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Moving ESXi VMs from one datastore to another datastore:

Posted on 2014-10-31
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Last Modified: 2016-02-25
I have 2 virtual hosts running ESXi.  They both have 4 VMs connected to them but the datastore is a SAN.  vSphere is running on 1 of the 8 VMs.

We purchased 1 new virtual host that's also running ESXi. This host has local storage only but can easily house all 8 VMs. I created 1 VM on this host so far and it's running vShere.

I don't know the easiest/quickest way to move these 8 VMs onto this new virtual host (7 actually as the vSphere VM on the old host will be deleted because we already have a vSphere VM on the new host).
Is there a way I can give this virtual host temporary access to the SAN and move the VMs in that way?

Any help would be appreciated.

If it's of any use, I have a VMware Essentials Plus license and a Veeam Backup license.
The 2 old virtual hosts are using the VMware Essentials Plus license.
The new virtual host is running in (now expired) trial mode.
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Question by:homerslmpson
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by:Stampel
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If you do not use advanced vmware features that allow dynamic moving of VM storage (storage vMotion), i  would suggest you use VmWare converter product.
Veeam could also be used as you mention it.
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
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The easiest way for you, is to use your Veeam Backup and Replication tool, and complete a Backup and Restore.

@Stampel - No storage vMotion in VMware Essentials Plus license, Converter is long winded, and the Asker should already have Backups he can Restore! and should really test Backup and Restore!
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by:Stampel
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I know Andrew, only stating that this feature exists.
What do you think of veeam ?
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by:homerslmpson
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I tried using Veeam's quick migration on 1 VM that was powered off and that failed.
It tells me the target datastore isn't accessible.
Not sure why it couldn't access the datastore on the new virtual host.
I can try the actual BACKUP function to see if that works any better.
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by:Stampel
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Strange, did you see the destination datastore or was not listed ?
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
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Backup and Restore.

@Stampel Ask a question.
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by:homerslmpson
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I think this is all stemming from the expired trial versions of the software I have installed.
The real licenses are being used on the 2 old virtual hosts and I can't move the licenses until the VMs are off of them.
I'm just going to shut the machines down, browse the datastore to a network drive and upload them to the datastore on the new virtual host and add them to inventory.
I don't know if this will work 100%. I'm trying it now with one of the VMs and we'll see what happens. Granted, it will take the whole weekend to get this done but I got nothing better to do.
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by:Stampel
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You may loose thin provisioning for example.
Also if you use different versions of VMware they may have different implementations of virtual disk files.

See "Considerations and caveats" section there :
http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=900
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by:homerslmpson
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All of the VMs are thick.
Are there other things we could lose?
We have a very basic configuration.
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
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You can certainly do it that way without any issues.
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by:homerslmpson
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OK a new problem has come up.
The download of the 80GB VM took about 30 minutes.
Now I'm trying to upload it to the new virtual host's datastore and it's going to take 280+ minutes. Not an exaggeration. Clearly something is wrong.
Any ideas?
8 x 1TB SATA III 7.2K drives in RAID1+0
Is it really THAT slow???
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by:Stampel
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I think in your case i would use Vmware converter using gigabit network.
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by:homerslmpson
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Nothing is working for me.
I can copy files from the licensed ESXi host at a reasonable speed (46 MB/s) but uploading is excruciating.
I tried to DOWNLOAD a file from the unlicensed host just to see if it's the host itself or the upload speed and it gives me an error  (FILE OPERATION FAILED) when using vCenter.
And when I used "Veeam Backup and FastSCP", I get the following message:
ErrorI'm getting ready to just reinstall ESXi on the virtual host so the trial starts anew as I can't help but feel I'm hitting these roadblocks at least partially because of this.
The problem is, I have a few VMs on there I'd like to move off temporarily but I can't even accomplish that at this point so I'm now going to have to reinstall ESXi, vCenter and 2 more VMs I created. A lot of wasted time and effort.  My fault for letting the trial expire.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 500 total points
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What happened to using Veeam Backup and Restore ?

