I am running XenServer for virtualization. I have a linux distro with Big Blue Button (http://bigbluebutton.org/) in .vmdk format that I'd like to run on my XenServer (it uses .vhd files). Problem is that the official tool XenConvert only works if the .vmdk contains a Windows O/S.

Here is the log I received when using the XenConvert tool:

Source is C:\Users\Administrator\Desktop\disk0.vmdk. Destination is C:\workspace. VMDK to VHD started at den 3 augusti 2011 09:38:08 Converting VMDK to VHD... Dismounting VHD... Failed to get the system directory. Windows directory is WINDOWS Scanning for BOOT volume... * Warning! * Failed to find the Windows Boot Volume. VHD C:\workspace\disk0.vhd was not configured for XenServer. VM may not boot in XenServer. Dismounting VHD... VMDK to VHD stopped at den 3 augusti 2011 09:44:32

I have tried other tools like Vizioncore Vconverter and StarWind converter, but it seems like there are no V2V tools available that allows a Linux .vmdk to be converted to a Xen .vhd file.

I am wondering if this conversion is possible?

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You might try taking a look VirtualBox. It has a volume conversion utility which may address your described needs - http://www.virtualbox.org/manual/ch08.html#vboxmanage-clonevdi.

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  • 1
    VirtualBox is fantastic for a type 2 vm's. Only downside is no management console. – portforwardpodcast Jan 31 '12 at 5:57
  • It's coming along. There's a few in incubation on sourceforge.net (sourceforge.net/directory/os:linux/?q=virtualbox) and I think Sun was also cooking up their Enterprise oriented tools prior to the Oracle transition. Most, if not all of the plumbing is there. It's just a matter of building good functional UIs to tap into its full potential. – user48838 Feb 3 '12 at 1:49

I never managed to convert the virtual machine so I installed Big Blue Button manually instead.

I have nothing positive to say about XenServer except that it's free.

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I can think of two ways to accomplish this. In both solutions you will need to boot your VMDK temporarily to get the data out.

1) Use Acronis backup software to backup from the VMDK to a Windows Network drive (or samba). You need to purchase Acronis for this to work. The hard part is that Acronis doesn't run normally under XenServer. After you purchase, use this version of Acronis to backup / restore your image magnet:?xt=urn:btih:HGWLMQVNM6XZCO73G24OM6LNW7NSS5VL

2) Use netcat and dd to send an image of the vmdk to XenServer. Use a live CD such as "Trinity Rescue Kit 3.4". Boot the vmdk with this live cd. Boot the live CD in an empty VM in XenServer with the correct sized hard drive (make it 2% bigger). Follow the directions here:


...The basics are this...

On the target system I would run: nc –l –p 7000 | dd of=/dev/hda

On the source system I would run: dd if=/dev/hda | nc 7000 –q 10

3) Does Big Blue Button provide an .iso image? I find that .iso images are the best for distributions that don't support XenServer (.xva).

Let me know if you need help with any of these options!


Port Forward Podcast

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  • 1
    This seems like a lot of hassle and I never tried this. I am thankful though that you took your time and wrote it down. – jman Dec 6 '11 at 8:15
  • For sure. I want to add that converting from one brand of VM to another is pretty hard. The are so many different VM packages out there. Probably 10+ that I can think of right now. There are even two different formats when exporting from the various packages: OVF and OVA.... Since there's no standard format for exporting, official converters often fall short when trying to port VM's around. It's important to be flexible and learn how to port between any software types you want! – portforwardpodcast Jan 31 '12 at 5:54

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