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Is this possible to migrate virtual machine's snapshots, when converting VMs from VMware Workstation 6.0.3 to ESXi4? My try is failed with vmware converter 4.0.1. The reason... my current development PC is no longer sufficient (doesn't support > 4GB of memory) but I have an HP DL360 G5 w/ 8GB at my disposal.


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up vote 3 down vote accepted

I'm not sure how you import the machines into ESXi as I've never used it, but I do know that in Workstation, a VM (including all its snapshots) are just a collection of files in a folder.

Copy that folder onto your new server, import into VMware, and you have your machine in the same state as before (snapshots included.)

If ESXi is anything like VMware Server (the freebie) you can copy the folder onto the server, then Import it using the web front-end.

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I will confirm this works fine. If you don't plan on taking the VM back to workstation, upgrade it to Vmware Machine 7 for the best compatibility. – Stephen Thompson Feb 10 '10 at 20:35

This might work if everything is just right but there can be problems. ESX4 should be more forgiving of some aspects of Workstation VM's that would give ESX3 issues (USB devices) but if you have an IDE disk in the Workstation VM it wont be happy and I'm not sure if Workstation's expandable disks, or thick disks that are automatically split into 2GB chunks are going to sit easily with ESX. It's worth a try but it might be a little more work. There are some tips here if you run into issues.

It's worth pointing out that keeping long running VMware Snapshots on ESX servers is strongly discouraged for production systems, and particularly discouraged if you have multiple snapshots. They incur a constant performance impact and they are the #1 cause of serious long term support issues. If you want some interesting reading on just how much performance impact they have you can read all about it in this VMDamentals article by Eric Zandboer.

VMware converter is the correct way to do this but it wont migrate Snapshots, you'll have to commit to the snapshot you want.

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I also recommend flattening your snapshots before using VMWare converter. In fact, I'll bet that VMWare converter will error out, if you try to convert a VM that has snapshots. – Joe Feb 10 '10 at 22:21

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