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What's the recommended approach/tool to migrate VMs from VMware Server 1.0.7 (under Win2003 x64 Enterprise) to ESXi 4 ?

Some of the VMs are running Win2003 Enterprise x86, others run Ubuntu JeOS 8.04.

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4 Answers

up vote 10 down vote accepted

vmware converter will be the simplest way to do it. Once you have ESXi built and the vms copied to a location, just launch converter, you will be asked for the source machine then to give it a destination, that will be your ESXi server, then follow the steps, even if the import fails it will not affect your source vm.

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isn't vmware converter just for windows? –  Mauricio Scheffer Jun 25 '09 at 20:06
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+1 - This is the easiest way to do it. @mausch: It runs under Windows, but it will migrate any type of VM. –  Evan Anderson Jun 25 '09 at 20:11
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There is also a standalone, commercial version of Vmware converter. It is a boot CD (coldclone.iso) that you can use to convert a machine while it is off. The disc contains a pre-installed Windows 2003 image that runs a built-in version of converter. Since you boot from the CD, none of the server’s processes start-up so you can get a good clone of the hard drive.

To be able to to download this CD image you need to be properly licenced.

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VMWare Converter is the simple and easy way. If you have issues with a straight convert, I would suggest two other ideas:

Point the VMWare Converter at the live system and select convert physical machine.

Boot Ghost from Unix (or the cloner of your choice) inside of the VM, store the output to an external server, Create a VM in ESXi, boot from the cloner disk and download the image.

When I tried to upgrade using the VMServer files, the Converter kept crashing because it didn't like the linked clone VMs with multiple drives. I used the second method to due my first round of migrations and then when VMWare Converter 4.0 came out, I found that the first method started working for me.

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Just and FYI the converted VM would not run. I got an error about a line in the VMX file. Something about a variable having been already defined. I had to delete the offending line to get the vm to run.

Just a heads up for those who might run into a similar issue.

Cheers, Dave.

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