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Can I move a VM from vmfs5 to vmfs3 storage?

Posted on 2016-09-30
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Last Modified: 2016-10-07
Is it possible to move VM from VMFS 5 (Block Size 1 MB) to VMFS 3 (Block Size 8MB) and vice versa?
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Question by:cbinayak
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Expert Comment

by:Dan Dhillon
ID: 41823723
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Author Comment

by:cbinayak
ID: 41823737
The VM has less than 2 TB vmdk file in VMFS 5 datastore. Considering this can I move it to VMFS 3 datastore and vice versa?
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Expert Comment

by:Dan Dhillon
ID: 41823742
Yes, use vmotion or turn off vm and move to another data store. is this for a customer or test lab?
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Author Comment

by:cbinayak
ID: 41823744
The VM is a critical one for customer. Can't I do live migration?
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Expert Comment

by:Dan Dhillon
ID: 41823749
Yes you can do live migration if you have a licenced version of vmware vcenter. Must have vmware tools installed.
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LVL 117
ID: 41823823
You can, but remember VMFS3 is deprecated, not supported.

also it will also depend on the BLOCK SIZE of the VMFS3 datastore.

and why would you?

Before I can confirm if you can move the VM, t an unsupported VMFS version, you will need to check the BLOCK SIZE of the VMFS3 datastore supports the current size of the VM.

Otherwise NO, you cannot move it.

Also it's Storage vMotion NOT vMotion, vMotion will just move the VM to another host.

I'm afraid it's nothing to do with a licensed version of vCenter Server, you MUST have Licenses for STORAGE VMOTION!

e.g. you could have a licensed version of Essentials, it includes a License for vCenter Server, but does not include a licensed for the Storage vMotion function.

So In Smmary a few questions you need to answer, and research ?

1. What is the block size of VMFS3 datastore ?

2. What vSphere license do you have ?
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Author Comment

by:cbinayak
ID: 41823836
We have vCenter 5.1 running. We have VMFS 5 datastore with Block size 1 MB. While trying to consolidate snapshots we are getting "File is larger than the maximum size supported by datastore" error. We are also not able to create snapshot of that particular VM. That's why we wanted to migrate the VM to a different datastore with Block 8 MB in size and the try to consolidate.  

Are we in right path? Need your expert comment as this is a critical VM.
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LVL 117
ID: 41823851
I suspect that your VMFS5 could be an upgraded VMFS3, which although may show a block size of 1MB, keeps the characteristics of a VMFS3 datastore.

VMFS3 with a block size of 8MB will support a large VMDK.

BUT...What size is the virtual machine disk, this is CRITICAL!???
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Author Comment

by:cbinayak
ID: 41823957
This is the error I am getting while trying to consolidate.
Disk Consolidation ErrorThis is the Datastore Configuration.
 Datastore ConfigurationThis is the size of vmdk files.
VMDK File Size
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LVL 117
ID: 41823979
The error message suggests that ALL the snapshots  + parent virtual disk, are larger than the max of the datastore.

what is the reported size of the virtual disk, and what does it state it's max size is ?

hint:

right click vm, edit settings, select disks

or it's a corrupted snapshot, and the error message is false.
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Author Comment

by:cbinayak
ID: 41824003
Out of 8 Disks only 7th Disk is not using Snapshot file and it's maximum size is showing 2 TB. All other disks are using Snapshot files and their maximum size is showing "N/A"
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LVL 117
ID: 41824009
and what are the sizes of the disks ?

that have been currently defined.
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Author Comment

by:cbinayak
ID: 41824028
Hard Disk 1 - 50 GB
Hard Disk 2 - 280 GB
Hard Disk 3 - 100 GB
Hard Disk 4 - 100 GB
Hard Disk 5 - 100 GB
Hard Disk 6 -  448 GB
Hard Disk 7 - 2 TB
Hard Disk 8 - 250 GB
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Accepted Solution

by:
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 500 total points
ID: 41824110
Answer to your question

Is it possible to move VM from VMFS 5 (Block Size 1 MB) to VMFS 3 (Block Size 8MB) and vice versa?

is Yes.

But this is NOT your issues. Your issue is disk is too larger for the Host OS.

Your issue is Disk 7 - 2TB.

ESXi 5.1 does not support disks larger than 2TB - 512 bytes.

So it cannot create a snapshot of disk 7, because that would make the disk larger than 2TB - 512 bytes, and this is not possible and supported on ESXi 5.1.

So therefore it cannot be backed-up.

You will need to upgrade to ESXi 5.5 or 6.0, which supports virtual disks up to 62TB.
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Author Comment

by:cbinayak
ID: 41824233
Okay, thanks for your confirmation that ESXi 5.1 does not support taking snapshot of disk having 2 TB - 512 bytes in size. I have few doubts considering disk consolidation.

