Q. How are the /, swap, /boot, and other partitions stored in ESX 4.0?

A. In ESX 4.0, the data that makes up the Service Console is actually contained within a special VMDK. This includes the files in the /, swap, and /boot partitions, as well as all optional partitions. That VMDK file is stored, by default, on the local partition—a VMFS volume itself—in the location


Being contained within a VMDK file, this service console must be installed to a VMFS partition that's local to the ESX host. Alternatively, a SAN disk can be used, if that SAN disk is masked and zoned solely to that host. You can't share this datastore between hosts.

By default, these partitions are configured at install time to support 1.25GB of space for /boot, 5GB for /, and 600MB for swap. You can optionally create another four partitions: /home, /tmp, /usr, and /var/log. These additional partitions, while not created by default by ESX’s installer, provide locations to move specific types of data onto alternate partitions. Among other benefits, this relocation prevents log data from filling up the / partition.

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