How to Move or Change VMDK File Location to Another Data Store

VMDK is a file format that imitates the physical hard disk and stores data. It is used by many servers such as VMware ESX Server, VMware ACE, VMware Player, etc. A data store is a source of data, files, and folders from end-user data applications even on an enterprise level. It is not a huge task to change the VMDK file location and move it to a different data store and repair corrupt VMDK file. But there are some pre-requisites required to be achieved before transferring the VMDK file. Here are the pre-requisites for this process:

  • Before starting the process of copying and transferring, you should make a copy of the vmdk file as a backup in case there is some error while performing the transfer.
  • Although it is unlikely we encourage the user to check whether VM files are stored in the VM directory. There may be chances that some files may have been saved somewhere else.
  • The user should have some knowledge about how UUIDs (Universally unique identifiers) are produced by the system to move VMs.
  • The user should know the disadvantages of moving the vmdk to a new data store to weigh both sides and make a decision wisely. We will mention these disadvantages in this blog later.

You don’t need to do something if there is not any need for it. So let’s see why we need to move the vmdk file to a new server and what we can get after it.

Need to move the VMDK file

There are many questions when the user thinks to move the vmdk file to a different data store. Whether you can change the location in the same host system or not? Can VM be moved to another operating system?

So to begin with the answer to the above questions is yes. Now here are some points that will get you acquainted with the needs of moving the vmdk file.

  • Using a single VMware product to move the file to an unlike platform using another VMware product.
  • High disk space use can cause troubleshooting problems.
  • Cloning of VM may be another point to identify the need.
  • The backup of your virtual machine is always going to be one of the main reasons to move the vmdk file.

How to change the VMDK file location to a different data store?

This is not a huge or difficult task to move the vmdk file to another data store. It can easily be done by using VMware vsphere 5.5 and without much complication. VMware vsphere is one of the many products of the prestigious lineage that offers IT administrators the to manage and handle whatever data is deployed through vsphere. Now let’s carry on with the steps of moving the VMDK file to another data store.

  1. Firstly, log yourself into the VMware vsphere client console.
  2. Now, on the vsphere web client right-click on the virtual machine and then select Migrate to migrate the VMDK files.
    Vsphere web client right-click on the virtual machine
  3. Using the vsphere Storage motion feature select Change Datastore to avoid service interruption. Then click Next.
    Select Change Datastore to avoid service interruption
  4. To briefly select only the required disks for transfer, click the Advanced button.
    Select only the required disks for transfer
  5. In the Storage field of each disk click on it to change and select Browse.
    Storage field of each disk click on it to change
  6. Browse the destination for the file before clicking OK.
    Browse the destination for the file
  7. Now your parameters have been set to Storage and Disk format. Click on Next to continue.
    Now your parameters have been set to Storage and Disk format
  8. In the Review selection option, check all the details and click Finish.
    Review selection option
  9. There will open a Recent Tasks panel that will show you the status of the migration.
    Open a Recent Tasks panel
  10. After it is completed you will see the green check.
    After it is completed you will see the green check

Disadvantages of moving VMDK file

  • In the case of different hardware, the guest operating system will act out and won’t perform correctly.
  • In case the user is trying to use two processors to the virtual machine on a uniprocessor host system. It will indicate an error and display a warning message.
  • The user can move VM to a bigger host in size. For example- 32bit to 64-bit. It is not possible in vice versa conditions.

Third-party tools

There are fewer chances that the above-mentioned solution may not work. However, in some cases, if it doesn’t we encourage the user to look for third-party VHD recovery tools that can directly transfer the vmdk file to another data store or location.

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Wrapping it up

VMDK file format stores data just like a physical hard drive but it may also need to move from one data store to another for several reasons and. Transferring the file from one data store to another is not a problem because it is easy to do so using the above-mentioned manual method and to repair corrupt VHD files.

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