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Copy VMWARE Image to New System

Posted on 2011-04-27
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Hello,

I have a VMWARE for Windows 2.0 server running. I want to copy the data to another VMWARE system. There are tons of files and there is a snapshot taken. I don't want to copy all of the files. What are the minimum files I need in order to copy the files needed to have a working VMWWARE image of the system I want to copy?

Thanks,
John
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Question by:jhieb
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Expert Comment

by:coolsport00
ID: 35476675
A simple thing to do is download/install vCenter Converter Standalone and 'convert' (copy) your whole VM to your other Vmware system.
https://www.vmware.com/tryvmware/?p=converter&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CCQQFjAB&url=http://www.vmware.com/go/getconverter&rct=j&q=vcenter%20converter%20standalone&ei=Dz64Tbf5J8fg0QH3rcHRDw&usg=AFQjCNH3Et0HlSZPzkw2VZxLVZoNZ_yY5g&sig2=_17yfBO22cg19QJITdLrmQ

Remove any snapshots before doing so, though. You can keep your current/orig VM up while doing the conversion.

Regards,
~coolsport00
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Accepted Solution

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bgoering earned 960 total points
ID: 35476738
At a minimum you will need the .vmx file and all .vmdk files
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Author Comment

by:jhieb
ID: 35476768
Thank you. I know about the converter and I have used it before. But, I did not ask how to convert the vmware image. I want to make a copy of the files that are needed for the image. I don't want to copy all of the files since most of them, I assume, are not needed. What are basic files I need?

=========================

Maybe, knowing the background to my question will guide you. I just did not want to waste too much time getting into history when I just want to know which files to copy.

I already have VMWARE Server 2.0 and a VMWARE ESXi DELL server. Some images will convert and some will not. For example, my Novell Netware and GroupWise image will not convert. It seems that the drivers between Server 2.0 and ESXi are not compatible. I can deal with that. Anyway, I have a customer who needs to do some testing with Netware and GroupWise. So, I want to give him basic files. But, I don't want to make him download a bunch of crap when he may just need a handful of files.

Secondly, I have a Windows Server 2008 and Exchange 2010 image. I desperately want to transfer that over to my ESXi system. But, one file will not copy. I don't know why. So, I hope that that file is not needed. If I know what the basic files are then I can find out what I need to do. But, if I have to rely on external tools to do things for me, and if they do not work, I am left here sitting on my hands wishing that the gods who made the software would answer my prayers and convert it mysteriously.

============================

Anyway, I just want to know what the basic files are that I need to copy so that I can have a valid backup of VMWARE 2.0 image. I want to only copy those files.
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LVL 40

Expert Comment

by:coolsport00
ID: 35476792
I know and understood what you asked, but gave you an alternative for keeping your VM up.

If you want to have a VMware Server 2 VM on an ESXi host, you have no choice but to use Converter since there are some slight incompatibilities between hypervisors.

Regards,
~coolsport00
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Author Comment

by:jhieb
ID: 35476809
Coolsport00. Thanks. But, I do not want to do that. When I am ready to see why my one image will not convert I will gladly post a question on that, and hope you can help me with it. But, I want to know exactly what the basic files are for an image. What basic files need to be copied. Do you know?
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LVL 125
ID: 35477288
I must agree with Coolsport00, if you want to rationalise the "rubbish" files, and have a consitent working Virtual Machine, the recommended approach is to use VMware Converter.

If you don't want to do this, post a screen shot of the files, and we will take a look, and suggest what files you need.

Also note it is possible to "migrate/convert/manipulate" Novell Netware manually, or there are production tools that are available. We use Portlock Storage Manager, this is not free, but if you contact a VMware Partner they can help you with the migration, if this server is required.
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Assisted Solution

by:coolsport00
coolsport00 earned 640 total points
ID: 35477298
Sorry for the delay...was in a meeting....

Ok, so you can copy the files "bgoering" mentions, or create a new VM (minus a virtual disk) on your ESXi host, then just copy the .vmdk and attach it to your new ESXi VM. I've assisted a few posts on here where users are unable to use a VM with a VMDK from different hypervisors (OS-based vs Bare-metal) interchangeably. Let me see if I can find either a KB or the EE post that mentions the issues experienced.

