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I have VMWare xSphere Hypervisor 4.1 or VMWare ESXi 4.1 installed on a hard drive (sorry VMWare's naming and renaming is killing me, I am using the free hypervisor, I am just going to call it ESXi from here on out). This was a older installation that I have upgraded/patched to the latest and greatest.

The ESXi installation resides on the same disk as my main data storage. I would like to move all of this to a new drive. It appears the "industry" way is to backup the host profile, reinstall ESXi on the new drive and restore the host profile. The VM disks can then be copied over. However it appears host backups are only supported in the enterprise paid for versions.

How can I move all of my configuration and virtual machine information to the new drive with the free version?

Also, is it a bad practice to keep your main data storage on your ESXi installed drive? Is there a book or easy to read website which suggests best practices for the free ESXi?

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Do you really need to keep your host profile? If not, you can simply copy or backup your VM's, rebuild the host, and restore your VM's. – joeqwerty May 12 '11 at 16:54
I have had this machine running for at least a year. I am not sure how difficult it might be to rebuild the host. I would like to make this move as easy as possible, rebuilding doesn't seem too bad at the moment. Is there not an easier way? – Tom H. May 12 '11 at 16:57
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Personally I don't see host profiles as being that big a factor for you. You're dealing with a single host with no licensed features (DRS, HA, etc). My opinion is that it's probably easier and faster to backup your VM's, rebuild the host, and restore your VM's.

This product simplifies the task of backing up and restoring your VM's and does it relatively quickly:

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Thanks. I don't recall where I stored my license key. How do I determine my current key? – Tom H. May 12 '11 at 17:21
@Tom - doesn't really matter. You're using the free version - if you can't find the key, you can just go nab another one from VMware. – EEAA May 12 '11 at 18:21

what if you copy everything with clonezilla?

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