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Can I attach an entire virtual machine w/ 2 partitions as a 2nd disk on a different VM?

Posted on 2013-06-14
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Last Modified: 2013-06-14
A tiny bit of background.. new VM server running ESXi 5.1.  I had done a Physical to Virtual conversion on company's soon to be retired SBS 2008 server.  I was slated today to setup a new SBS server on the same datastore, and to do the migration.  My coworker took it upon himself to virtualize two of the other servers during the week leaving me with just 500gb for the entire 2011 sbs migration.  Which leads me to my question.

Assuming that I perform all migration operations, and demote the old server literally to the point I would be turning it off, could I theoretically then disassociate that VM file from the virtual machine, and add it to my new 2011 SBS VM as a 2nd disk.  Then delete the C partition, and simply "re-use" the data portion of it on the new server.

I couldn't care less about the old server at that point, the only thing I would need on it is literally its D: (Data) drive.  The partition contains nothing but raw data, pictures, videos, user files, etc.

It would take me about 19 hours to copy all of that data off onto the NAS then copy it back after i delete the old server and partition that space as a new/blank separate disk for the SBS2011 VM.  Theoretically in my mind it should work, but I'm really new to VM so I thought i'd ask the experts whether or not my shortcut would work.

Thanks!
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Question by:ladylydian
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 500 total points
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Yes, if it's only a DATA drive, you can use the data partition on the new server, NTFS permissions will remain.

This is how we perform, upgrades of virtual servers, upgrade the OS, and just detach and attach the data disks.
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by:ladylydian
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That is actually kind of the issue... The OS and Data are both on the same disk, just different partitions.  Granted I would just be deleting the C partition anyway. I imagine it shouldn't/wouldn't make a difference what is actually on it anyway.

Thanks!!
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 500 total points
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I see no issue. Still easy, "move" the virtual disk, attach to new VM, and remove the C: partition, using Disk Management.

Have a look at my EE Article for Disk Utilities, which can help you recover the space, and shrink the disk.

HOW TO:  Resize a VMware (VMDK) Virtual Disk

you could also perform a V2V, which would just copy the D: data, and create a new VMDK.

HOW TO:  Synchronize changes when completing a P2V or V2V with VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 5.1

HOW TO:  P2V, V2V for FREE - VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 5.1
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by:ladylydian
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I can't do the V2V sadly.. the reason I even thought this up is because of the lack of space available to me.  I am going to reclaim the space by the old VM anyway, but if I could just attach it as storage rather than copy off to nas then back to server data wise, I'll take the shortcut.

Thanks again for your help!
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