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What if ESXi drive crashes?


Harber1
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I am considering setting up some VM's via ESXi. I will be backing up the individual VM's, but my concern is what happens if the drive ESXi is on dies?

 

Would you just be able to install it again on a new drive and have it see all the VM's? What other steps would be involved in recovering from this kind of crash?

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Just install ESXi again and you are good to go. Most people just stick ESXi on a flash drive

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That is most likely where I will put it, but won't you loose any ESXi settings? Will it just see all the VM's ok and be a seamless replacement.

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Seamless?  No.  There willbe some work installed and if you plan on running a medium sized load, say at least six VM's, I'd put the install on a spindle or SSD.  Thumb drives would be okay to test on.

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What work would be involved to recover? Also is there a way to back up ESXi just in case this would ever happen? What do you all do to prevent this scenario?

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Seamless?  No.  There willbe some work installed and if you plan on running a medium sized load, say at least six VM's, I'd put the install on a spindle or SSD.  Thumb drives would be okay to test on.

As you know (given your location), we run production servers with 192GB to 500GB+ or more of RAM that load ESXi off thumb drives with 40+ active VMs. Why do you recommend using a spindle? There is almost no drive activity once the hypervisor is loaded. Heck, don't the Dell servers at your location run ESXi off the internal USB port designed to hold that thumb drive?

 

I'd recommend using one of the USB thumb drive duplicators (such as this one: https://copy.com/CklHnoABjDi02KH6 ) and making a bit for bit duplicate of the tumb drive once it is set up. You can then transfer that image to another thumb drive of equal or larger size or just save it for emergency. But I've never had a thumb drive fail on me as an ESXi host drive. (Knock on wood.)

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As you know (given your location), we run production servers with 192GB to 500GB+ or more of RAM that load ESXi off thumb drives with 40+ active VMs. Why do you recommend using a spindle? There is almost no drive activity once the hypervisor is loaded. Heck, don't the Dell servers at your location run ESXi off the internal USB port designed to hold that thumb drive?

 

I'd recommend using one of the USB thumb drive duplicators (such as this one: https://copy.com/CklHnoABjDi02KH6 ) and making a bit for bit duplicate of the tumb drive once it is set up. You can then transfer that image to another thumb drive of equal or larger size or just save it for emergency. But I've never had a thumb drive fail on me as an ESXi host drive. (Knock on wood.)

 

Timekills is correct, install ESXi on a thumb drive (I've seen as low as 2GB work-but would suggest 4 or 8 GB for the lowest).  Don't place any data on the thumb drive, so don't waste a 32GB stick where you'd be tempted to place ISOs or VMs on the device.  When you're installing ESXi, you can easily select the partition or physical drive to install so you won't write over the data drive (s) that are storing your virtual machines.  I suppose you could set up a RAID 1 set between two physical drives for redundancy, like some companies that I MAY be aware of, but if it's for home use, that's quite the overhead to worry about.

 

You certainly can read the installation docs from VMware of course.

http://pubs.vmware.com/vsphere-51/index.jsp?topic=%2Fcom.vmware.vsphere.install.doc%2FGUID-7C9A1E23-7FCD-4295-9CB1-C932F2423C63.html

 

 

Happy hunting!

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  • 2 months later...

For those with 12th Gen (and some 11th Gen) Dell servers or newer, you can get a dual internal SD card module. Works brilliant for booting ESXi. If one of the cards goes faulty it fails over to the other. Drop in a new card and it replicates the image to the new one.

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Timekills is correct, install ESXi on a thumb drive (I've seen as low as 2GB work-but would suggest 4 or 8 GB for the lowest).  Don't place any data on the thumb drive, so don't waste a 32GB stick where you'd be tempted to place ISOs or VMs on the device.  When you're installing ESXi, you can easily select the partition or physical drive to install so you won't write over the data drive (s) that are storing your virtual machines.  I suppose you could set up a RAID 1 set between two physical drives for redundancy, like some companies that I MAY be aware of, but if it's for home use, that's quite the overhead to worry about.

 

VMware 5+ boot partition takes about 1GB in size more or less but if you want to keep the server for a few years I have always used 4GB USB thumb drives. Thumb drivers or Flashcards are fully supported.

 

But to answer the question: If your VMware "System drive" gets faulty you can re-install ESX but you need to import your VMs manually from your VM disk/partition.

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For those with 12th Gen (and some 11th Gen) Dell servers or newer, you can get a dual internal SD card module. Works brilliant for booting ESXi. If one of the cards goes faulty it fails over to the other. Drop in a new card and it replicates the image to the new one.

 

That's a pretty cool feature.

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