not possible with the asker's requirement for making a backup of the usb drive "without cloning the current usb drive and not being infront of the server".

Looks like asker is trying to making a remote back of a usb drive?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
@Mazdajai that's a better response.

It depends which method you have exported the config.

It is possible do do it offline, BUT it's NOT Supported method, and involves replacing the state.tgz file.
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noclavAuthor Commented:
So from the responses the only way is to clone the original usb stick. Backing up the config file via ssh is pointless then. Can i remove the original usb, clone it and pop it back in or do i have to shutdown the host.
Thanks for the info
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
You can remove the USB flash drive from a running host, and it will carry on running, as ESXi is memory resident.

BUT again this is not a supported action.

If you have the state.tgz file (contains the configuration state!), and are good with Linux, you can mount a virgin ESXi 5.5 USB installation, and replace the files.

see my EE Article

HOW TO: Fix the Error loading /s.v00 Fatal error: 33 (Inconsistent data) in the VMware vSphere Hypervisor

It really depends on your skill set...

1. Shutdown Host, Remove and Clone USB flash drive might be quicker for some.

or with good Linux skills

2. Take existing state.tgz file, use my EE Article and replace file might be quicker for others.
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MazdajaiCommented:
Yes but if this is a blade that make it impossible.

Again the base esx config is very minimal, I recommend building a kickstart file to automate the install from the reference url I post above.

However, if you want to go down this route, it will work. You can back up  and replace the files you are interested in - (ntp.conf, access.conf, esx.conf)

http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2043048

I agree with Andrew's solution - this requires a moderate level of linux skills - tar , untar and files manipulation on command line.
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