ESX4i Still No Boot From SAN Support

Posted: March 10, 2010 in VMware

Over the years I have  always recommended the full ESX install over the ESXi build for a number of reasons, heres a couple of the better technical ones.

  • Scripted Installs
  • Boot from SAN Support
  • Web Access
  • Jumbo frames supported on VMKernel Interfaces

We have all known for sometime now that VMware plan on converging the two ESX architectures, so recently I’ve making an effort to start adapting because it’s not a matter of if but instead when this will happen. (very soon I’m guessing)

Just recently a customer with existing hardware wanted to reprovision existing blades for a vSphere implementation, each blade had its own internal SAS drive which led me to recommend either an additional drive was added to each blade to allow for a raid 1 mirror, or  consider Boot from SAN.

The only problem was I found the following exert in the latest vSphere 4 update 1 documentation which shows this as being experimental for ESXi.

The customer in the end decided to add an additional drive to each blade, but I was surprised to see this was still not supported.

I’m hoping this changes in the near future.

  1. Simon Long says:

    Hi Brian, I have been in contact with VMware regarding this, no word as yet.

    Duncan Epping also Blogged about this situation:


  2. nate says:

    I run a bunch of systems on ESXi boot from san. Of course it works fine, despite being not supported(as others have experienced as well).

    I thought to post because last weekend I had an interesting experience. We had to shut our storage array down to physically move it to another location, and as part of that we had to shut down everything that was connected to it. Including a bunch of blade systems that were running ESXi with USB sticks (ESXi 3.5.x which of course did not *work* with boot from SAN at least not for us).

    Anyways we brought everything back up after the outage except one of the blades was kernel panicing on boot. Turns out the USB stick went bad. So in a matter of minutes I reconfigured the blade to boot from SAN and re-installed it with vSphere and configured it for use. Of all the things to fail, it was a little solid state USB key which, in theory should of rarely been accessed once ESX was booted(the blade had been running continuously for more than 6 months, basically since it was installed).

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