Migration ESXi 6.7 to Proxmox

showiproute

Member
Mar 11, 2020
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Austria
Hello everyone,

I am currently using ESXi 6.7 on my primary server but thinking of migrating to Proxmox which runs on my backup server.
According to the manual the described process is having server A with ESXi and server B with Proxmox and migrating the VMs from A to B.

Unfortunately this is not possible for me as I do not have any spare servers where I can temporarily put my data/VMs on.
Is Proxmox able to deal with VMWares HDD filesystem?

What would be a common/best-practice approach for that?


Thanks for any answer,
Mathias
 

aaron

Proxmox Staff Member
Staff member
Jun 3, 2019
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What would be a common/best-practice approach for that?
Haven't tried it but I wouldn't expect it.

It's been a while since I touched ESXi but AFAIR you could access the VMs `vmdk` disk files via SSH, maybe even SSHFS, from the Proxmox server. Just make sure that you have no snapshots on that VM and that it is one single `vmdk` file.

You could then import the VMDK to a newly configured VM on Proxmox with qm importdisk. See the man page of qm for more details [0]

[0] https://pve.proxmox.com/pve-docs/qm.1.html
 
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Dominic

Proxmox Staff Member
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Mar 18, 2019
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It's been a while since I touched ESXi but AFAIR you could access the VMs `vmdk` disk files via SSH,
This is still possible, indeed. You only have to enable SSH on ESXi first.

I just added a section about VMware's ovftool to the migration guide. It does not require any additional server, but some additional disk space on your Proxmox VE host.
 

fortechitsolutions

Well-Known Member
Jun 4, 2008
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Hi, I believe you can use VMDK VM images directly on proxmox without issue since quite a long time now. You may need more storage space on proxmox for migration (ie, temporarily attach an inexpensive USB SATA drive for example, it does not have to be fancy to work).

your basic workflow might be something like
-- enable SSH on vmware node
-- SCP across VMDK from ESX > Proxmox
-- create 'new VM' in proxmox which mimics the desired config for the VM as it existed on VMware
-- under the hood, move around disk imags so that the VMDK brought over from ESX will be used by this proxmox VM host.
-- spin it up and see how it fares.
-- optionally you can play with disk image format conversion steps if desired. Or not.
-- assumption of course is that you have sufficient storage on proxmox to hold the VMDK stuff you want to copy over from VMWare. Hence maybe the need for purchase of hard drive(s) (USB or other. Depending on your expectations for performance, redundancy, etc).

ie, you can't get "cheap redundant fast storage" - in the sense that redundant means it costs more than (cheap-non-redundant). fast means it costs more than (cheap,not-fast). these are all 'relatively speaking' terms :)

and ... SSD disk(s) - are not really expensive, nor is 'vanilla disk', it is just a matter of defining what is cheap and what you want and what you are willing to spend. :)


Tim
 

aaron

Proxmox Staff Member
Staff member
Jun 3, 2019
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@fortechitsolutions

Depending on the storage used on the PVE a straight copy of the VMDK file might not be possible (ZFS, LVM, Ceph)

I don't have an ESXi at hand to test out my idea but is there anything that you know, which might work against it from an ESXi side?

- mounting the directory where the VMDK is on the ESXi via SSHFS from the PVE host
- then do a
Code:
qm importdisk <VMID> <path to sshfs mounted VMDK> <target storage> --format vmdk

It won't be fast but it should convert the VMDK to whatever format the target storage needs and IIUC not need to store a local copy of the VMDK file.
 

showiproute

Member
Mar 11, 2020
213
7
18
Austria
Thanks for your replies!
The thing is just: There is no other server nor other drives.

Basically I would remove ESXi and instead install Proxmox instead.
I would move all existing VMs from my main SSD where the OS is being installed to other drives, format it and install Proxmox.

The problem from my point of view is that ESXi uses a disk format call VMFS5 and VMFS6.
I do not know if Proxmox or Debian is able to handle this disk format.
According to Debians wiki currently only read-only access is being supported.
 

aaron

Proxmox Staff Member
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Jun 3, 2019
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Oh, I kinda misread that info. Well, at some point you will have to migrate the VMs and will need the temporary extra space for them. There will not be a way around that I am afraid :-/
 
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fortechitsolutions

Well-Known Member
Jun 4, 2008
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OK, footnotes to add then. If you have one server, and wish to flip it from VMware to Proxmox. But keep your VMs.

There is no 'totally painless' solution. You either have to move large (VMDK) files around. and-or buy some more disk(s). And-or-both really.

Safest path would be
(a) use a laptop or PC in LAN as a holding tank, bring over copies of VMDK files on an overnight copy run. Clearly you need enough local disk to hold the VMDKs
OR
(a2) attach USB drive to VMware, copy VMDK files over to that. For that matter I don't even know if vmware lets you do something as barbaric as this. You would need to read forums elsewhere if you can temporarily spin up a local storage on ESX node using a local USB drive. Or maybe you attach a direct-attach (SATA, etc) connection, configure the new storage, move the VMDKs over that way. But you want ultimately these VMs to be accessible from linux/proxmox so - probably don't want to go this route anyhow.

don't destroy your ESX host. In case things go badly. Remove-and-replace hard drives

install new drive(s)

clean install proxmox

copy in VMDK files

setup new VMs in proxmox to mimic what you want
manually copy-move VMDK files into place on proxmox / CLI under-the-hood work.

Only risk with this, is that your VMs may still give you issues. ie, it is good to have either a 'safe roll back' method, or a way to test in advance that does not involve destroying your ESX/VMWare host (or at least those disks). Or you accept your VMs will be re-deployed.

So. You have many options, the hard part will be deciding which path is preferred for you in terms of
  • costs of time
  • costs of money
  • costs of risks (ie, loss of VM/data)

these 3 different costs are all somewhat balanced/trade-offs you can make. depending on your preferred 'budget'

As a side point / for reference. Once upon a time, years ago / before proxmox supported VMDK. I did a 'bare metal' style migration of a VMWare guest,
-- used clonezilla LiveCD to make a backup of the VM content / of the VM on ESX host.
-- send the disk image over to a local storage tank (Network SMB storage target)
-- then deploy on new proxmox host an empty VM of suitable size/resources.
-- live CD Boot clonezilla in this new proxmox host.
-- do a standard cloenzilla restore of the 'Bare metal backup" (ie, the VMware VM I wanted to migrate)
-- this worked perfectly smoothly.


Good luck with the project!

Tim
 

showiproute

Member
Mar 11, 2020
213
7
18
Austria
Okay thank you all for your input.

Let's see how I will approach this think, anyway I already ordered some 10GBASE-T equipment for any copy stuff to have it faster done.
 

djsami

Active Member
Aug 24, 2009
82
0
26
Vmware proxmox migrate

vmware vcenter vm stop export vm

ftp upload /var/lib/vz/images

ssh proxmox

qm importdisk 222 /var/lib/vz/images/virtualserver.vmdk local-lvm

centos start okey.

yum remove -y open-vm-tools

yum install -y qemu-guest-agent

this way I carried 135 vm
 

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