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  1. #1
    Junior Member learning's Avatar
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    Smile VMware ESXi - Partitioning / Moving VMs

    I m dabbling in the world of Vmware and setup a Home Lab with the free ESXi 6.7.0 slapped onto bare metal PC

    I initially setup ESXi installation on the the same HDD that has datastore which has few VMs on it. And then realized I could have run the ESXi from USB drive and just use entire HDD for data store.

    So I have since added a second HDD and now want to move the VMs from first to this second HDD. Once moved, I will install ESXi on USB and if all VMs are working from second HDD, wipe the first HDD clean and use it as another datastore.

    Is cloning the best way to go for moving VMs from existing HDD to the other one ? This is what i came across https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/1027876

    I am not sure about export function in ESXi UI as I suspect it may trip OS licensing and VMs becoming unlicensed ?

    Also for the second HDD when creating the VMFS partition, can you use up entire HDD space for single datastore and free up some space in future by shrinking to create other data stores OR is this a non reversible action ?

    I want to execute this right so I dont get grief in future when scaling storage. Any other pointers would be appreciated.

    Cheers

  2. #2
    Enterprise IT Consultant chiefnz's Avatar
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    Default Re: VMware ESXi - Partitioning / Moving VMs

    Not familiar with the "free" version of ESX but if you're changing the installation location of the hypervisor you may have to start from scratch?

    You could try cloning the current HDD to the USB and then boot from that but not sure if that will work as expected. If it does work then you wouldn't have to clone/migrate your VM's to a different datastore.

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  3. #3
    Enterprise IT Consultant chiefnz's Avatar
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    Default Re: VMware ESXi - Partitioning / Moving VMs

    Quote Originally Posted by learning View Post
    I m dabbling in the world of Vmware and setup a Home Lab with the free ESXi 6.7.0 slapped onto bare metal PC

    I initially setup ESXi installation on the the same HDD that has datastore which has few VMs on it. And then realized I could have run the ESXi from USB drive and just use entire HDD for data store.

    So I have since added a second HDD and now want to move the VMs from first to this second HDD. Once moved, I will install ESXi on USB and if all VMs are working from second HDD, wipe the first HDD clean and use it as another datastore.

    Is cloning the best way to go for moving VMs from existing HDD to the other one ? This is what i came across https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/1027876

    I am not sure about export function in ESXi UI as I suspect it may trip OS licensing and VMs becoming unlicensed ?

    Also for the second HDD when creating the VMFS partition, can you use up entire HDD space for single datastore and free up some space in future by shrinking to create other data stores OR is this a non reversible action ?

    I want to execute this right so I dont get grief in future when scaling storage. Any other pointers would be appreciated.

    Cheers
    Just to add some further info... I don't think you can perform clones using the free version? I could be wrong, most of the posts I've seen talk about using the vSphere client to "copy" the vmx and vmdk files to different locations.

    What I'd suggest is if you have network attached storage (using iSCSCI or similar), create a large enough datastore there to hold your VM's... add the network attached datastore to the host, I think you might be able to perform a migration at this point - a vMotion and storage vMotion (again not sure if this is supported without a vCenter server) then remove the VM's from the host inventory. Reinstall the hypervisor onto the USB, add your network attached storage and local storage etc, then add your VM's back to the host inventory...

    Hope that helps a bit.

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  4. #4
    Junior Member learning's Avatar
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    Default Re: VMware ESXi - Partitioning / Moving VMs

    Quote Originally Posted by chiefnz View Post
    Just to add some further info... I don't think you can perform clones using the free version? I could be wrong, most of the posts I've seen talk about using the vSphere client to "copy" the vmx and vmdk files to different locations.

    What I'd suggest is if you have network attached storage (using iSCSCI or similar), create a large enough datastore there to hold your VM's... add the network attached datastore to the host, I think you might be able to perform a migration at this point - a vMotion and storage vMotion (again not sure if this is supported without a vCenter server) then remove the VM's from the host inventory. Reinstall the hypervisor onto the USB, add your network attached storage and local storage etc, then add your VM's back to the host inventory...

    Hope that helps a bit.
    Thanks chiefnz!

    I went ahead and explored what you mentioned about vmotion. In doing so I discovered the move option for VMs in ESXi UI
    So I added the second HDD and moved the VMs to this HDD in a new datastore. Unregistered and Removed VM from inventory.

    Reinstalled the ESXi on a USB drive with same root creds as previous install. Unplugged the first HDD and booted off the USB and it was able to see the second HDD and datastore and VMs which worked fine.
    I was expecting a lot of hoops to jump through but it worked out pretty ok in the end.

  5. #5
    Senior Member baabits's Avatar
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    Default Re: VMware ESXi - Partitioning / Moving VMs

    For future reference, the export function in the WebUI is super poopy.

    The most reliable method of upload/download I've found is to install VMware Workstation and then connect to the ESXi Server through that.

    Datastores can be mounted on any ESXi installation as long as the ESXi version has support for that version of VMFS. When you reimport the machines, vSphere will ask if you moved or copied it to do the appropriate thing with it.

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