Is it possible to migrate a guest machine off a disconnected ESX host 3.5?

Posted on 2010-11-07
Last Modified: 2012-05-10

I have a vCenter server with 6 ESX 3.5 I host, one of the host has a harddisk fault  but somehow the 2 guest vm are still running normally and I can RDP to these 2 vms and I could see users still logged on.

From the viclient, the ESX hosts and its guest vms are all disconnected state. Is there some way that I can still vmotion these vms to other operational host through vCentre?

Any help is greatly appreciated. thank you.
Question by:itontap001
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Assisted Solution

Pro_ earned 100 total points
ID: 34082041
Have you restarted services to try to reconnect to VM's
LVL 16

Accepted Solution

danm66 earned 250 total points
ID: 34082109
your safest bet is to use converter to do a life conversion of the running vm's to another host.  It is not uncommon for ESX to still keep the vm's running after a vmfs/disk crash but as soon as you bring it down, you will lose any changes if they can't be written to the disk.

You have to have the hosts running in a normal state within VCenter to do a vmotion, so if you can't restart mgmt to get them back into VC, then you are looking at doing a cold migration, if the datastore is still capable of being seen by the other hosts.  If it isn't, then you are probably stuck with trying to use converter to copy the contents over to a new vm.
LVL 40

Assisted Solution

coolsport00 earned 150 total points
ID: 34083649
As "danm66" stated...your answer is 'no', you can't vMotion VMs unless vCenter and your Cluster are working properly. Your only live migration option is to use either vCenter Converter Standalone tool ( or vRanger's vConverter ( Doing this will get your VMs off your host so you can perform maintenance on it without downtime to your VMs.

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Author Comment

ID: 34125473
I couldn't figure out how to perform a cold migration and can't google anything useful. From other hosts, there seems to be no way to add those VMs (on faulty host) to its inventory. All hosts have access to the same datastore.

Can someone provide some instructions on cold migration? This is a ESX 3.5 host.
Thank you!

Author Comment

ID: 34125493
Forgot to mentioned that I have resolved this by rebooting the physical host and the ESX host is then able to be connected via viClient. From this point onwards, I just migrate the VMs across to other hosts.

I guess restarting the vmware service might also work, but I am not sure if I was able to get into the service console at that point when 1 of the raided hdd failed.
LVL 16

Expert Comment

ID: 34125514
a cold migration is done the same way a vmotion is done, it's just that the VM isn't running.  You can "manually" do a cold migration by unregistering/removing a VM from inventory, then using the datastore browser to find the VM's folder, right-clicking on the .vmx file and choosing 'add to inventory'.

In your case with the host being in disconnected or not responding state, you would want to shutdown the vm(s) remotely, remove the host from VC (right-click, remove), then using the datastore browser through another host in the VC to add the vm's back into the VC inventory.  At that point, you can power them back on and they'll be running on one of the other hosts within the cluster.

Author Comment

ID: 34151660
Thanks danm66!

On the topic of cold migration, I have export a VM from ESX3.5 which created an ovf format of the VM. How do I add the .ovf file to the new ESX4.0 host inventory? I couldn't right click on .ovf file and choose 'add to inventory'. I've been searching online with no luck...

Please advise.


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