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I'm running VMWare ESXi 5.1.0 build 1065491.

I'm trying to move all files for a VM from one VMWare host to another so I can replicate the VM. I can't download the files as it'll take 60+ hours, same story with doing an export. I'm trying to plug in a USB drive to the server housing VMWare so I can just copy the files to it in VSphere, unplug and sneakernet it over to the other server.

VMWare seems to be refusing my reality and substituting its own by not allowing me, no matter what, to connect a USB drive to it and treat it like a datastore. Is there a way to do this?

I'm not trying to mount the USB drive to a VM. I need the *.vmdk and related files from a VM.

I've restarted the host to no avail.

  • Just to confirm your question, you are trying to plug in a USB storage device into an ESXi host, is that correct? You want the storage device to be accessible from host OS running on the ESXi host, so you can transfer the contents, from one of its datastores? – Ramhound Aug 25 '16 at 20:30
  • Yes. I want to, in VSphere, transfer from datastore1 to USBWhatever when it's plugged in. – Brandon Aug 25 '16 at 20:35
  • I assume this ESXi host is not connect to the same intranet as the other ESXi host? If something is going to take 60+ hours to download it will take nearly that long to transfer to a USB device. Have you tried to add the USB HDD as a datastore? I only have access to ESXi 5.5+, does the VMWare documentation, give any indication that the ESXi 5.1 even supports USB HDDs? – Ramhound Aug 25 '16 at 20:40
  • I ended up connecting a QNAP NAS box as a NFS datastore to both systems. Took about 3 hours total to transfer to then from the datastore. I underestimated how slow SSH data transfer actually is. – Brandon Aug 27 '16 at 0:36

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