Shrink one drive in large VM (vsphere 5.5)

Hi Experts,

I have a Win2008 server which is about 2.5 TB.  One of my drives is about 500GB oversized, accidentally.  I want to shrink the drive so I have more space to allocate to another archive drive  -- all coming from the same SAN.

I was trying VMware Converter but the conversion is taking days.  Since the server is in use, this is making no sense as the data will be 7 days old by the time its finished.

Is there a way I can migrate just one drive rather than the whole VM to speed up the process?

Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Is this already a VM?  If so you could just use VMconverter for just the base system and the C drive...once it's done, you could detach the other drives from the old vm and attach them to the new one and you'll have everything current.
Mr TorturSystem EngineerCommented:
as Black Flag mentioned above, you can migrate just one drive with vmware converter.
At the last step before launching the migration you will have the option to choose which drive to migrate/convert.

In my actual version of vmware converter (5.0.1), which is already rather old, I also have an option (also at the last step of converter) to synchronise the changes after a first migration pass. I did not test this option yet but I think you could look if it is interesting for you or not.
Ultimate Tool Kit for Technology Solution Provider

Broken down into practical pointers and step-by-step instructions, the IT Service Excellence Tool Kit delivers expert advice for technology solution providers. Get your free copy now.

svillardiAuthor Commented:
Well, I tried converter and spotted the option to choose just the drive I wanted to resize but the job got stuck, several times.  I am trying a robocopy, but that's not going so well either.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Unfortunately, sync changes only works, on like for like VMs, unless they've changed it in 5.5!

so you cannot shrink a drive and sync....

but see my EE Article if interested

HOW TO:  Synchronize changes when completing a P2V or V2V with VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 5.1
Mr TorturSystem EngineerCommented:
Hi again,
By the way svillardi, you did not answer Black Flag's relevant question : your server is a VM, or not ?
And another thing, it could be of use to give us info about your VM's drives (I am assuming here that your oversized drive is not your system drive, and that you have only these 2 drives, 1 system and 1 data).

if it is a VM, and assuming you can power it down "a little", one method could be the one I describe below, but note that you will have to create a new VM, and at the end delete the actual one :

1) create a new VM that will replace the actual one ; don't give or create any disk to this VM

2) shut down the actual VM

3) clone the VM system drive vmdk with this KB, then power back on your actual VM
Clone the vmdk giving it the name of the new VM, for example VM001.vmdk

4) move the vmdk system drive you just have cloned in this new VM's folder (vmdk and flat.vmdk files) ; attach this vmdk system drive to this new VM, editing its settings

5) the data migration part : create a new vmdk for your new vm, with the size you want (well, in fact, the actual volume of your production VM data drive minus 500GB if I understand correctly) ; then copy your data from the actual production VM to the new one (robocopy or another data migration tool)

6) when you are ready, stop the production on the actual VM, make a last pass of robocopy, and you're done ; you can shut down the old VM and work with the new one.

I tested it, it works, and I manage to have a fine new VM (with clean naming of folder, vm and vmdk files).
You will have to deal with the Microsoft domain when you have both VM, old and new, with same name/ip, and want to migrate your data. But it was not the more difficult part.
Also you will have to set again your ip parameters on the new VM as the network card is recreated during the process.

You can also clone the system drive while VM is powered on, snapshoting it before, but this is not my advice.
svillardiAuthor Commented:
OK, sorry for getting back so late, but here's what's going on:

Yes, this is already a VM.  There are 4 or 5 drives, and this is the 2nd largest drive at 1.2 TB.  I want to reduce it to 600 GB.

I finally added a new drive to the VM and began to robocopy everything.  I had to change my switches, now using:  "robocopy F: G: /MIR /R:0 /W:0 /LOG:C:\copy-f-g.log.

It's taken time but it's working.  Eventually, I will have to stop the services so that the files which are open will get copied and then I simply switch drive letters.

Is there any problems with this approach I am missing?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
that process will work....
Mr TorturSystem EngineerCommented:
Ok, so it is a VM. Good info ; )

Your approach seems good to me too.
You will have to recreate your shares because robocopy will not do that.
I oftenly use these robocopy's flags, maybe you will want to have a look at them :

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
svillardiAuthor Commented:
Mr Tortur,

If the drive letters are being switched, doesn't the shares remain?

Mr TorturSystem EngineerCommented:
Hi Svillardi,
Sorry for the delay. I would say no the shares will not remain, because robocopy does not "migrate" that. There is a small chance, yes, as you try to guess, that after migrating your data, if you delete the old data drive, and reboot the vm (or just lanmanserver service restart, see the link below, at the bottom) with the new data drive having the original data drive letter, that shares work. But I would not do that at the last time without testing if I were you.
If not working, there are several method to migrate your shares, including using another tool than robocopy, but I think it will surely not be free.
I remember there was a registry key you can use to recreate shares easily, depending on your OS version. Well, according to this one it is more difficult for 2008 first release, but not for 2008R2 : 
I don't know what is yours.
svillardiAuthor Commented:
I was looking for a faster alternative, but I wasn't comfortable with the solutions provided.  So I went back to robocopy.
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.

Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.