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I have a number of servers that I would like to be able to virtualize using VMWare vCenter Converter Standalone. I've manually added/converted my servers which seemed to work OK. Now I'd like to schedule this to happen automatically nightly.

I was hoping there was a simple way of taking the configuration from the wizard and creating some kind of script from it, but no such luck. The docs are, well, sparse on this. I see that I should be able to use converter-cli.exe with some parameters to point it to an XML file. Are there any tools to help create this XML beyond just using notepad?

Also, while the examples in the PDF manual are OK they definitely don't show you all of the available options. Is there a full list of the options for the XML file available anywhere?

Is there even a manual available for version 4 - all I've been able to find is version 3?


To be more specific: I have a few physical (real) servers. I am looking to use VMWare Converter on a daily basis to virtualize them. The idea is that these virtual images are my backup in case of a hardware failure on the physical server: just fire up the virtualized copy until I can get the problem fixed. I don't have any real budget to purchase software and this looked like it could be a simple/free way of giving me an additional layer of protection.

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Just to clarify what you are looking for: You are running physical systems and want to keep running them but you would like to schedule Converter to run nightly to make a VM that is a fresh copy of the physical machine every night. Is that correct? – Helvick Aug 3 '09 at 16:17

You can use the VMware Consolidated Backup. If you are using ESXI you have to install a VM as VCB Proxy first to run the commands. If youre running an ESX host you can run the commands from its shell.

  1. get the moref id from the vm which should be backuped: vcbVmName -h $HOST -u $USER -p $PW -s name:$VM

  2. create a snapshot vcbSnapshot -h $HOST -u $USER -p $PW -c moref:$NR

  3. create a backup of the vdisks vcbExport -M 1 -s /vmfs/volumes/..../disk.vmdk -d /backupdir/disk.vmdk

  4. get the SSID of the snapshot and remove the snap SSID=vcbSnapshot -h $HOST -u $USER -p $PW -f moref:$NR Snapshot | grep "SsId" | cut -d: -f2 | tail -n 1

vcbSnapshot -h $HOST -u $USER -p $PW -d moref:$NR ssid:$SSID

Please pay attention this are just code snippets of a backup script which we use. Please edit the commands before using them.

The other vm files (vmx, vmxf...) arent backuped with this solution. If you want to save them you just have to copy them.

This works for our different remote offices where a single Vmware ESX Standard Host is running.

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VCB isn't a solution for this - the server requiring protection are implied to be physical. – aharden Aug 4 '09 at 19:52

Are you saying you'd like to run a physical to virtual conversion of a system every night? why not just back up the datastore or use one of Veeam's backup products to copy the data?

Maybe I'm missing what you're trying to do...

EDIT: What we're doing is over a weekend I'll shut down the VM, then use Veeam's free FastSCP client to transfer the VM subdirectory off the ESXi server to a local terabyte hard disk.

Technically I'm running FastSCP in a Windows VM in Virtualbox to copy to the host's external terabyte drive that is seen as a network share, but the end result is the same.

Depends on how big the servers are that you're copying as to how long it'll take.

Some of the servers I copied like this to create a "base image" backup and the guest Windows OS already has a backup being run on it from before the system was virtualized, so I should in theory just rebuild the ESXi server, copy the base image back, "recreate" it at that point then run a restore with our backup server to get files back up to the point of the last backup run off tape.

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I have $0 budget for anything. We already do a full tape backup but it doesn't really leave me w/a warm fuzzy feeling. This looked like a cheap (free!) way of getting a better level of protection. Being able to boot a virtual machine from the prior night would at least let us limp by until I could fix things. – Paul Mrozowski Aug 3 '09 at 15:26

There is an "Enterprise" version of VMware vCenter Converter, which is not a standalone, but a vCenter Server plug-in. It offers additional features, specifically scheduling, which you were asking about. Unlike the standalone, it is not free. Check it out at

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