What is the reason people use USB/SD cards for ESXI Installations?

I was looking into this, and I am curious as to why people are using USB/SD cards to run ESXI off of?

IE what are the possible advantages of this VS disadvantages?  When compared to simply installing and running it off of a local data store RAID 6 array for example?

Thanks for your insight.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Because ESXi embedded with a small footprint, was designed for installation on USB or SD cards, we've been deploying ESXi in USB/SD cards since 2004.

Spinning disk is expensive to use for installations, when all ESXi does is boot off the disks, it then goes memory resident, and is not read again.

Mixing ESXi OS and datastore on the same disks, can cause issues later with re-sizing the datastore.

In our opinion, repair of ESXi OS is easier using USB/SD card, compared to install on ESXi OS on RAID arrays, even with failure, you can just replace the usb/sd card, and re-install.

also backup of SD/USB is easier, see my EE Article

it's a supported method, see here

Here is the VMware KB on installing 4.1 on USB/SD:

Here is the VMware KB on installing 5.x on USB/SD:

see my EE Article here

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

since, I wrote this article, ESXi has changed so, use USB Imaging tool here


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CnicNVAuthor Commented:
Ok this is good information. Do you have any recommendations for good quality SD/USB Keys that you have used in the past, that are ESXI 5.5u3 compatible?

Thanks again.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
SanDisk, HP, Kingston, PNY.

8GB or 16GB should be sufficient.
CnicNVAuthor Commented:
Ok cheers, thanks a lot :-)
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