Tag Archives: VMWare


I have a very old VMware ESXi server that has outlived its useful life. The hardware is at least 5 years old and my VMware license has expired. I can still bring up the server and see the virtual machines, but that’s about it. I still keep the box so I can run the PowerCLI cmdlets, at least in a limited fashion. However, there are a few virtual machines that I need to get at so I can move some applications and data to another Hyper-V virtual machine. Since I can’t get the VMware virtual machine running, I can at least convert the disk to a VHDX and bring it up in a new Hyper-V virtual machine.

I already have PowerCLI 6.0 and the Hyper-V cmdlets installed on my computer. My initial thought was to use the free Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter which you can download. But I ran into a number of issues using the GUI, primarily because not everything is in the same domain. But that doesn’t really matter because I didn’t really want to migrate the complete virtual machine, I just needed to bring up the old VM temporarily so I could migrate things off. Fortunately, there are a set of cmdlets that ship with Microsoft’s converter. Here’s what I did.

First, I needed to connect to my ESXi box using the PowerCLI cmdlets.

I need to get the disk files for a given virtual machine. One benefit of PowerCLI is that you can easily browse the datastore files.

I’ll need all of these files. But first I need to be able to access them from the file system. Fortunately, PowerCLI has a handly cmdlet for copying items from a datastore to the file system.

Once the files are copied I can begin the conversion. However, the Microsoft virtual machine converter cmdlets aren’t installed in an expected location so I’ll have to manually import them.

Once imported, I can use ConvertTo-MvmcVirtualHardDisk.

The conversion took about 20 minutes for a 40GB file. The converted file was 30GB for a dynamic hard disk. With the conversion complete, it is pretty easy to fire up a new Hyper-V virtual machine.

You’ll notice that I am using a complete path for the New-VM cmdlet. That’s because in my session I have both PowerCLI and Hyper-V cmdlets and they both have a New-VM cmdlet. Normally I wouldn’t have both running in the same session but since I do, I need to explicitly tell PowerShell which cmdlet to use.

And that’s about it. Once running I uninstalled the VMware Tools, installed the Hyper-V Integration Toolkit and let Windows detect everything else. This would require me re-activating Windows, but I’m hoping to migrate everything I need before that becomes an issue.


Easy VM Backup with Veeam Zip

If you run a small VMware or Hyper-V setup, perhaps for a lab or personal training, you probably haven’t thought to much about backing up your virtual machines. But it is actually pretty easy and doesn’t cost anything. Let me give you a quick intro to the free backup tool from Veeam. The first thing you need to do is download it. The install is pretty straightforward so I’ll skip that part.

When you fire it up for the first time you’ll see a tree for VMware and Hyper-V. This product works for both! Right-click on whichever virtualization infrastructure you are using and add a server. It is a quick and easy wizard that should only take a minute to complete. The app should automatically enumerate all the virtual machines.


To create a backup right-click on a virtual machine and select Veeam zip, or you can use the menu icon. You will be ask to provide a path for the backup.


The program will create a single zip file of all associated files for the virtual machine. It takes a few minutes for the backup to get up to speed.


Eventually my backup reached 24MB/second. When the backup finishes you can view a status report by going to History and then right-clicking on the backup. You can view stats.


Or a summary report as an HTML file in your browser


All of the files will be stored in a vbk file. This is a zip file format. You can extract files locally, or leave it alone until you need to restore something.

There are some limitations, but remember this is a free tool not a free trial. There’s no PowerShell support and it doesn’t support Hyper-V on Windows 8. Those are biggies for me. Of course Veeam has a full-blown backup product that you should try out, especially if you like the idea of managing backups via PowerShell.

I’ll cover some additional features in future posts.

Copy and Mount a CD with PowerCLI

The other day I realized I needed to rebuild my SQL Server 2012 installation which I’m running on a virtual machine running on an ESX box. Given that I have PowerCLI and I like to do things from the command prompt when I can, I decided to mount the SQL Server 2012 ISO on the VM using PowerShell. This actually requires a few steps that I thought I would share.

First, you naturally need to have PowerCLI installed. You will need to import the necessary snapins and connect to the ESX host.

Add-PSSnapin VMware.VimAutomation.core
Connect-viserver -Server ESX

Once connected, I can begin the process. Next, I need to copy the ISO file the datastore so that I can mount it from the VM. While the vmstore: PSDrive is fun to work with, you can’t copy from the filesystem. Copying between providers is simply not allowed. Instead I’ll use the Copy-DatastoreItem cmdlet. This will allow me to copy a local file to the VMware datastore.

The tricky part here is to get the right format for the datastore destination. This is where I want to copy to:

PS vmstore:\ha-datacenter\datastore3\ISO> dir

Datastore path: [datastore3] ISO

LastWriteTime Type Length Name
------------- ---- ------ ----
8/18/2009 9:09 AM IsoImageFile 2996799488 en_windows_server...

The “trick” is to grab the value for Datastore path from the directory listing. Thus, I can run this to copy the ISO file to the datastore.

Copy-DatastoreItem -Item $iso -Destination $dest -passthru

You get a nice progress bar and in a few minutes the file is copied. Now I can mount it in the VM’s CDDrive using Set-CDDrive. The cmdlet will need a CDDrive object from a VM and the path to the ISO file. I’ll have to construct a path using the VMware datastore format. It looks a little funny because it is not a typical Windows path.

$isopath = "[datastore3] ISO\en_sql_server_2012_standard_edition_with_sp1_x86_x64_dvd_1228143.iso"

For situations like this, I find it easiest to use the corresponding Get cmdlet, and pipe the resulting object to the Set cmdlet.

get-cddrive -VM "globomantics db" | set-cddrive -IsoPath $isopath -Connected $true

The only other parameter I specified was to connect the CDDrive to the VM. This command takes a moment to run and then in the VM I can “see” the DVD and use it normally. Awesome. When I’m finished I can dismount the CD much the same way.

get-cddrive -VM "globomantics db" | set-cddrive -NoMedia

This may seem like a lot of typing, but if it is something I need to do a lot I could build a simple script or function. And it is still faster (for me) than navigating the GUI.