ESXi Free Move Guest from one ESXi 5.0 server to another (using zeroedthick local datastores)
Posted on 2013-01-21
I have inherited a four host server production environment with 3 - 4 guests per server and need to rearrange the guests due to growing memory and CPU needs of more than one guest on some hosts to balance the resources out. The host is already at max RAM 8GB and one CPU dual cores.
I thought this process is meant to be simple and easy to perform with VM, however only if external shared storage for guests (vmdks) is in use but not this scenario.
So I have read various VMware guides and searched the web but have not found a matching scenario or clear answers to the questions each raise, hope someone knows more about free ESXi 5.0 and practical knowledge of moving vmdk's.
I have located the vmkfstools but is zeroedthick the same as Thick provision Lazy Zeroed?
I have also noted veeam fastscp may be faster, some notes say don't use vmkftools but use vCenter GUI tools but will the free version perform the guest moves without vMotion?
The target production task - is to move a guest vm (windows server 2008 domain controller - two virtual drives) from one Dell SC440 Intel Xeon 3060 (same hardware or very similar) to another server. The host disks are RAID1 SATA drives. Teamed 1Gb nic cards.
Each production server has two/three virtual disks and the vmdks are stored in the single datastore1 held on each host ESXi server.
(Probably will be moving other servers around once this has been mastered)
The guests are backed up nightly via windows server backup to a NAS.
The Host and Guests are not regularly backed up although veeam backup has been installed and used when originally built. A veeam backup before production server moves will be completed.
First task is to test this out with a guest (windows 7) that is currently powered off and not vital.
Please can someone list out the method of migration best suited to this and any concerns/warnings I should be aware of in the process and resolve the following questions?
Also does the guest need to be on or off in the process?
If snapshots have been taken previously will this cause problems with the move or add additional steps?
Some suggest renaming the vmdk in the process but is this necessary and what about multiple virtual hard drives?
Should a copy be attempted rather than a move as a precautionary measure in case the new location guest fails to run?
Is this best run from the source / destination host or another computer?
Hope I have listed out all relevant info and questions.