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Is there a way to add an external USB HDD that is connected to my Netgear Rangemax router via USB to ESXi 4.0 as a datastore? The external is formatted as NTFS and I have data on it already.

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does the rangemax support nfs? –  tony roth Jun 29 '10 at 14:21

2 Answers 2

I have done this!

Successfully or not, that is the question..

We connected a Buffalo TeraStation over USB to one of the ESX hosts, then connected the device to a Fedora Linux VM, and served up the (pre-existing NTFS contents) as a NAS datastore.

We used it only for VM backups and archives, since the performance was ABYSMAL.

I don't remember exact performance numbers, but it was around 20x slower than the local RAID5 disks in the host, and maybe 100x slower than the FibreChannel SAN.

(I'm vaguely remembering 3MB/sec vs 60MB/sec vs 300MB/sec??)

But it was incredibly useful as a place to stash temporary backups off the SAN during any kind of risky maintenance, and also to transfer VMs between the data center and the office.

(A 2TB disk in a taxi can provide better throughput than a 100Mbit WAN!)

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Obligatory A.S. Tanenbaum quote (the second one from the top): en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Andrew_S._Tanenbaum. –  Massimo Oct 17 '11 at 10:39
I remember seeing somebody once calculate the bandwidth of a 747 cargo container filled with DVDs... –  ryandenki Oct 17 '11 at 10:40
2TB hard disks are the way to go. –  Massimo Oct 17 '11 at 10:42

Can the NAS expose the drive via either iSCSI or NFS? If so, yes. Be prepared for awful performance, though. You'll be using a desktop-class hard drive, connected via USB to an underpowered router that isn't intended to ship around the amounts of data you'll be throwing at it.

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NTFS and "existing data" will also be a problem, but as Erik said, the main problem is going to be... everything else. –  Mark Henderson Jun 29 '10 at 3:37
Agreed! I guess it's fair enough if you're just having a play but don't even contemplate it in production! –  Dan Oct 17 '11 at 11:15

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