If you’re like me, then you have a separate, backup copy of your images and VM files so that if something happens to your VMware Server/ESXi Server or your storage of choice where your production vm files are stored, you can quickly move them from your backup location to a new vm server while you work to get the problem resolved. This was pretty straight forward with VMware Server. You go to your vm server, browse to the files where the “Virtual Machines” are stored, and copy them to a backup location (completely seperate from your production storage device, i.e. SAN, NAS, DAS, or local RAID storage).
This has changed in ESXi because you can’t log into your ESXi server (like you would a windows machine). So, how do you get to the files? There’s probably a number of different ways, but the way that I found is to use… VMware Converter!
Just like you used VMware Converter to move your VM files from the VMware Server to the ESX Server, you can also take your VMware ESXi files and move them to a network share (or your desktop) using VMware Converter. You then have VM files that you could easily move to another VMware Server, or use VMware Converter to move them to another ESXi Server should something happen to your production server/storage.
With the full VI3, your options are available through the VMotion, HA, and other technologies available for virtually no-down-time moves from one physical server to another. But, you don’t get that free with ESXi.