VMware’s Recent Announcement on ESXi Boot Devices

September 29, 2021 Eric TeKrony, OneNeck Solutions Architect


VMware recently released an article titled Removal of SD card/USB as a standalone boot device option, where they announced a new stance on ESXi boot devices. The article states that starting with the next release of ESXi (soon to be announced), SD cards and USB devices will not be supported as boot devices. They will require another local persistent device with a minimum of 32GB, but 128GB is recommended, for boot devices.

The reasoning behind the change is moving forward they will require higher performance and endurance that SD cards and USB devices rarely meet.

While we at OneNeck know that this information is fresh and could change, we feel it in the best interest of our clients to make them aware of this announcement. So, if VMware does not change their stance, which they potentially could due to pressure, what does this mean for you?

If you are currently booting from a local hard drive, SSD, or booting from SAN, you are not affected by this change.

If you are currently booting ESXi from and SD card or USB device, it means you will need to retrofit those ESXi hosts with new boot devices that meet VMware’s criteria. The replacement drives can be anything from 2.5” drives, M.2 SSD drives, or even boot from SAN. While VMware does state that SD cards and USB devices that meet performance and endurance criteria can still be used, we would recommend it only be considered short-term.

Another consideration as you look to replace your boot drive, keep in mind there is no easy way to transfer the install. So, we would recommend a reinstall of the ESXi hypervisor on those servers.

If you think you are affected by this and would like some help replacing your boot drive, we are here to help. Please reach out to you OneNeck Account Executive to discuss your options.

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