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Archive for July 30th, 2012

Creating vSphere 5 ESXi embedded USB Stick (failed at first in HP XW6600, but with MBR partition table it works)

Posted by jpluimers on 2012/07/30

Installing and booting ESXi 5 from USB allows you to keep your storage exclusively for VMs and separately make backup of your boot configuration and data configuration (note you cannot put the DataStore on your USB stick).

A small stick (minimum 1 gigabyte) will suffice, and works on many systems, but at first not on my HP XW6600, despite the latest BIOS version 1.36a. You get a nice “Non-System disk or disk error” message.

Both methods I tried failed at first. I thought they failed because the BIOS on the HP has limited USB boot support. It did boot from single partition USB sticks, but seemed not to boot from multi-partition ones, no matter if they are removable or HDD (with the removable bit flipped).

The ESXi5 installer is a single partition one. The final ESXi5 installed image is a multi-partition one. That’s what got me thinking into the multi-partiton direction.

Since the problem is similar to the impossibility of booting VMware workstation VMs from USB stick, (this fails even from the BIOS), I tried Plop since Plop works for VMware Workstation. The Plop USB boot manager failed too. My final thought was to install Plop on a FAT formatted USB stick(which does boot) and continue from there to the ESXi5 one: that failed too.

Boy I was wrong: the failure was not caused by the multi-partition setup, but because of my “Google blindness”: I searched in the wrong direction with the wrong keywords, therefore not getting the right links as search results.

A VMware Communities forum threads on “No bootable device” after successful ESXI5 installation on Intel DG35EC desktop motherboard” and No boot after clean install  finally got me in the right direction:

As of ESXi5, the default partition table type is GPT (GUID Partition Table), not MBR (Master Boot Record) any more (thats why an ESXi4 install will work fine).

Booting from GPT is in the EFI standards (now in its second generation UEFI or United Extensible Firmware), allowing – among others – to boot from disks bigger than 2 terrabyte. You need a BIOS that is compatible with GPT to do so, and the HP XW6600 BIOS clearly isn’t compatible with GPT.

Not all is lost, as while installing ESXi5, you have an option – though well hidden – to force it to use MBR boot. That worked, and I will blog on the steps later.

The good news: it now works on my HP XW6600 workstations (that support both VT-x and VT-d, which means I can do PCI pass through).

How to create an ESXi5 install on a USB stick

First things first though: creating the USB stick in the first place. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in BIOS, Boot, ESXi4, ESXi5, Power User, UEFI, VMware, VMware ESXi | 4 Comments »

Tonido as alternative to DropBox (via: Bei sensiblen Daten lieber eigene Cloud-Lösung – c’t – PresseBox)

Posted by jpluimers on 2012/07/30

On the research list (wow, Google Translate is very accurate this time!): Tonido

More and more programs allow users to cut the cord of cloud providers like Google and Dropbox. The Tonido software is suitable for example for users who want to make sensitive customer or patient data accessible on multiple devices without outsourcing it to an external server. “Once you have installed Tonido on your PC and create an account, you can in the local network, but also on the move access to a PC or mobile devices on the complete data set”

Original German text from the mid December 2011 issue of c’t Magazin:

Immer mehr Programme ermöglichen es Anwendern, sich von Cloud-Anbietern wie Google oder Dropbox abzunabeln. Die Software Tonido eignet sich beispielsweise für Nutzer, die sensible Kunden- oder Patientendaten auf mehreren Geräten zugänglich machen wollen – ohne sie auf einen externen Server auszulagern. “Sobald man Tonido auf dem eigenen PC installiert und ein Konto angelegt hat, kann man im lokalen Netz, aber auch von unterwegs mit PC oder Mobilgeräten auf den kompletten Datenbestand zugreifen”

Thanks Noud van Kruysbergen for translating the German c’t article into Dutch.

–jeroen

via: Bei sensiblen Daten lieber eigene Cloud-Lösung – c’t – PresseBox.

Posted in *nix, Linux, Mac, OS X, OS X Leopard, OS X Lion, OS X Snow Leopard, Power User, Windows, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista, Windows XP | Leave a Comment »

 
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