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Recover data from damaged or formatted VMFS disks or VMDK files
Recover data from damaged or formatted VMFS disks or VMDK files

P2V vs VMware: What is Better for You?

Here you will find out:

  • P2V or VMware: what should you choose
  • P2V migration with VMware
  • when DiskInternals can help you

Are you ready? Let's read!

P2V or VMware: what should you choose?

Since creating a new VM is always time-consuming and generally tedious work, consider migrating an existing VM instead. Today there are two common VM conversion types: P2V (physical to virtual) and V2V (virtual to virtual). You can perform a conversion using VMware vCenter Converter Standalone and you will find how to do it in this article.

How to convert P2V

As mentioned above, the P2V migration tool is VMware vCenter Converter Standalone.

This utility is available free of charge from the VMware website.

This application has several components:

  • Standalone Server Converter: this is the central component of the program, from where the VM conversion is managed.
  • The standalone Converter agent is the converter itself. If it is installed on a physical computer, then conversion to a virtual machine is possible.
  • Standalone Client Converter: This allows you to connect to a remote standalone VMware Converter server. As a result, you can manage conversion tasks on a remote computer.

Installation of VMware Converter can happen in one of two ways:

  1. 1. Local installation, where all components are downloaded to the local PC.
  1. 2. Client-server installation, where you can select specific converter components that you want to install.

Technical requirements

VMware vCenter Converter Standalone can be used if all the necessary requirements are met:

  • Operating system must be Windows only
  • Firmware interface must be either UEFI or BIOS
  • Source disk formatting must be either MBR or GPT
  • Screen resolution must bring at least 1024x768
  • Network connection access must be enabled
  • The main ports must be available for each connection type.

A connection types are:

  • Converter Server in vCenter: TCP 443
  • Powered Source Computer to ESXi Host: TCP 443, 902
  • Converter Client in vCenter: TCP 443
  • Converter Server to Target ESXi Host: TCP 902
  • Auxiliary Virtual Machine for powered source Linux machines: TCP 22
  • Converter server to powered-on Linux machines: TCP 22

Remember about hot and cold migration

VM migration can occur in two ways:

1. Hot migration, where the VM is migrated in a powered state. However, it should be understood that running applications and services at the time of migration can be damaged; but if the data on the disks remains static, hot migration will be safe.

2. Cold migration, where the migration is done while the VM is off. It can be used to convert MS Exchange, Oracle or MS SQL servers, etc. That is, if the data on the disks is dynamically changing, then it is better to use this particular migration method.

P2V migration with VMware

As mentioned above, it is best to turn off and deactivate all possible applications, programs, services, antiviruses, etc. before migration.

Now run VMware vCenter Converter with privileged rights and select the tab "Convert Machine".

Next, the wizard will help you convert.

Step 1: Select the original machine. Select "Remote Windows Computer" as the source type and provide an IP address, username and password. Then, click on the "View Source Information" tab. Click "Close", then in the window of the source system click "Next".

Stage 2: Choose the target system. Also select the destination type, which can be a VMware Infrastructure virtual machine. Select the target server, enter the IP address, and then enter the username and password of a user who has administrative rights to the vCenter Server.

Step 3: Select the Datacenter and VM folder in vCenter to store the target virtual machine.

Step 4: Select the destination (select an ESXi host, cluster or resource pool, datastore available on this ESXi host).

Step 5: Select basic options:

  • Select disks and volumes to copy
  • Select virtual processors, processor cores, virtual disk controllers, and memory size
  • Select network for connecting virtual network adapters of the virtual machine
  • Select the required services before starting P2V conversion with VMware Converter

Step 6: Double-check all the settings you have set and then click Finish to start converting to VMware Converter.

V2V migration with VMware Workstation

There are times when you may need to convert a virtual machine running on VMware Workstation to a virtual machine running on ESXi. If the virtual machine is running on VMware Workstation installed on a remote Linux or macOS computer, you can copy this virtual machine to a shared folder and then use VMware Converter installed on your computer.

Thus, you can convert a virtual machine even if the remote physical machine with the hypervisor is running Linux or macOS.

If VMDK files are deleted or lost

If there is a problem with your virtual machine — say, if the .vmdk files are missing or deleted for unknown reasons — you can restore them and rebuild the virtual machine using the professional-grade DiskInternals VMFS Recovery utility. You can do a quick search for lost data or a complete, more detailed information search for free. All the information found is available for viewing before you need to purchase a license. If you are a beginner, you can activate the Recovery Wizard and automatically go through all the recovery steps.

Instructions for using this application are below:

After downloading and installing the DiskInternals VMFS Recovery program, you can start recovery by activating the Recovery Wizard or try to do everything manually.

First make an SSH connection.

Then you will be asked to open the local disk (it can be SSH).

Next, the scan of the selected disk will start; after that, find the necessary .vmdk files.

Mounting the .vmdk file is the next step. After that, open the .vmdk file by double-clicking the left mouse button and view the available files to check their integrity.

At any time on the company website, buy a license to complete the export of data to an alternative data source.

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