In part-1, I discussed how to mount a read-only NTFS USB drive into your XenServer filesystem.

In this week’s installment, I’ll talk about Formatting a USB drive exclusively for XenServer.

If you wanted to dedicate a USB drive to your XenServers, you could format it with a Linux filesystem. That way you could use it as storage to backup your VMs, and restore them on other machines if needed. Assuming you know the device name of the partition you want to use, use the following as an example command:

mkfs -v -t ext3 /dev/sdc1

Warning: Doing this will destroy any existing data on the partition, and you will not be able to use this disk on a Windows machine without reformatting it using Windows Disk Manager: You have been warned!

As always, with any Linux command you can use the online manual (if it’s installed), for example:

man mkfs

Once formatted, you can mount this device into the filesystem, as shown previously in part-1. Now you can read and write to the drive, as in this following example which will backup a VM to the external USB drive:

xe vm-export vm=’W2K8 DC’ filename=’/mnt/backups/W2K8 DC.xva’

Come back next week, and I’ll talk about Accessing CIFS shares in XenServer.