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I'm trying to create an All-in-one box which consists of ESXi running from an USB stick. Inside of ESXi there will be a vm which has been given direct access to a RAID controller for sharing it's disks via ISCSI back to this underlying ESXi server and also to other ESXi servers on the network.

I'm following the guide posted here

I purchased a 32GB USB stick for the system and storage vm's data files. The system (ESXi) installs fine onto the stick but after installation there is no datastore and rescanning for one does not reveal one either so I cannot install the storage vm.

How to make USB thumbdrive space visible as a datastore to ESXi 4.1 U1?

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closed as not a real question by Tom O'Connor, DanBig, EEAA, Chris S, RobM May 2 '11 at 19:08

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Can't be done sorry, as you say ESXi is happy to boot from a USB disk but won't allow a datastore to be created on one - nor should it, using one as such is an appalling idea.

In fact your question history has interested me since you joined, you seem to ask lots of unusual questions that give the impression you've not received any training or read any documentation for ESXi - is this the case? it's just that you're questions come over as rather amateur.

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Do you have any idea on what the performance of a thumb drive is like? – Doug Luxem May 2 '11 at 14:28
@Henno, I've just had to let a team of 40 offshore IT guys 'go' because they could only get our test ESXi environment 'up and running', it fell over quite spectacularly at a massively inopportune moment costing my business a month's delay in bringing a >$200m project to market. Not one had gone on training to save themselves money and it showed, their environment was riddled with stupid ideas and assumptions such as not understanding the expensive storage and networking I'd bought them. Dismissing any form of training in such a complex and critical technology is deeply unprofessional. – Chopper3 May 2 '11 at 14:36
@Henno - and your obvious lack of understanding of both the performance and write-management characteristics of USB flash drives proves again that perhaps this site, which is for IT professionals, may not be for you - this site is about fixing server faults, not creating them. – Chopper3 May 2 '11 at 14:38
I have to agree with Chopper3 regarding where you're referencing using the flash drive. SSD != Flash drive. Save yourself the headache, put everything on a single RAID 10. Disk write performance for the hypervisor is pretty low key. – Holocryptic May 2 '11 at 15:10
@Henno - still, as I said, a crap idea. You are running a VM off of the USB drive, and, oh, by the way, it's not just any VM, but one that many other things are dependent on. Save yourself many headaches down the road and just do it right. Forget about the USB thumbdrive idea. – EEAA May 2 '11 at 16:11

Further digging has not found the doc that I wanted. Not sure the latest version of VMware vSphere will access a USB device as a data store.

4.1 supports USB passthrough but perhaps I mis-read the USB store. Still looking for the doc.

Not sure a thumb drive would be a good one in any case.

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Would you find me a reference for that please? I've looked and can't find one, no doubting you but it would be great to see it listed. – Chopper3 May 2 '11 at 15:01
Looking for doc now. Thought it was in a VMware news release – Dave M May 2 '11 at 18:36… This seems to indicate that you can passthrough USB storage to a VM, but it appears the primary purpose of this feature is to allow support for usb license keys such as HASP – ITGuy24 May 25 '11 at 19:24

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