I am running into difficulties trying to copy a cloned VM in VCenter to an external hard drive.

Currently I am running vSphere client version 6.0.0 build 2502222, and vCenter Server version 6 build 339083. I have 3 relevant hosts (A, B, and C for simplicity).

A has a cloned copy of one VM, B has a cloned copy of a second VM, and C has a 2 TB USB drive connected to the physical machine (Which I can get VM's on that host to see, but I can't seem to get the host to see it for a datastore).

I need to be able to get the cloned VM's onto the external HDD to send to a third party for evaluation/setup. I have found a few methods on the web, however they all require SSH access, which we do not have the credentials for. (Legacy system our group inherited).


One way to do this (there are several):

Connect the USB drive to a VM on host C. This will show up as a disk in the VM.

Copy your cloned VM's using the datastore browser from the VM on host C to the attached USB drive.

To avoid copying the cloned VM's across the network from host A and host B to the VM on host C you could connect the USB drive to host A, connect it to a VM on host A, copy the clone from the datastore browser to the USB drive... and then do the same thing for the clone on host B and host C.

  • I can't get the VCenter utility to see the share to add it as a datastore – JohnP Aug 14 '19 at 19:01
  • My method isn't related to the datastores at all. Perhaps this comment was meant for the other answer? – joeqwerty Aug 14 '19 at 19:09
  • I cannot get anything but the vm to see the USB drive. It doesn't show up in the data store browser – JohnP Aug 14 '19 at 19:25
  • Right. The datastore browser allows you to download files to the local machine (the VM), where the USB drive is attached and visible. Are you accessing the datastore browser from the VM where the USB drive is attached? – joeqwerty Aug 14 '19 at 19:35
  • I guess I'm not following. If I access the vm from the data store all I can see are the vm's files. There isn't enough space to copy the clones to there and then to the USB. – JohnP Aug 14 '19 at 20:36

As you don't have a SSH access;

I would suggest to create a NFS share from inside one of your VM, map the NFS share to create the datastore from your ESX and copy the VHD there, and after copy it to the attached USB disk from inside the VM.

I assume a Windows VM (be sure to have enought hard disk space)

  • Add the NFS service.
  • Create the NFS share inside the VM.

The configuration should look that way, sorry for the french text;

enter image description here

  • In the ESX, map to that NFS's share.
  • From there copy the necessary file into that datastore. You need to select Copy To, and you can select the other datastore (that is your NFS share inside the VM)

As seen there from the web vsphere, but the option should be there in 6.0;

enter image description here

  • After the copy, from inside the VM you should see the file inside your shared folder, simply re-copy it to the mapped USB device.
  • I am having trouble with the ESX mapping. On the host in vcenter I'm attempting to add it as NFS storage, and I get the error: NFS mount aaa.bbb.c.dd:/xxx-xx failed: Unable to connect to NFS server. – JohnP Aug 14 '19 at 21:03
  • NM. I am an idiot, I was using the IP of the host, not the IP of the VM – JohnP Aug 14 '19 at 21:20

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