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Mounting a Linux partition/USB device as an NFS share to an ESXi host (2035815)

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This article provides steps to mount a Linux partition/USB device as an NFS share to an ESXi host.
You may want to mount a Linux partition/USB device as an NFS share to an ESX/ESXi host to:
  • Copy files from local datastore to a USB device without using the datastore browser download option.
  • Clone/copy a running virtual machine to a USB device.


To export the share/USB to an ESX/ESXi host as an NFS share:
  1. Connect a USB drive to a Linux machine
  2. Ensure that the USB device is detected and mounted to that machine.

    For example, run this command to mount a USB device in Linux:

    mount /dev/sdX /mnt/usb

  3. Create a file-share in that USB device.

    For Example:


  4. Verify and ensure that NFS services are running on the Linux machine.

    Note: You can use this command to start the services:

    apt-get install nfs-kernel-server

  5. Open the /etc/exports file in the Linux machine using a text editor.
  6. Add a line similar to:

    /mnt/usb/fileshare IP_address (rw,sync,no_root_squash,no_subtree_check)

    Where IP_address is the IP address of the host.

  7. Save and close the file.
  8. Run this command and ensure that you do not see any warnings/errors:

    exportfs -a

  9. Connect to the ESX/ESXi server using the vSphere Client.
  10. Click the Configuration tab.
  11. Click Storage.
  12. Click Add Storage.
  13. Select Network File System and click Next.
  14. Enter these information:

    • Server – IP address of the Linux machine
    • Folder – NFS share path

      For example, /mnt/usb/fileshare
    • Name – Any label of your choice

  15. Click Next.
  16. Click Finish.

    You should now be able to see the USB device as a datastore under Configuration > Storage > Datastores.

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