Moving Virtual Machines in ESXi from older hardware to new server.

If you have outgrown you current ESXi hardware and need to move to another physical machine and you don’t have vSphere you can still easily move all your VMs to the new server. Without additional software costs.

First install the ESXi Host software on the machine and configure it for access via the management console.

Take note of the IP address and credentials you used for you new installation.

Then login to your existing VMware installation via your management computer/console. And you can then do one of the following.

Simple way?

Use the outstanding free product(s) by VEEAM!
Veeam Backup Free Edition. The free version that will let you backup, replicate/move and restore entire machines from one ESX server to another on the same subnet. The free version limits the backup/migrate tasks to one machine at a time but it works! If you have a VMware environment I highly recommend their product(s) for backup and disaster recovery. You can automate just about everything you need for backing up and restoration. Check out more here http://www.veeam.com .

Older not so quick but still simple old fashioned way.

Open the management console. Connect to the original server/Host. Navigate to the Server (vCenter) containing the VMs you wish to move.
Commit any snapshots in the VM you are going to move.
Power off the VM.
Click the Configuration tab.
Click Storage.
Open/Browser to the Datastore where the VMs are located and find the folder containing the entire Virtual Machine (the one with the disks (vmdk), .vmx file, nvram, .log files etc.).
Copy that entire machine to a drive (a folder on the management station or other attached/network available storage)

Connect to the new host via the management console.
Open the Datastore where you wish to place your new machine(s)
Upload (import) the entire folder – containing the Virtual Machine, you previously copied/downloaded.
Then open the that new folder and right-click on the .vmx file and select ‘Add to Inventory’.
It will then show up in the list of machines in your selected Server/Cluster. Then power off all the old machines and shut down that Host.

When you power on the machines on the new Host you will be walked through a process that will ask you if the machine was copied or cloned. Since you are moving the VM choose that –  move and NOT clone or it will generate a new machine ID/SID and jack up the VMs usability.

Do that for any and all that you moved and test connectivity from workstations.

I’ve done this with virtualized Domain Controllers, SQL servers and even an Exchange server!

That’s it.

Peace out.

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