Monday, June 2, 2014

Migrating a Virtual Machine from VMWare Player to ESXi

This post covers the migration of a virtual machine from a VMWare Player environment, which is located on my workstation (Windows 7 64-bit), to a VMWare ESXi server in my datacenter.

Both are the free versions, so they don't have all the fancy bells and whistles as the awesome licensed versions.

It took a bit of doing, but it's relatively straightforward.

1. Upgrade VMWare player (if necessary)
I realized that I was using version 3.0, and was a 'few' versions behind. Newer versions contain the OVFTool, which we will use to create the ESXi ready OVF.
Visit here:

2. Upgrade and Reboot your pitiful workstation.

3. Read the VMWare OVFTool guide. Or not.

4. Login to the Virtual Machine in VMWare Player and uninstall the VMWare Tools. Reboot VM.

5. When VM boots, ignore any driver errors. Do a clean shutdown.

6. Export the OVF from the VM
Open Command Prompt as Administrator
cd C:\Program Files\VMWare\VMWare OVF Tool

Make sure the tool works, run the help
ovftool -h

You should be presented with a range of flag options.

Export the OVF
ovftool "C:\Path to VMname.vmx" "C:\Path to place OVF"
If the output does not look like this, it might be a good idea to check the documentation.

7. Import the OVF Into VMWare ESXi
Login to your ESXi Host
Click File -> Deploy OVF Template
Browse to "C:\Path to place OVF" as specified in step 6.
Use defaults, or configure accordingly.
When completed boot VM in ESXi, enable the network adapter and update the IP/Hostname or any other relevant configuration.

That's it!


  1. For large VMs you may need to split into 2GB chunks using --chunkSize=2gb otherwise the creation fails past 8GB.

  2. Thanks! And thanks, Ben, for the splitting file size point.. can make transport easier. :)

  3. Excellent post ! Thanks for sharing such a useful post.

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  4. VM migration is such a pain in the arse, thanks for the guide.

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