I have a linux box at www.linode.com

I am wondering if I can backup the linux box with rsync and then convert it into a vmware machine using vmware converter? could something like rdiff also be used instead?

I would like to be able to keep a local version of my server for testing, but to be able to use it in vmware.

If this is possible, is it also possible to backup the local copy of vmware and install to the linode?

Im a bit confused by how all this works and have read up for quite a while.

Any help is much appreciated.

Cheers Ke


You've got two options:

1) With VMware Converter (many prerequisites):

It depends on the version of Linux running at Linode and the type of destination you are using.

If your destination is an ESX/ESXi host, you're in luck. If you're wanting to use VMware Server, VMware Workstation, or VMware Player you're out of luck due to how the Linux P2V process works by using a helper VM.

If you're still on board, you need to have a supported source OS. LILO is not supported. LVM volumes will be converted to basic volumes.

You need to have port 22 and 443 on your source open and your destination (a helper VM) will need to have it available to connect over the internet or a VPN.

See the VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 4.x User's Guide

Without VMware Converter (no point and click GUI, no support):

Set up a VM with identical specs to your Linode box in terms of vCPUs, RAM, disk layout, and OS.

Do a netcat/block copy of your Linode box devices.


nc -l -p 9001 | dd of=/dev/sda


dd if=/dev/sda | nc <target-system-ip> 9001

The Conshell Linux P2V is a good resource for problems, preparation and other advice using this method.

I've had success with both methods.


No, that's not how it would works, rsync won't get everything you need.

What you ask for from linode is can you get a copy in either .vmdk or .ovf format of the VM, that'll work on your VMWare box.

You may be able to make a full backup of the linux box into a tar file, then install the same linux on VMWare product box and restore however.

  • What won't rsync get? – Zoredache Oct 23 '10 at 20:18
  • What about open files? (the question mark is for me, not questioning you) – Chopper3 Oct 23 '10 at 20:44

rsync would work for getting your data, configuration and programs out, but in terms of making it work with vmware, you'll have to uninstall the xen guest tools from linode and install the vmware guest tools.

It probably would work best to install a fresh Linux in vmware using the same distribution and package versions and such, install the vmware tools, then use rsync from inside it to transfer over websites and home directories and other data files you need. If you're not installing the same distribution or package versions then you'll need to be careful transferring /etc


I wrote a step-by-step detailed answer of how I solved a very similar challenge on the question: Turning a running Linux system into a KVM instance on another machine. I hope it proves a useful answer for this question too.

I know this question is about vmware but the method is nearly the same, and many of the challenges faced are common.

Goal of the answer: to take a physical Linux P node running live-production and virtualise it. Without having to create and allocate multi terabyte disks, nor have to use md raid in the V guest, because the target hypervisor (Proxmox 5) used ZoL/ZFS. Also wanted to mitigate downtime/reboots on the running P node.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.