If you have a virtual image that is hosted on a VMware Server instance and you wish to transfer this to an existing Virtual Infrastructure consisting of a number of ESX servers then you need to run the VMware Converter Enterprise utility.
There are two versions of the Converter utility, Starter and Enterprise. The Starter version is available to everyone and is great in converting physical machines to virtual images (P2V) and for backing up and cloning images. The Enterprise utility is only available to those that have a Virtual Infrastructure Enterprise Edition licensing although there is no additional cost incurred. It also allows conversion to an ESX environment.
Installing the VMware Converter Enterprise plugin
The plugin is built into the Virtual Infrastructure Client and is the quickest and easiest way to run it. There is the advantage of being able to run the conversion tool from your own PC or any location that has a VMware Infrastructure Client installed.
You can also download a stand alone copy from the VMware site but for this process using the plugin in the VI client is easier.
Double click the ‘VMware Infrastructure Client’ shortcut
Select ‘Plugins’ and then ‘Manage Plugins’
In the ‘Available’ tab select the ‘Download and install..’ button. If it is not there you may already have it installed. This being the case check the ‘Installed’ tab
When prompted to select a language select ‘English (United States)’
Select ‘Next’ at the ‘Welcome’ screen
The Converter utility is installed. Click ‘Finish’
The Plugin manager now shows the Converter Enterprise Client as installed
Select the ‘Installed’ tab and check the ‘Enabled’ box in the VMware Converter Enterprise Client. Click OK
At this point I would now recommend powering off the image that you wish to convert.
Right click on the ESX Server that you wish to host the converted image and select ‘Import Machine…’
The ‘Import Wizard’ opens. Click ‘Next’
Select ‘Other’ in the source drop down selection field. You could also select ‘Physical Computer’ here if you wanted to carry out a Physical to Virtual (P2V) conversion.
Select the Virtual Machine path and the add details of the relevant user account and password required to access the path.
At the ‘Source Data’ screen select ‘Import all disks and maintain size’
Select the ‘Destination’. This should be the ESX server that you initially right clicked to import the machine to
Give the Virtual Machine a name. This will probably be the same name as it already has
Select the Datastore to import the image to. If your ESX server has local storage this will also show as an option, in this instance it is ‘storage1’
Select the number of network interfaces that you require. This tends to be the same as is already configured within the image.
Also select whether you want them powered on or off. This would be useful if you want to test the server before allowing it to go live
Check the ‘Install VMware Tools’ and ‘Remove all System Restore checkpoints’ options
Run the task immediately unless you wish to schedule out of hours
Confirm that your settings are correct and also check the ‘Power on the new virtual machine after creation’ if you wish for the image to be automatically started up once imported
The conversion begins and you can follow progress in the ‘Recent Tasks’ area
Selecting the task also shows a more detailed progress report
Once created the imported virtual machine is started and operational!