ESXi 6.5 boot drive clone issue ;(

So, let’s starts with the standard “I’m a noob and need help”. I have a home lab with ESXi 6.5, couple Ubuntu VM’s and a freenas VM. Nothing crazy.

My boot SSD which also has my datastore on it is running out of space, so I decided to buy a larger ssd, seems simple enough. I pop out my old SSD, put both it and the new larger one on my test bench and DD clone it. Cool, ESXi boots. Pop new ssd in my server, ESXi boots, but the datastore isn’t found by ESXi, thus no VM’s. All of my ESXi seetings seem to be intact. User and password, IP, vlans etc. so I’m not exactly sure what is up, or what went wrong.

Any ideas? Is there a recommended way to do this beyond DD Clone?

I have never done this, but I understand you can more or less “export” or “copy” an Ubuntu VM, send it to someone, and they can pop it in their ESXi and it will run. I could always do this from my old SSD to my test bench, load new fresh ESXi instal SSD into server, download old VM’s etc but I would have to setup ESXi again which would be annoying. There has to be a “simple” way to do this, or something I am just missing outright.

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  1. Never done that.

    You could install ESXi fresh on the new SSD and then put both in. And Storage vmotion all machines from the old SSD to the new one. (storage vmotion can be done with the VM’s off without an expensive license)

    Or use a isci/NFS nas for tempory storage if you have one.

  2. So your DS is on the same SSD as boot? Not sure if doing a clone will work…i’d suggest putting in your old SSD, boot it back up and copy out your VMs (they are just files, just browse the datastore through the host client).

    Then when reinstalling ESXi why not put it on a USB? 8GB should be big enough, my home lab hosts have USB for boot, with SSDs internally for storage. That way you can use the full capacity of both SSDs for your VMs.

    One note is that with USB boot you wont have persistent logs but for home lab that generally isnt an issue. If you do what to keep logs a simple syslog server will do the trick (I have a vRLI instance for this purpose)

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