Changing hard drive where ESXi is installed and boots from?

SeeDk
SeeDk used Ask the Experts™
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Some ESXi hosts were set up several years ago in what seems to be a 'temporary' fashion.
One Host has all datastores in RAID0.
The other host, all but one are RAID0, and of course ESXi was installed on one of the RAID0.

I checked this in vCenter by going to Configuration -> Hardware -> Storage -> Device View and looking for the devices with 'VMware Diagnostic' and 'Legacy MBR' partitions. This is the right way to check where ESXi is installed, right?

So now I want to fix this by making these datastores at least RAID1. The VM's I can handle migrating them between datastores as I swap disks but I'm not sure how this would be done for the ESXi install itself.

Is there a way to move the install to another datastore?

Ideally, I'd like to copy the install to another datastore and then test ESXi boots from that location before I swap out the current disks. Is that possible?
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Commented:
I checked this in vCenter by going to Configuration -> Hardware -> Storage -> Device View and looking for the devices with 'VMware Diagnostic' and 'Legacy MBR' partitions. This is the right way to check where ESXi is installed, right?

Correct.

Is there a way to move the install to another datastore?

No.

Ideally, I'd like to copy the install to another datastore and then test ESXi boots from that location before I swap out the current disks. Is that possible?

No.

I'm afraid you will need to do the following:-

1. Backup current configuration.
2. ReDo your RAID setup.
3. Re-install ESXi
4. Restore configuration.
5. Re-register VMs with ESXi.

and if you are going to do all that, I would recommend installing ESXi to USB flash drive or SD card, which it's been designed to do, and leave ALL the spinny rust to datastores.

Author

Commented:
Thanks, wanted to avoid that but guess it can't be helped.
#1 and #4 you mean the vCenter config right? How would I do that?

The VMs themselves wouldn't be affected by the removal of the ESXi OS right? As long as the disks they are on have no issues, I can just reinstall ESXi on the same server and re-register the VMs?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
#1 and #4 you mean the vCenter config right? How would I do that?

No. vCenter Server configuration is stored in the vCenter Server database. The ESXi host  configuration is stored on the host.

backup/restore  is covered here

https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/2042141

The VMs themselves wouldn't be affected by the removal of the ESXi OS right? As long as the disks they are on have no issues, I can just reinstall ESXi on the same server and re-register the VMs?

Correct. Just make sure you select PRESERVE and do not overwrite the VMFS datastore.
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Author

Commented:
Ok, this seems straightforward. On that link there is a note about a bootbank file.
Any chance this would be needed?

Correct. Just make sure you select PRESERVE and do not overwrite the VMFS datastore.

Is this option presented during the ESXi config restore or is it when adding the VM back to inventory?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
Is this option presented during the ESXi config restore or is it when adding the VM back to inventory?

neither, when you install ESXi to your spinning disks. Which to be honest with you I would not recommend, install to USB or SD card, as it was designed to do.

and make sure you have good valid VM backups, just in case you make a mistake and destroy your VMs or datastore!

Author

Commented:
Thanks! Yes, backups are step 0. :)

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