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Running a single ESXi 4.0 server with 5 clients. Due to some unfortunately drive failures and firmware bugs I've got corruption in the direct attached RAID 1+0 array that holds my VMs. HP assures me the only fix is to rebuild the array.

I need to schedule an outage to:

  1. Backup/move all the VMs (I've got ghettoVCB working to send backups to NFS shares on a Win2k3 server as an option)
  2. Dump and rebuild the array and tell ESXi about it when done.
  3. Restore/move all the VMs back to storage on the rebuilt array.

I'm worried about how long this might all take so toying with the idea of putting VMware Server 2.0 on the Windows Server that catches the NFS backups. Then I could at least have the machines up and running while doing the array maintenance and telling ESXi about the "new" storage. However, this leads to some "version" concerns.

If I startup the VMs from their backups using VMware Server will they have any virtual hardware issues?
After running the VMs with VMware Server will I have any issues moving them back to ESXi -- or will I need to use VMware Converter?

Anyone done anything like this?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Consider that the native format of vSphere VM could not be compatible with vmware server 2.0 and you could pass trough a vmware Converter conversion to make it compatible (granted that could be done).

I would suggest a scheduled downtime and a backup/restore without any other processing/conversion.

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Just to be clear: Are you saying that VMware Server 2.0 won't be able to run the back VMs backed up from ESXi 4.0? – Chris_K Jul 27 '10 at 19:29
[Sorry for the delay] I am just saying to test the procedure before executing it in a production environment, just in case, since we are talking about running on 2.0 a 7.0 machine. Better safe than sorry. – lrosa Aug 6 '10 at 17:14

Why not just schedule a maintenance window, export the VM's as virtual appliances, rebuild the array, and re-import the VM's?

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2 things. One, moving the VMs off and back on will take long enough (over 1GB network) so I'd like to be able to actually take two outages: 1 while moving off and 1 while moving back with everything up during the array maint. Secondly, I'm running ESXi and my only tool is vSphere client. How do I export as a virtual appliance? New concept to me... – Chris_K Jul 27 '10 at 16:40
(I clarified that a bit with an edit to the original question) – Chris_K Jul 27 '10 at 16:48
Gotcha as far as the time concerns go. As far as exporting goes, with the VM shut down, select the VM, go to the File menu and select Virtual Appliance... Export... – joeqwerty Jul 27 '10 at 16:52
I guess that's not an option in the ESXi / vSphere client world that I live in. Closest I get is "Export OVF template". – Chris_K Jul 27 '10 at 16:58
Hmmm... I swear I checked that from a VSphere client. Let me check again... – joeqwerty Jul 27 '10 at 17:06

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