How can you clone an ESXi boot drive?

Angry

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 27, 2006
Messages
470
I have an exisiting ESXi 6.0 install on a 160gb Seagate SATA, it has one VM on it,..which is freenas. It boots and shares a NFS share to ESXi.

Im trying, and it seems in vain, to clone the ESXi boot disc, Ive tried clonezilla (which is suppsoed to work and supports VMFS) but each attempt results in a drive that when the machine boots off it, it just sits at a blinking cursor.

I just want to clone this disc, so that if something happens to it, I can just swap and go, the other VMs sit on separate drives on a LSI card in I.T. mode thats been passed through to the freenas vam, that in turn shares those drives out as a NFS share for ESXi. The freenas VM will probably never change.


Ive tried reinstalling ESXi on a separte disc, and reloading the config from the orginal disc via PowerCLI, (that was actually fun to learn) and it'll work, but this results in the FreeNas VM not being found and issues with NFS shares. Seems the mac address or something gets wonky.
 
Last edited:

muz_j

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 13, 2014
Messages
227
This is for version 5, but sounds like it might be right way to go about it.
https://communities.vmware.com/thread/536346?start=0&tstart=0
most relevant part is this comment - "But it only makes sense if you clone the raw device itself with dd or ddrescue."

Not something I've done myself, but it should be doable.
Whoops - sorry, I must be tired - I just realised that's re: cloning the datastore. It might work for your boot disk though - so it's probably worth a shot.

Here's another reference to DD too - this time re: cloning a USB boot drive.
https://communities.vmware.com/thread/508213?start=0&tstart=0
 

michalrz

2[H]4U
Joined
Jun 4, 2012
Messages
3,670
There's a tool for Windows called USBit (Usb Image tool) that is filesystem agnostic and makes USB drive images which you can later load onto another USB drive.
 

lopoetve

Fully [H]
Joined
Oct 11, 2001
Messages
32,617
It's not the VMFS volume you need to clone, it's the EFI boot partition and associated FAT partitions (and bootbanks).
 

KapsZ28

2[H]4U
Joined
May 29, 2009
Messages
2,114
Get an external cloner where you put the source and destination drives in it. Makes an exact copy. I had issues with the EFI partition and the external cloner did the trick.
 

Angry

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 27, 2006
Messages
470
I havent had a chance to take the system down yet and try DD.
But clonezilla and booting off the partition magic boot disc, neither were able to make a working copy and I tried a sector by sector copy with clonezilla.

That took awhile....lol
.....and didn't work...........

But I was going to purchase one of those drive cloners like the Kingwin ones if I couldn't get DD to work.
 
Joined
Mar 27, 2012
Messages
637
Get an external cloner where you put the source and destination drives in it. Makes an exact copy. I had issues with the EFI partition and the external cloner did the trick.

It been awhile but I've successfully cloned an esxi boot drive this way. It's an exact clone. I'd think clonezilla could do it also. Your 2nd destination drive needs to be the same size or bigger. Even if it's 1 byte smaller the clone will fail.
 

Angry

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 27, 2006
Messages
470
Well.... Im a happy man.

I managed to clone the boot drive with the Kingwin thing I linked above...
And it booted ESXi just fine, Only issue i had was upon boot I had to re-add the local VMFS stoarage which the wizard picked up just fine.
The boot disk has the FreeNas VM on it that shares out the NFS share, which has the other VMs on it.
 
Top