USB Devices will not mount for VM backup

I have installed ESXi v6.7 free Hypervisor on an 32GB SD card and have used a local 500GB HDD for the datastore.
But I am new to ESXi and had started with it being installed on a 500GB SSD - mainly due to performance.

So - on the SSD I have one VM I would like to copy over to the 500GB HDD.
Thought it would easy but I CANNOT get a USB device to mount so that I can try and copy the VM folder to it.

My intent was to simply backup the VM folder from the 500GB SSD to a USB storage device and then restore it to the 500GB HDD.
What am I missing? This seems pretty basic.
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Try this :
I would use the USB passthrough feature on ESX:

  • Log in your VMware vSphere Web Client and access your Inventory:
  • Open the Virtual Machines list and select the one to which the USB device will be added. Right-click and choose Edit settings:
  • From the New device menu select Host USB device and click Add:
  • Use the dropdown menu and select the USB device you want to add. In our example we checked Support vMotion while device is connected because vMotion is enabled for this virtual machine. VMware suggest to disable vMotion support for USB passthrough, for better performance and stability:
DanielTAuthor Commented:
There is no vSphere - just the free Hypervisor.
This is just for simple, internal testing and misc use.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
USB is not supported on VMware vSphere (ESXi) to use as a datastore. (on the host).

If you want to try....

BUT please note this is NOT SUPPORTED!

To backup and restore VMs, if you have nothing else, you Export them to your workstation....
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DanielTAuthor Commented:
Thanks for links.

But - can you elaborate on exporting to your "workstation"?

I must be missing something because...
When I am logged into ESXi hypervisor via Web Browser I have no other storage devices to access including any local workstation drives or network shares etc or (as I was enquiring about) any USB storage devices. How would I backup this way - and then restore/copy to another installation of ESXi (ie: from the SSD setup to SD Card setup)?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
The workstation is the "computer thing" you are running the browser on....

You use the Export function of Host Client (Browser ) to Download VMs to your PC.

(but I think it could be broken!)

otherwise, you will need to use a Backup Product or WinSCP (to download via SSH/SCP)
DanielTAuthor Commented:
re "broken"?
You mean in ESXi 6.7?
Just my luck.
That WOULD make it hard to find.

Should I (can I) install prior release that "works"?

As for SSH/SCP...
Being new to it - I'd have to learn it but preferably a task for sometime later.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Try Export and Import in 6.7, and see if they've now fixed it!

To be honest with you, since 6.0, everything has turned to shit... with the Host Client.

6.0 (vSphere thick client)

or you could use Poor Man's Backup - VMware Workstation
DanielTAuthor Commented:
Well that would actually solve the problem if it worked.

I exported the VM and could choose a local location for the OVF and VMDK files. Great.
Started up ESXi on the SD card and went to create a new VM from deploy a virtual machine from OVF (etc)
Chose needed files, seemed to be working, VM showed up momentarily in VM's then..

The VM disappeared within a couple of seconds max and a message was posted...
"Failed to deploy VM: postNFCData failed: IO error"

Ensured there were blocks in browser and tried both Firefox and Chrome.
Same issue in both.
DanielTAuthor Commented:
(LOL for second line in your last post)
DanielTAuthor Commented:
In the recent tasks list it reports the following...
(I can assure you I did not cancel!)

Upload disk - disk-0.vmdk (1 of 1)


Upload a disk for a virtual machine
Virtual machine:


Failed - Upload disk cancelled
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Yes, OVF Export/Import - not good.

VMware Converter ? (poor mans backup)

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reredokIT ConsultantCommented:
With ssh shell enabled in ESXi Server you can use winscp, Bitvise tunnelier etc which can then download a sftp VM to your local computer. This is still better than the VMWare Databrowser download (WebClient) - it's really cruel. Since I have a lot to do with VMWare environments and would like to have a "fast" backup in my backyard, I built a universal Open-Suse Linux machine with a lot of disk space. I can use it stable via iSCSI, NFS (both directly in VmWare as storage LUN) or in the worst case via Samba Share as backup. In my experience, iSCSI is the fastest with a reasonable network connection. But if I want to back up VMWare machines while running I use (also under 6.7x) ghettovcb which is admittedly not easy to configure. Everything else I've tried a thousand times doesn't really work stable
DanielTAuthor Commented:
Looks like VMware Converter is a vCenter feature/app.
This is really really basic. Just ESXi Hypervisor. No vCenter available.

But wow...
Not impressed (with VMware) - that exporting a VM using ESXi and reimporting with ESXi using the same version does not work.
Perhaps I will just downgrade and run ESXi 6.0 - IF that will actually export and import it's own VMs!

Thanks for jumping in. Your advice makes good sense to me but is far beyond what I need (at this point). This all started with a simple test of vmWare ESXi, installed on SSD - which was overkill. Install was moved to SD card with a separate datastore drive and I just want to copy one VM (Server 2016) from the original SSD/SSD datastore to the new SD/HDD datastore! Ext USB's not recognized (to copy VM folders) and export fails despite details above.
reredokIT ConsultantCommented:
VMware Converter is a standalone APP for P2V or V2V downloadable -> VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 5.5.3 (Englisch)
DanielTAuthor Commented:
OK - thanks.
A quick search "past" the  vCenter hit and I saw "standalone" link.
Will check it out.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
VMware Converter is FREE and your friend EE mobile access auto correct

I've written a few articles on VMware Converter...

HOW TO:  P2V, V2V for FREE - VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 6.1

HOW TO: Shrink or Reduce a VMware Virtual Machine Disk (VMDK) using VMware vCenter Converter Standalone v5.5.2

HOW TO: FAQ VMware P2V Troubleshooting

latest version is now 6.2.
DanielTAuthor Commented:

The utility sounds like it is to convert existing machines to VM (vs backing up existing VMs).
And a quick trial was not quick. Thanks for the article links. I'll have to look closer.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Nothing is going to be "quick" to backup VMs, because you are moving data!

The utility is design to convert Physical Machines to Virtual Machines.

BUT you will also be surprised at the number of Admins that use it as a "Poor Man's Backup"

If the software converts an existing VM, to another place for storage - is that not a backup ?

When you have no other choice when using FREE ESXi.

You may want a read of my EE Articles about BACKUP!

This article is a little old now, but it sets the scene...

VMware ESX/ESXi Backup Guide

also read this...

12 commercial software backup products for VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi) you should be evaluating today

You do not have much choice.... when it comes to backup of VMs!

Please also note that VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi) is a commercial enterprise Hypervisor used in datacentres, and most that use it, have the Licensed Version! (and full backup paid for utilities).

FREE ESXi is a limited product.
DanielTAuthor Commented:
Thanks for all the posts!!

In the end - OVF Export/Import was indeed NOT good
(at least in ESXi 6.7)

Using VMware vCenter Converter Standalone Client
worked although I had a few trials before I understood it and it was not a terribly fast process. LOL

The target Server 2016 machine was moved from the "old" vmWare Datastore (on 500GB SSD)
to the local machine using "vCenter Converter Standalone Client"
Then from there back to the "new" vmWare Datastore (in 32GB SD)
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