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How to run ESXi from a USB

Here you will find out:

  • how ESXi can be installed
  • what you should know before running ESXi from a USB
  • how to run ESXi from a USB stick
  • how DiskInternals software can help you

Are you ready? Let's read!

How can ESXi be installed?

ESXi can be installed both from a CD or from a bootable USB flash drive. Another interesting fact is that ESXi can be installed on a USB stick or SD stick. In this case, you can boot the virtual machine from these removable devices.

If you decided to run ESXi from a USB

In this case, you need to make sure that all technical requirements are met. Otherwise, the launch will be incorrect.

These are the basic requirements:

  • A minimum of 1 GB (preferably 8 GB or larger) USB flash drive or SD card.
  • The host or virtual machine must have 4 GB of RAM.
  • ESXi must have flash/drive support.
  • And of course, you must follow the requirements for a standard ESXi installation.

What you should know before running ESXi from a USB

There are a few things to know about running ESXi from USB.

Benefits of installing ESXi on a USB:

  • Using a USB stick to run ESXi is the most cost-effective option. You do not need to buy a SAS interface, which is not cheap or easy to work with.
  • Convenience and ease of use. If you need to replace the disks used for the data warehouse, you will not need to reinstall ESXi. This is because ESXi is installed on a USB stick or SD card. If ESXi were installed on a disk that is also used as data storage, there would be many problems with reinstalling ESXi. You would then need a new disk or clone.
  • Updates and installations are easier and safer. Just clone a USB flash drive and update ESXi without fear that something might go wrong (you can just replace the flash drive with a new flash drive that has a previously installed ESXi version).

Along with the advantages of USB, however, you may encounter one downside:

Downloading ESXi is larger if it is installed on a USB device, it will take much longer. Since ESXi is fully loaded into the computer's RAM, the I/O volume does not decrease during normal ESXi operation, and the flash drive is used only to boot ESXi and save configuration files. Dealing with ESXi servers running in an HA cluster will not be very convenient, since any latency can be critical in a production environment.

Guide for running ESXi from a USB stick

If you follow this guide for running ESXi on a physical server, then no unnecessary questions should arise:

  • 1. Insert an empty USB flash drive into your computer.
  • 2. Insert the ESXi installation media (USB stick) and boot from the ESXi installation media.
  • 3. Divide an empty flash drive into sections.
  • 4. Format the partitions of an empty flash drive and install ESXi.
  • 5. Reboot the server, go into UEFI (or BIOS), and then select the USB flash drive inserted into the card reader as the first boot device.
  • 6. The ESXi server is ready to use.

Use VMFS Recovery to restore your data

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Recovery of VMDK images on ESXi and VMware vSphere servers is also available as needed. The program has a unique Recovery Wizard, which, if you need help, will ensure smooth operation and extremely positive results. The recovered folders can be exported to local or remote locations, including via FTP.

Follow the steps described below, and soon your data will be safe:

Check that your SSH connection is set up (if you are using it).

Download the application and, after installing on a Windows Vista, 7-10, or Windows Server computer from 2003 to 2019, open a remote or local drive to be scanned (full or quick).

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