Get host backup and running after the data store that houses ESXI dies?

Hello all,

This has not happened to me yet, but I am proactively wondering.  Say you have a couple of non critical, but still somewhat important hosts running, each having a collection of local data stores (7200 RPM SATA drives).  Some of these hosts are not RAIDed, (yes yes, I know, out of my control).  VMs are spread across these local data stores, never really exceeding two VMs pre SATA hard drive.  ESXI resides on one of these hard drives.

My question is, what would be the theoretical procedure in this non ideal scenario, to recover the host and get the VMs up and running again if all else was fine except that the one hard drive that housed ESXI had died?

Do I simply replace the hard drive and re-install ESXI on that new hard drive, give it the same network settings as before, attach to vCenter and then scan the local data stores that house the VMs and re-add them to the inventory?

Thanks for the information.
CnicNVAsked:
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Do I simply replace the hard drive and re-install ESXI on that new hard drive, give it the same network settings as before, attach to vCenter and then scan the local data stores that house the VMs and re-add them to the inventory?

BINGO BONGO - Yes! (almost! but you plan would work!)

Actually, I would do the following:-

1. Install ESXi to a USB flash drive or SD card. (it's always recommended to install ESXi OS, on it's own media, e.g. do not mix OS and datastore on same disks, or RAID array!)

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

(if using a USB flash drive or SD card, you can image them for backup!!!)

see here

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

(but use this tool - http://www.alexpage.de/usb-image-tool/ to deal with newer ESXi 5.x and 6.x!)
2. You can backup the existing configuration of your ESXi hosts, - did you know this, so you can easily restore the configuration.

http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2042141

3. On re-installation ESXi installer, will detect and existing VMFS formatted partition, this is your datastore, where the VMs are stored.

4. Then you need to Browse the datastore and Register the VMs to the Inventory.

see my EE Articels, step by step tutorials with screenshots

from Step 6 in this article

HOW TO: Clone or Copy a virtual machine in VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESX/ESXi 4.x or ESXi 5.0

you then might get this prompt

HOW TO: Select the right answer to "I Moved It" or "I Copied It" in VMware vSphere (ESXi)
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CnicNVAuthor Commented:
Awesome:-)  Thanks
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