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VMware support for USB/SD devices used for installing VMware ESXi (1010574)

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This article provides clarification of VMware support for ESXi Installable deployed on a USB or SD flash storage devices.


You can install ESXi to a USB or SD flash storage device directly attached to the server. This option is intended to allow you to gain experience with deploying a virtualized server without relying on traditional hard disks. However, VMware supports this option only under these conditions:
  • The server on which you want to install ESXi is listed on the VMware Compatibility Guide.


  • You have purchased a server with ESXi Embedded on the server from a certified vendor.


  • You have used a USB or SD flash device that is approved by the server vendor for the particular server model on which you want to install ESXi on a USB or SD flash storage device.

If you intend to install ESXi on a USB or SD flash storage device while ensuring VMware support for it and you have not purchased a server with Embedded ESXi, consult your server vendor for the appropriate choice of a USB or SD flash storage device.

Additional Information

If you are installing ESXi on to a USB or SD Flash device, you cannot use the Scripted Install feature in vSphere 4.x. For more information on the benefits and limitations of Scripted Install, see Deploying ESXi 4.1 using the Scripted Install feature (1022263). This limitation is not in vSphere 5.x or later versions.


usb-support boot-device-usb

See Also

Update History

04/09/2010 - Edited article to reflect SD flash cards as well. 07/27/2010 - Added ESXi 4.1 to product versions. 08/13/2010 - Added information about Scripted Install. 03/12/2012 - Added ESXi 5.x to product versions. 06/03/2014 - Added ESXi 5.5 to product versions.

Request a Product Feature

To request a new product feature or to provide feedback on a VMware product, please visit the Request a Product Feature page.


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  • 39 Ratings