How to shrink the Drive of a Virtual Exchange Server


I was able to use the VMware converter to correctly reduce the size of a Test VM.  I received some good advice from a previous question:'s-hard-drive.html

I was a little surprised that the process actually created a new VM instead of actually reducing the hard drive size the already existing VM.  But it worked.

I think this process is very similar to restoring a VM from VEEAM or any other backup software; but, with the converter one may reduce/increase the size of the VM in the process.  I am concerned about using this process on 2 of the 3 Virtual Machines that I want to reduce the size of the Data Drives (not the C:\Drive - OS).  The 3 Virtual Servers that I want to reduce the data drives for are:

1.  Active Directory/DNS/Global Catalog Virtual Server

2.  Exchange Server

3.  File Server

According to's-hard-drive.html  one should power down the AD and Exchange Virtual Servers and run the converter.

Is there anything else to be concerned about?  What if I bring up the new Servers and they do not quire work correctly?  Can I power down the new servers and bring up the original ones?  I would think that would be alright for the Exchange Server; but, not the Active Directory server.

Any thoughts?
PkafkasNetwork EngineerAsked:
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PkafkasNetwork EngineerAuthor Commented:
From my VMware converter experiment, I noticed:

1.  The MAC Address changed.

2.  The IP address settings were changed to DHCP.

3.  Windows was not activated, I needed to run Windows Activation.

4.  The local administrator accounts and host name were the same.
           a.  The VM was still a member of the Windows Domain.
PkafkasNetwork EngineerAuthor Commented:
This is my plan.  I am also open to feedback from the group.

1.  The AD server has nothing installed on the Data Driver, it is only used for data.
         a.  Have a fresh full backup. why not copy the date to another location.
         b.  Then power off the AD server and remove the Data drive.
         c.   Then power on the Data drive and then verify everything works.
         d.  Then power off the Active Directory VM again and add a smaller data drive.
         e.  Then power on the AD Virtual Server and verify everything works.
         f.  This way the IP address never changes and the Server's metadata never changes.

2.  I can use the VMware Converter tool to reduce the size of the File Server.
        a.  After a full back up has been made.
        b.  If the IP address changes, I can just change it back to a static IP address.
        c.  If something is not quire right then I can use the back to restore the original File Server.

3.  If we still want to reduce the size of the Exchange server then the VMware converter tool can be used.
        a.  After the adjusted AD server has proven not to have any problems.

How does the above mentioned plan sound?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
I did respond, but it didn't post, it.

That's expected of VMware Converter, because it performs a conversion. But you always have a rollback advantage with converter, because you've created a new VM. So you can always roll back to original.

That seems like a plan, or you could follow my EE Article here,

HOW TO: Shrink a VMware Virtual Machine Disk (VMDK) in 15 minutes

Always have a full backup not a snapshot before any modification to a production VM.
PkafkasNetwork EngineerAuthor Commented:
The test VM all of the sudden activated Windows software.  I still am not sure why the IP address took DHCP instead of the original Static IP address.  That is easily changed I guess.

Mr. Hancock, can you explain to me the 'rollback' feature?  Where is that and can it be used if I use the converter to resize an Exchange Server?  Or is it like a Domain Controller where if you turn on the new D.C> Virtual Server, there is no turning back?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
When you do a conversion ALL the machine is converted, and ALL the network interfaces are REMOVED, and a new one added with new MAC Address, default OS sets a nic to DHCP, so that is why.

The rollback feature is quite simply if the conversion does not complete, you still have the original source VM untouched or changed.

If of course you turn on your mail server, and mail starts to flow, you will then have blown any chances of rolling back to older machine.

After a VMware Converter VM conversion, we spend 1 hour post testing and checking the VM, before we connect it back to a production network.

This involves

0. Checkin space has been reduced correctly.
1. Adding all the Network information TCP/IP back.
2. Removing all hidden adaptors.
3. setting all services back to Automatic (you did remember to shutdown all the exchange services before conversion and set to disabled!)
4. finally connect back to network and check.....
5. if this is exchange, we test on a separate isolated network with a client.
6. we inject mail to check mail is flowing.
7. we then reboot server, for it to enter production.

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