VMware: Move VM to differtent datastore on ESXi standalone host

On many forums and newsgroups people ask how to move a VM to a different datastore within a standalone ESXi host (not managed by vCenter). Today I had to perform this task over at a costumer and wrote a procedure for this task.

The tool I used to copy the VM is Veeam FastSCP, you can download this software for free at http://www.veeam.com/vmware-esxi-fastscp.html

After you have installed Veeam FastSCP follow the steps below to move the VM.

Login using the vSphere client on the ESXi host and power off the VM you want to move to a different datastore. After the VM is powered off you must remove it from the inventory (right click on the VM and select ‘Remove from inventory’).

Now start FastSCP. First we have to make a connection to the ESXi host, right click at ‘Servers’ and choose ‘Add Server’.

Now follow the wizard to make the connection;

After the connection is made you can unfold the servers datastores and just drag and drop you VM folder into another datastore.

Now the copy process starts;

You can also monitor this in the vSphere client, the copy task will appear in the Recent Task pane;

When the copy process is finished you can add the VM back to the inventory by using the datastore browser within the vSphere client. Browse the destination datastore;

Now open the VM folder and right click the <VMNAME>.vmx file. Click here on ‘Add to inventory’.

Follow the steps in the wizard and the VM will be visible in the inventory.

Now the VM is back in the inventory we have to start it for the first time. When you power on the VM it will notice that he is on a different datastore. Answer the question by selecting ‘I _copied it’ and click ‘OK’. The VM will now start.

The only task that’s left is to delete the VM folder on the source datastore, for this task you can use the Datastore browser again.


VMware: Convert VMDK from Thin to Thick

In our vSphere environment we have some VM’s with Thin provisioned disks. I want to convert these to thick disks. There are 2 ways to accomplish this;

1. Perform a storage vMotion (can be done wile the VM is powered on or off)

During a storage vMotion disks can be converted from Thin to Thick or the other way around. In the ‘Migrate Virtual Machine’ wizard check the ‘Change datastore’ option and click next;

In the next screen select a different datastore;

In the following screen you can select the option to convert the VMDK to Thick (or to Thin), select one of the options and click next and finish to complete the task.

After the migration the VMDK will be Thick.

2. Convert the VMDK disk file (can only be done when the VM is powered off)

The second way to convert a Thin disk to Thick is by using the ‘Datastore Browser’, this will only work when the VM is powered off. On the summary tab of the VM right click at the datastore en select ‘Browse Datastore…’;

Now the Datastore browser will open, browse to the location of the Virtual Machine files (.vmdk file location) en right click the VMDK file who must be converted to Thick. Then select ‘Inflate’.

Now the disk will be converted, you can monitor the process in the newly opened window or in the ‘Recent Task’ pane.


VMware: Upgrade vSphere ESXi 4.0 to 4.1 using the vCLI

Today I performed an upgrade of VMware vSphere 4.0 to 4.1. Below the steps I’ve taken to complete this task;

  1. First download and install the vSphere vCLI from http://www.vmware.com/support/developer/vcli/
  2. Download the upgrade zip from VMware: Upgrade package for 4.0 to 4.1 or Upgrade package for 3.5 to 4.1
  3. Connect to the host using the vSphere client, stop or suspend any VMs, and enter maintenance mode
  4. Open a command window and change directory to the vCLI bin folder (default: CProgram FilesVMwareVMware vSphere CLIbin)
  5. Execute the following 2 steps to upgrade the host;
    1. vihostupdate.pl –server [hostip] -i -b [path to updateupdate-file-name] -B ESXi410-GA-esxupdate
    2. vihostupdate.pl –server [hostip] -i -b [path to updateupdate-file-name] -B ESXi410-GA
  6. After the upgrade you can check for the installed updates using the command “vihostupdate.pl –server [hostip] –query”
  7. If the upgrade went successful you must restart the host en exit maintenance mode.

Here is a screenshot the upgrade process;

When you are connected to the host with the vSphere client during the upgrade you can monitor the actions in the Task section;


VMware: ESXi 4.1 password check bug

Today I copied and pasted my VMware ESXi root password to the vSphere client password box and hit enter to login. When I looked back at notepad I saw I didn’t copy all the characters of the password. So the password I pasted into the vSphere client was not correct.

After some research (Google… 🙂 ) I found out this is a known issue on ESXi 4.1. If you have a password with >8 characters only the first 8 will be checked during login. So if you password is for example vmware1234567 you can successfully login with the password vmware12 or vmware1209876.

A workaround for this issue is described at VMware KB artikel 1025400, a permanent fix is not yet released.


VMware SRM: Future functionality

A minut ago I was reading on Eric Sloofs blog (ntpro.nl) and I noticed the following line in the article SRM Futures: Host Based Replication;

Host based replication (HBR) is the ability to replicate VM’s between dissimilar storage. Meaning for example, from an ESX local hard drive to a storage array in a different location. This technology will be in a future version of SRM and it will allow you to protect a remote location as if you had replicating storage arrays in common between it and your main datacenter. SRM will allow you to replicate individual VM’s as part of a protection strategy. This replication will be done without guest agents and is managed inside SRM.

I’m looking forward to this feature since not every costumer has enough $$ or €€ to use storage replication.