Regards,
~coolsport00
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Assisted Solution

by:coolsport00
coolsport00 earned 640 total points
ID: 35477344
In noticing your more indepth post above, you mention not being able to copy a certain file? There could be a couple reasons - you have a snapshot associated with a VM, or some backup solution that has a 'lock' on the VM file you're wanting to copy. If the VM is on while doing a copy, that places a 'lock' on the VM files and tend to get an 'unable to copy' or 'access denied' type msg while doing a copy. According to this VMware KB, http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1003746, if the VM's hardware is the same, the VM 'should' power on across platforms (hypervisors). Unfortunately, I've seen several posts on here where that is not the case. But, you can try it...

~coolsport00
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Author Comment

by:jhieb
ID: 35477347
That's OK, Coolsport00. I keep getting interrupted, too. I have to delay this to help someone, so I have to come back to this in awhile. Thanks everyone for the responses.

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Assisted Solution

by:bgoering
bgoering earned 960 total points
ID: 35477691
"But, I don't want to make him download a bunch of crap when he may just need a handful of files."

As I indicated earlier the .vmx file (contains the metadata for the vm) and the set of .vmdk files (contain disk images for a vm) need to be copied. But all things considered it is generally the disk image (vmdk) files that take the most time.

Going from one VMware platform to another typically doesn't typically require any kind of "conversion" of disk formats, however there may be some inconsistencies in .vmx parameters.

In your case for Novell I would either use the portlock tool mentioned above (http://www.portlock.com/) with instructions at http://www.portlock.com/products/storagemanager/Physical-to-Virtual-Migration.pdf.

OR

On your ESXi system create the VM for Novell without a disk. Copy the vmdk files (Use Veeam FastSCP) into the folder for your newly created machine. Edit the vm settings, add hard disk, use existing, and point to your copied vmdk files. This process should work OK for a V2V migration. Once you are able to power on the new vm follow http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1018299 in order to get the VMware Tools package installed/upgraded in the vm.

Good Luck
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Author Comment

by:jhieb
ID: 35479196
This question needs to spawn into three different questions. Also, since all three of you are "Geniuses" in this category then maybe you can make a suggestion for me to the guys at EE. For example, this question contains some very good information from all three of you. They are very good answers. Giving 500 points to one person is alright but does that adequately reward valid responders? For example, bgoering gave the first quick answer that closely resembles the correct answer I am looking for; however, the other information is very applicable and relavent. An asker needs the ability to give points to other responders and to override the questions 500 point limit when each responder should receive 500 points.

I am very interested in posting my directory's file list, and also researching why an image won't transfer to ESXi. But, that is out of the scope of this question and I would not know who to give points to. Anyway, I got that out of my system. Thanks.
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LVL 125
ID: 35479247
Hey, jhieb we all love each other, I speaking for myself, but I don't think we would be offended in a three way split! (that sounds erotic, but it wasn't meant to be!)
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Author Comment

by:jhieb
ID: 35479303
LOL. You might lose points for that comment. I have posted in groups before and people sometimes got very offended if I chose someone else. Besides, I think my suggestion is still a good one. These are great answers and each deserves more than a 3 way split. Bgoering was to answer the question first, but it is still unclear to me if "ALL" those files are necessary. And I am being lazy and don't want to test out every fraggin' scenario. My customer went away and so I don't need to give hm an image, now.
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Author Comment

by:jhieb
ID: 35479314
Here is a directory list of my Windows Server 2008 and Exchange 2010 system. One of the files, and I think it was the 30 GB file is the one that would not copy. It appeared to be in use even though I "thought" I turned off the VMWARE services.

