Quick Tip: Use USB storage devices as datastore on VMware ESXi

When attaching any kind of USB devices, the service usbarbitrator claims those devices to allow passing through USB devices into virtual machines. This is (one of) the reason you won’t see USB sticks as "Storage Devices" on your ESXi, therefore not allowing you to create a datastore on it.

But at this point you have to make a decision, as you can’t have both:

  1. Using a USB device as a storage
  2. OR having the ability to passthrough USB devices to VMs

Just to be very clear: This is NOT officially supported by VMware. You should not use datastores on USB devices in production.

If you decide to go ahead…

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mailpiler installation guide

mailpiler screenshot

This is my installation guide for mailpiler I have written and optimized in the last days. If there are any questions or ideas, please let me know in the comments below or via email.



piler is open source email archiving solution with benefits and many features. The main usecase is for compliance and legal reasons of companies. Piler can encrypt and compress, deduplicate mails to reduce disk usage.


This should guide you through the setup of mailpiler on a fresh Ubuntu installation. For your convenience I have added quite some sed commands for easily adjusting most configuration files as needed and also variables for easier replacing specific values throughout the guide.

However note, that the goal of this is not automating the installation and you might need to adjust the configuration to your own needs during or after steps provided. Consulting documentation and guides linked below is recommended.

This guide should take approx. 45 minutes.

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Let’s Panic: ESXi failover not working, using Static LAG/etherchannel

There was once… a customer who was concernced about the network-wise failover on the ESXi-level, which was not working as he expected it to. To shed some light on the complete scenario…


The configuration is pretty simple:

  • The switch is vSwitch0
  • As Failover order there are two vmnic adapters configured as active. (Let’s say vmnic0 and vmnic1)
  • Load balancing is Route based on IP hash (Static LAG/etherchannel/trunk set on physical switch)
  • Network failure detection is Link status only
  • Notify switches is Yes.

Taking above into consideration: When disabling one of the two active vmnic adapters on ESXi using esxcli network nic down -n vmnicX you would expect a failover to occur – don’t you? The truth is: Not necessarily. Let’s go into detail…

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Quick Tip: NSX-T 3.0: Removing VIBs manually from ESXi host

NSX-T 3.0 Main Site

Due to some experiments with NSX-T 3.0 in my lab with ESXi 7.0 hosts I was in need removing the VIB files manually from the host, as the NSX Manager failed doing so.

Just to be very clear: This is NOT officially supported by VMware! Do that at your own risk. If unsure, reach out to the support first.

Should you ever be in similar situation, here a few takeaways and lessons learned so far:

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Horizon Agent: Installation fails at VM_BlastUDPReservePorts

I’m building customized and optimized Windows 10 images for my VDI, removing unnecessary stuff from the Windows installation (to name a few: unneeded drivers, retail/demo files, Hyper-V components). This reduces the disk and memory footprint. Once the customized Golden Image for the Linked Clones is finally installed in a virtual machine and optimized (with the OS Optimization Fling) accordingly, you need to install the VMware Horizon Agent at some point before rolling it out.

All preparations done. So guess what failed after days of optimization and dozens of Windows 10 image customizations? Yep, the VMware Horizon Agent installation…

Horizon Agent: The Rollback.

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