faster to copy or clone a powered off VM to move datastores


I need to move a VM to another datastore. I do not have a license for storage vMotion. I am able to power off the server one night this weekend.

Regarding the time it takes to move, does it matter if I clone or copy the VM folder to the new datastore? Also, do I need to remove from inventory before the move and re-add after the move? I realize a clone will register the VM on a host. If I copy, do I need to remove the VM from inventory and then register after the copy or can I just leave the powered off VM in the hosts inventory and just power it back on when the copy is finished?

king daddyAsked:
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Clone or Copy will take the same amount of time. Clone is safer option because you have the original left in place on the old datastore. But that's up to you whether you Clone or Copy, depends on your confidence in the system, and Backups if any!

We always COPY, but we have Backups before we do any changes with production kit, and we have utter confidence in OUR Office Systems, but at client sites we CLONE, because they tell us they have Backups, but they are LIARS!

Clone or Copy, Migrate, no need to register, unregister.

You DO NOT have to remove from Inventory to Move Datastores, Just Select Migrate Follow the Wizard, and select a new Datastore attached to the server and wait.

Why not Live Migrate - See my EE Article

HOW TO: "Live Migrate" VMware Virtual Machines between ESX/ESXi hosts and/or datastores for FREE without licenses for vMotion or Storage vMotion

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Clone of Copy using VMware is very slow. If you have a large dataset to move and you are running out of time, you may consider free tool: Veeam Backup and FastSCP.

You will need to register to get the free download.

Once you install the utility, append the command as shown.

"C:\Program Files\Veeam\Veeam Backup and FastSCP\VeeamShell.exe" -c blowfish-cbc

In my experience you will copy 2 to 5 times faster compared to VMware native copy.
king daddyAuthor Commented:
thanks hanccocka. I do have veeam 6.5. I think I will clone simply for piece of mind and not wanting to deal with restoring a 1 TB server on a weekend night. I don't want to deal with users accessing the server while I am working on it either, so I am going to power it off. I have used the Veeam quick migration tool before (after you answered a question I posted over a year ago and referenced your article). However, this server is on an old host and it says it will only do a cold migration. I figured if I had to do a cold migration anyway, might as well just copy or clone. Luckily I haven't had to move anything in about a year so I had forgotten about the remove from inventory / add to inventory - so thanks for clarifying that.

thanks insidetech. I have used SCP before and may go ahead and do that directly from the Veeam interface (I think I recall that I can do it from there somewhere - been awhile).

you both have a great weekend.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
No problems.
You are welcome ;-)
king daddyAuthor Commented:
was just able to get to this due to some other issues.

I successfully cloned the VM, while powered off, in about 3 or 4 hours. Powered it on and all went well. Copied the original to a NAS, then removed the VM from inventory and deleted the VM from the datastore.

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