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Migrating large virtual machines

Migrating large VMs is no simple task. Learn how to make things manageable in this expert response from Andrew Kutz.

I need to move two virtual machine instances from a Dell PowerEdge 1800 to another Dell. One is a Web server and the other runs Exchange 2003 - Windows Server.

My plan was simple (at least I thought so). I was first going to stop the virtual machine (VM) server supporting...

the Web server. Second I was then going to copy the directory housing the VM data on the D-drive to a removable hard-drive. I would then connect the drive to the other platform and copy down the VM data to it. I would then use the VM console and create a VM on the new platform pointing to the just downloaded data.

My operating system (OS) is Windows Server 2003. There is over 200 GB of free space on the new server. The VMs I want to move use less than 70GB and are not set to dynamic. I have been able to move all of the other files except for the 10 GB file. When I go to copy the 10 GB .vmdk file I get the following error: "Cannot copy other Linux 2.6.x kernel-flat.vmdk. The parameter is incorrect." One last thing I guess is important, each server's OS is Windows-based. Help!

What is the file system of the portable drive? Does it support files up to 10 GB in size? Your best bet is to use a utility like 7-zip (free download) to splice the file up into smaller chunks and transport it that way.

This was first published in February 2008

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