Hi folks

(For people who might be trying ESXi for the first time - remember to access the VM's via console or equivalent you need to access via a SEPARATE machine such as a laptop running vSphere client (works a bit like RDP) / SSH etc and it's free as is Esxi - the esxi machine itself has only a limited command set -- you can test it as a VM itself though but then running 2nd level VM's won't give you good performance --good for testing to familiarize yourself with it though).

For USB support on Guests :

vSphere Documentation Center

For Sound :

This little trick works if you are using ESXi as a Host and you want sound on a Windows VM. It's not officially supported but I've tried this and it works.

Simply on the ESXi machine edit the .vmx (config) file of the VM you want to add the sound to and then reboot the VM.

To edit files on the Esxi machine read this :

VMware Knowledge Base

Here's the lines that need to be added / modified

sound.present = “true”
sound.allowGuestConnectionControl = “false”
sound.virtualDev = “hdaudio”
sound.fileName = “-1”
sound.autodetect = “true”

I like the idea of Esxi as it has minimal overhead and the VM's are almost as good as the physical machines.
I can boot up the Esxi system from an internal micro SD card inside the sever (testing an old GEN 8 Microserver for this - hosting 5 VM's concurrently without performance issues so far). The old Gen 8 allows booting from an internal micro sd card / internal USB device plus standard external USB slots as well as HDD's.

If you use this server don't bother with the built in RAID it's a "pseudo hardware/software thing and not good" -- if you want to use RAID do it via software for Linux VM's. You disable the servers RAID by setting in the BIOS the controller mode to AHCI. Then it works just like "Normal computers" where you can see the HDD's etc.

You can pick these servers up really cheaply -- make good NAS boxes or home labs -- if you are a gamer then this is not for you as the processors these servers have won't be fit for that purpose even if you add an external graphics card. For general learning / experimenting --great boxes with tiny footprint and low power consumption. And they do support 4 X 6 TB HDD's -- I think when these servers came out 6TB HDD's weren't that common or mega expensive.