ESXi 6.7 - USB Flash to Boot and Datastore?

Discussion in 'VMware, VirtualBox, Citrix' started by pc-tecky, May 30, 2018.

  1. pc-tecky

    pc-tecky Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2013
    Messages:
    163
    Likes Received:
    21
    Using a 32GB USB Flash drive to boot ESXi and works great so far. I have 25GB of free space and was hoping to host FreeNAS or IllumiOS as well, but so far the web utilities won't budge to allow a datastore in the free space. Wondering if this is a new feature of EXSi 6.7 or an imposed limit of USB? I used HDDs that allowed datastore for images and also booted ESXi 5.5. So I'm a bit confused.
     
    #1
  2. rune-san

    rune-san Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2014
    Messages:
    49
    Likes Received:
    13
    This has long been an imposed limit of vSphere ESXi, including in ESXi. Use of USB Drives as Datastores are not recommended, nor supported in any way by VMware. That stated, you can force it by disabling the USBArbitrator Service (so that drives can't be passed through to VMs), and manually partitioning / formatting your USB Drive.

    USB Devices as VMFS Datastore in vSphere ESXi 6.5
     
    #2
  3. pc-tecky

    pc-tecky Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2013
    Messages:
    163
    Likes Received:
    21
    Ah.. simply did know.. looking for drive solutions then..
     
    #3
  4. whitey

    whitey Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2014
    Messages:
    2,671
    Likes Received:
    819
    If you wanna get tricky you can use vmkfstools and get at the remaining space, google it, you'll find it, if not I can ask a buddy who did this but he DID have sub-par performance/experience trying to host a FreeNAS in this scenario.

    I wanted to do this just recently on a Dell R610 that i only added a H310 LSI HBA to and really wanted the HBA to be pass-thru/vt-D to the FreeNAS AIO VM but alas I got into a chicken-in-egg scenario where sure I could have mounted an NFS slice to the hypervisor and laid down FreeNAS there but then where to put it if i passed the HBA through and needed local stg for the FreeNAS to come up once built off NFS and then removed NFS...not cool/gonna play nice. I ended up using the HBA native to vSphere/ESXi and setting up a FreeNAS on that hussl VMFS formatted drive and serving up vdisk for zil/l2arc off that same hussl and a capacity sas disk for the larger vdisk/vmdk that was gonna provide the main space for that pool. Was fine and akin to a Optane 900P setup where you host zil/l2arc vdisks on it and serve up to FreeNAS/name-your-stg-appliance-here. PLP saves the day in this scenario so I wont worry too much, for a buddy lab setup anyways so I believe it will be solid enough.
     
    #4
    Last edited: May 30, 2018
  5. cheezehead

    cheezehead Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2012
    Messages:
    643
    Likes Received:
    144
    Been down this road before, short answer is don't waste your time. Pickup a cheap used SSD off ebay and use that as a datastore location to hold freenas then VT-d the HBA to the VM.
     
    #5
    dswartz, pc-tecky and Rain like this.
  6. pc-tecky

    pc-tecky Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2013
    Messages:
    163
    Likes Received:
    21
    Yeah... $100 new consumer, $60 used (hit'n'miss). I went with ~500Gb new SSD and had it the same day. I could take it back and opt for 2x used OCZ Talos-2 64GB SAS SSDs - what do you think of that?
     
    #6
  7. cheezehead

    cheezehead Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2012
    Messages:
    643
    Likes Received:
    144
    I've been just picking up any old 30GB+ SSD for freenas datastore...usually spend <$30 per drive (intel/samsung)....make a manual backup of the freenas config everytime you make a major upgrade. No need for larger SSD's unless you want extra space for other local VM storage...FreeNAS needs <10GB between temp files and the vmdk flat files.
     
    #7
Similar Threads: ESXi Flash
Forum Title Date
VMware, VirtualBox, Citrix ESXi 6.5 installer not seeing USB flash drives Jan 24, 2017
VMware, VirtualBox, Citrix ESXi installer won't detect flash drive? Aug 28, 2015
VMware, VirtualBox, Citrix ESXi 6.7 on Ryzen x399 for VMs + GPU passthrough desktop Jun 13, 2018
VMware, VirtualBox, Citrix ESXi 6.5 nfs dedicated vswitch May 25, 2018
VMware, VirtualBox, Citrix ESXI 6.7 GPU PassThrough and "Expose hardware assisted virtualization to the guest OS" not working. May 22, 2018

Share This Page