1. Does it also mean that we can't perform disk consolidation? Please confirm.

2. If I move that 2 TB vmdk file in a separate datastore, will then disk consolidation work?

3. If I remove the 2 TB disk by choosing "Remove from virtual machine" option so that I can add the disk later and then do the consolidation, will it work?
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LVL 117
ID: 41824247
Okay, thanks for your confirmation that ESXi 5.1 does not support taking snapshot of disk having 2 TB - 512 bytes in size. I have few doubts considering disk consolidation.

It's not about snapshots, it's ESXi 5.1 DOES NOT SUPPORT virtual disks larger than 2TB-512bytes in size.

1. Does it also mean that we can't perform disk consolidation? Please confirm.

You will not be able to complete snapshots or backups of this VM because of the 2TB disk 7. However there is a long method to consolidate the disks.

2. If I move that 2 TB vmdk file in a separate datastore, will then disk consolidation work?

NO.

3. If I remove the 2 TB disk by choosing "Remove from virtual machine" option so that I can add the disk later and then do the consolidation, will it work?

That should work. BUT you will never be able to backup with the Disk 7 Attached.

What is your goal, and what are you trying to achieve here ?

To support disks which are so large you need to upgrade to ESXi 5.5 or 6.0, or reduce the size of Disk 7.

Your original question has been answered, and we are now going off-topic to solve and address a new issue, which really needs a new question.
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Author Comment

by:cbinayak
ID: 41824249
My primary goal is to consolidate disks as of now. Later on I can confirm our client that backup of the VM is not possible with Disk 7 attached.

Also please let me know what will be the maximum size of the disk that can be backed up in ESXi 5.1.
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LVL 117
ID: 41824254
The maximum size of virtual disk supported on ESXi 5.1 is 2TB-512bytes, this includes the snapshot size.

So, disks should not really be made larger than 1.8GB-1.9GB, with some overhead, for the snapshot (100-200) or you will not be able to back them up.
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Author Comment

by:cbinayak
ID: 41824261
Okay! So, we have only one option left for successful disk consolidation -

Remove the 2 TB disk and then do the consolidation. Once done, attach the disk.

Also, you mentioned "You will not be able to complete snapshots or backups of this VM because of the 2TB disk 7. However there is a long method to consolidate the disks." - May I know that method?
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LVL 117
ID: 41824290
Your question, has been answered. Please post a new question and myself or other experts will be glad to assist.

This ensures the thread and Answer to your original question is kept on topic.

Can I move a VM from vmfs5 to vmfs3 storage?

Summary - Yes.

As for your snapshot issues, and instructions for the "long" method needs a new question.
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Author Comment

by:cbinayak
ID: 41824657
I'll submit a new question for disk consolidation error.

Your comment is - "So, disks should not really be made larger than 1.8GB-1.9GB". I am confused about the maximum size you mentioned here. Will it be 1.8TB-1.9TB?
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LVL 117
ID: 41824659
Is it possible to move VM from VMFS 5 (Block Size 1 MB) to VMFS 3 (Block Size 8MB) and vice versa?

Yes.

We can discuss consolidation errors and snapshots and size in the new question.

Please post a new question and myself or other experts will be glad to assist.
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Author Comment

by:cbinayak
ID: 41824661
Sorry to bother you once again. My last query was about the disk size you mentioned as 1.8GB - 1.9GB maximum. Will it be 1.8TB-1.9TB?
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LVL 117
ID: 41824664
either. just make sure it's not 2TB!

This is a snapshot related issued, we can discuss in the new question, you are going to post.

Off topic here.
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LVL 117
ID: 41824963
Okay, that close out this question, because you are still not clear on the size issue of a virtual machine disk.

VMware vSphere ESXi 5.1 has a maximum size of virtual machine disk of 2TB-512 bytes, this is documented here (Page 4)

Configuration Maximums VMware® vSphere 5.1

The size of the virtual machine disk ALSO includes the size of the snapshot.

So, Parent VMDK + Snapshots MUST be less than 2TB - 512 bytes.

If you set your virtual machine disk to the maximum available, e.g. 2TB, you will never be able to create a snapshot, and you will get the error message you have reported.

So when using versions of ESXi earlier than 5.5 or 6.0, you must ensure the virtual machine disk is less than 2TB.

However if you are using a backup application that uses snapshot method (which is ALL of them!), you will have to estimate the approximate size of the backups, based on activity of the Virtual Machine, and the number of days on a snapshot. This is if you have a requirement to max out your virtual disk.

Snapshots grow on average at 1GB per hour, on an idle machine, so 24GB per day, x 3 days = approx 75GB.

So if you need to max out your virtual disk, I would ensure that there is a reserved overhead of 100GB-200GB for snapshot....

So 2TB-100 or 200GB snapshot reserve is, make your virtual disk 1.8GB to 1.9GB BUT no larger!

I hope you now understand.

This issue is limited to versions less than 5.5/6.0 which support 62TB virtual disks.
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