 Directory of Y:\

04/25/2011  12:56 PM    <DIR>          .
04/25/2011  12:56 PM    <DIR>          ..
04/12/2011  09:14 AM    <DIR>          Set006 - Windows 2008 Server.vmdk.lck
04/12/2011  09:14 AM    <DIR>          564df325-ad10-22b3-29c4-1ff8d18a1f03.vmem.lck
04/12/2011  09:14 AM    <DIR>          Set006 - Windows 2008 Server-000003.vmdk.lck
04/12/2011  09:14 AM    <DIR>          Set006 - Windows 2008 Server-000001.vmdk.lck
12/22/2010  10:14 AM    <DIR>          Set006 - Windows 2008 Server.vmem.lck
04/12/2011  09:14 AM    <DIR>          Set006 - Windows 2008 Server-000002.vmdk.lck
03/08/2011  10:14 PM         6,619,136 Set006 - Windows 2008 Server-000001.vmdk
03/08/2011  10:13 PM            36,140 Set006 - Windows 2008 Server-Snapshot4.vmsn
04/07/2011  10:39 AM             8,684 Set006 - Windows 2008 Server.nvram
03/08/2011  10:14 PM    30,652,956,672 Set006 - Windows 2008 Server.vmdk
04/12/2011  09:14 AM     4,294,967,296 564df325-ad10-22b3-29c4-1ff8d18a1f03.vmem
10/25/2010  01:39 PM     2,147,483,648 Set006 - Windows 2008 Server.vmem
04/25/2011  12:56 PM     8,226,603,008 Set006 - Windows 2008 Server-000003.vmdk
03/08/2011  10:14 PM     4,461,232,128 Set006 - Windows 2008 Server-000002.vmdk
03/08/2011  10:13 PM               962 Set006 - Windows 2008 Server.vmsd
12/22/2010  10:16 AM       135,446,991 Set006 - Windows 2008 Server.vmss
04/12/2011  09:14 AM             2,525 Set006 - Windows 2008 Server.vmx
03/01/2011  08:51 PM             8,475 Set006 - Windows 2008 Server.vmxf
04/07/2011  10:39 AM         1,870,601 vmware-0.log
03/08/2011  10:14 PM           330,144 vmware-1.log
03/08/2011  10:08 PM           399,900 vmware-2.log
04/12/2011  09:14 AM                 0 vmware.log
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LVL 125
ID: 35479350
I'm relatively new to EE, but my understanding is, allocation of points is done by the Author, based on what he thinks is the most suitable answer to his question.

I'm sure bgoering and coolsport00 will chip in and comment, with us three it's all swings and roundabouts, some of us get points on one question, and another time someone else gets them.

If you really you need to seek assitance from the Moderators/Admins, then hit the Request for Assistance button. and they can advise, as I am not a Moderator or Admin, I shouldn't try to advise on the matter. The Moderators and Admins are much better placed to discuss this with, I'm just a Techie VMware Geek, Addict!
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Assisted Solution

by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 400 total points
ID: 35479366
don't need logs (*.log)
dont the lck files and folders (*.lck)
(when the machine is off, they shouldn't be there really, only if it's crashed alot do you get them)

vmx
vmdk
nvram
vmss
vmxf
vmsn
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LVL 125

Assisted Solution

by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 400 total points
ID: 35479380
oh and

vmem
vmsd

i would zip all the files together, zip/rar really reduces the unsed space in the vmdk.

so you need all those
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LVL 125
ID: 35479385
you could always used the Process Explorer

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896653

to check what process has a lock on the file.
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Assisted Solution

by:bgoering
bgoering earned 960 total points
ID: 35479648
I am also not opposed to a division of points - that is how it should be done if more than one responder provides information to resolve your issue.

As for the files - I stick with the idea of only needing the vmdk (and possibly the vmx - though the vmx can be fairlly easily recreated).

As far as the others...

nvram - bios backup will be recreated on 1st power on
vmss - stores state of a suspended vm, shouldn't exist unless vm is suspended
vmxf - only used if vm is in a team
vmsn - snapshot state of running vm that has a snapshot taken with preserve mem state selected
vmem - paging/swap file
vmsd - snapshot metadata file

If any of these others are missing you should still be able to create the vm on another platform.

As a matter of course I would recommend that you remove the snapshots before moving the vm. I am a bit curious though as to how you were able to get multiple snapshot levels from VMware Server? I was under the impression Server limited you to a single snapshot. Are you certain this isn't from the Workstation product?

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Expert Comment

by:coolsport00
ID: 35479804
I concur...just 'divy' as you (the Author) deem fit. Sorry again for the delay...just one of those days; will post more if needed/I can get more time :P

~coolsport00
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Author Closing Comment

by:jhieb
ID: 35479923
Thanks everyone for the feedback. This was a great thread and I am sure it will help others.
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