Jason Perlow writes for ZDNet.com a respectable online magazine. Jason wrote an “excellent” article about VMFS-3 and the fact that it was so hard to copy files from and to these volumes. (“VMware bad / Microsoft good” is the tone of the article.) Jason could only get the trick done by creating an NFS share, mounting it and then copy the data. He even experienced ESX crashes due to storage and network contention problems. (First time I ever heard this and it makes me wonder what kind of environment we are talking about here.) Scott Lowe already responded and at first I did not wanted to respond but it started itching again when one of my colleagues reminded me of this article today.
In the past I’ve used various methods to copy files to and from a VMFS-3 volume but after reading Jason’s article I started doubting myself. Did I really attach a USB drive, mounted the FAT32 partition and copied files or am I delusional? Is my vBrain playing tricks on me? No, I’m pretty sure it did work in the past. Other options I’ve used in the past are of course Veeam’s excellent tool FastSCP(Jason, try Google the next time!) and tools like WinSCP. Another option, and most definitely the best option when importing VM’s of course is the freely available VMware Converter, which everyone who is familiar with VMware probably knows and used at one point in time.
So lets repeat the options mentioned to do this simple task:
- Mounting a FAT32 formatted USB Drive
- VMware Converter
- VMware vSphere/vCenter Client
I guess anyone can use option 2 to 5 but option 1 might be a bit more difficult for some as according to Jason it is impossible to mount a FAT32 formatted USB Drive. Hold on here we go and I promise it is going to be a bumpy ride:
- Logon to ESX Host and insert USB Drive
- Create a folder to mount the USB Drive to:
- Figure out which device to mount:
dmesg | tail
- Mount the FAT32 formatted USB Drive:
mount /dev/sdc1 /mnt/usbdrive -t vfat
- Do your magic
Just to make sure it worked I copied /etc/vmware/esx.conf to the USB Drive. Now lets copy the data to the VMFS volume…. hey that’s weird it works flawlessly. No bumps at all. I don’t know what went wrong in Jason’s situation / environment but ESX is perfectly capable of mounting FAT32 formatted USB Devices. Hey, if you want to you can even mount NTFS devices, although this is unsupported. But why take the difficult route? Why not hook your disks up to a workstation and install the free VMware Converter and import your VMs the easy way without worrying about mounting drives… Next time before you try to bash VMFS / VMware you might want to get your facts straight. Oh and by the way, it’s VMware and not VMWare.