The first challenge I’ve come across is getting the DQ77MK motherboard to boot to a USB device. I want to have ESXi installed on a USB drive and have drives for datastore only. This has given me some nice flexibility previously.
Removing all but a single USB drive with ESXi installed on and setting the boot order in BIOS to this specific device should in my opinion work. It does not. Playing around with boot order, boot up delays (in case the USB drive takes a long time to initiate,) and other boot options such as Boot USB first, boot removable drives etc. does not help either. However, if I boot and press F10 to bring up the boot selection menu and selecting the correct device it works.
I will submit a question to Intel support. I’m actually somewhat interested in how they handle their support since I have not had the need to try it before.
* UPDATE *
I found a solution to the issue. ESXi uses GPT and “UEFI Boot” needs to be enabled to get it to work. This thread over at the Intel Community solved it for me: DQ77MK does not boot automatically from SSD drive.