Do you currently use Veeam to backup your VMs?

So run a backup, and then restore.

The new virtual host is running in (now expired) trial mode.


This will be an issue, you will not be able to use ANY backup product.

What have you been doing for 60 days?
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by:homerslmpson
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Yes, I use Veeam to backup (some of) the VMs.
The license is only good for ONE virtual host though.
I have 2 virtual hosts.
The (4) VMs that I NEED backed up are on the licensed virtual host.
The other (4) virtual host contains VMs that aren't mission critical.

Regardless, I can't restore a backed up VM onto the new virtual host until I add it to Veeam.
It won't let me add it.  I get the following error:
Error
This might be because Veeam is installed and running on an XP VM but I'm not sure. The new virtual host is running ESXi 5.5.1 and the licensed virtual host is running ESXi 4.1.0.

Regarding what I've been doing. Nothing I guess. Thumbs up my a$$ apparently.  
Joking aside, I'm the only IT person here for a mid sized company with about 75 employees across 3 branches; one of which just relocated. Things happen. Because we currently have a working environment, this wasn't on top of the priority list. When I first installed ESXi onto the new hosts, it was kind of for a test run that flowed into an actual project.
Clearly if I reinstall ESXi and all of the VMs, and actually put this on the top of my priority list, the entire project will be done well within 60 days.
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
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Okay, I think we need to look at a different strategy here, to save your bacon, and help you out, pronto!

Okay, can you just quickly bullet point me, what we've got....

Source...

Destination.....

Can you attach the SAN to the new Server ?

YES/NO ?
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by:homerslmpson
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I appreciate the willingness to help here but it's not a HUGE deal. It's not like a server down scenario or anything.

I know absolutely NOTHING about SANs except that they suck and that they are a risky headache waiting to happen (from what I've heard). Oh and the SAN has a RAID5 config to make things that much worse lol.
There is no way I'm even touching that thing until all of the VMs have been migrated onto the new virtual host.  From there I can at least tinker with the SAN and see if we can use it in some other scenario. So no dice to attaching the SAN to the new server.

I think a nice fresh reinstall of ESXi will hit the spot about now.  The limitations of an expired vCenter license is just too broad.
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
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Okay, whatever method you do, shunting/copying data takes a while so be patient, it does not matter whether WinSCP, Veeam FastSCP, VMware Converter, Backup and Restore...

A simply method, but does require the VM to BE OFF, and it works with FREE ESXi, is to use Export to OVF and Import from OVF.

I have an EE Article here with screenshots for you to follow..

.Part 10: HOW TO: Backup (Export) and Restore (Import) virtual machines to VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 for FREE

it's a little simpler than VMware Converter, and also copying files manually off the datastore to a workstation, as it roles up your VM into an OVF, ready to import.
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by:homerslmpson
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That sounds like it could be helpful.
I'm reinstalling ESXi 5.5 now and will see how it goes.
Thanks.
I'll update this question soon.
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by:homerslmpson
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OK so I reinstalled ESXi 5.5 on the virtual host but I'm still somewhat limited.
The reason being is that my current virtual host is running ESXi 4.1.0.
When I try to add the ESXi 5 host into vCenter it says no dice because of the different version.
I'm going to give Veeam another shot while the trial license is still active and see what comes of it.
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
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That's correct vCenter needs to be at least version 5.5!
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by:homerslmpson
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Reinstalling ESXi along with Veeam allowed me to "quick migrate" the VMs from one vHost to another.
I was getting copy speeds of 30 MB/s but after setting up a proxy vm on the target I started getting 200+ MB/s so it's copying pretty quick.
I was able to migrate one of the (unimportant) VMs while it was still powered on as a test and only lost that VMs functionality for a few minutes during the migration.
I might just use quick migrate on one VM per evening over the next few evenings.
Thanks for the help!
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