stevedahlberg
Contributor
Contributor

procedure for altering allocated HDD space to VM's?

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Hello ... If i want to reduce the amount of HDD space (local drives on ESXi host) allocated to a given VM (Windows Server 2008 Standard 64-bit in this case), how can i do this without causing problems in the VM or the guest host OS?

Do i just power down the VM in question, use vSphere client to change the amount of space allocated then start the VM again? Is it error=free or is there a chance of corruption? Am just not sure how partitioning in the VM changes or if it matters ...

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DSTAVERT
Immortal
Immortal

The NFS share is added to the ESXi server as a datastore. It shows up in the list just like the local datastore. When you run the converter tool you will be making your backup. No need to make the current vmdk's smaller. When you are done using the converter and cloning the VMs to the NFS datastore you will have your backup. Options within the converter allow you to just clone the used space or anything in between. When you are using the converter the VMs will not be running just the converter agent so there isn't the same issue with resources as duplicate VMs running and the disks are actually on the NFS datastore not local. After you are done just right click on your cloned machines and "remove from inventory". You can browse the datastore and add them back into inventory at any time.

-- David -- VMware Communities Moderator

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AntonVZhbankov
Immortal
Immortal

Use VMware Converter to perform this task


---

VMware vExpert '2009

http://blog.vadmin.ru

EMCCAe, MCITP: SA+VA, VCP 3/4/5, VMware vExpert http://blog.vadmin.ru
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stevedahlberg
Contributor
Contributor

Does this mean making the change in vSphere client is not a good idea?

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AntonVZhbankov
Immortal
Immortal

You can not shrink disk from vSphere client, only increase.


---

VMware vExpert '2009

http://blog.vadmin.ru

EMCCAe, MCITP: SA+VA, VCP 3/4/5, VMware vExpert http://blog.vadmin.ru
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stevedahlberg
Contributor
Contributor

Ah ... In the Vm Converter approach, is shrinking HDD allocation a particular feature, or will i essentially be converting my VM to a new one?

My dilemma is i initially allocated as much HDD space on the VM's as i though i'd ever need, and since i don't have any way yet to back up the VM's (ESXi free version), i think i need to back them up (before i attempt any sort of script installation or upgrade to paid to use VMOTION) in case something goes wrong. But i would dearly like to get the massive VM size down before simply copying them using vSphere client up to network share, since the large HDD allocation is making the VM's huge, even though in reality only about 13GB is in use of each of them. But i'm concerned about doing some sort of VM conversion before backing them up in case something were to go wrong with that.

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DSTAVERT
Immortal
Immortal

Set up an NFS server on the network and add it as a datastore on the ESXi host. Then use the converter tool to make a copy of each VM. You can alter the amount of disk to copy. Choose the minimum size. When using converter you will be converting a powered on machine as the source and an ESXi host as the destination. Use a new name. When you are done you can remove the copies from inventory and unmount the NFS share.

-- David -- VMware Communities Moderator
stevedahlberg
Contributor
Contributor

Thanks DST, that's very interesting.

I almost understand it, I think, except for a couple things ... If the source is a running VM on my ESXi host and the destination is my ESXi host, where does the network share come into play - is it used for workspace for the conversion operation or are you implying to connect to the share and copy up the VM's first to have a backup (something i was trying to avoid until they're smaller)?

Also, with the ESXi host's CPU's, RAM, and HDD resources split between the two existing VM's, when i do the conversion and create two new VM's on the same host (total of four VM's now, until i delete the original two), will there be any competition over resources or how does it handle that? Effectively there wouldn't be any resources available for the two new converted VM's since they're all already allocated to the two existing VM's, and will the conversion let me specify HDD space that doesn't yet exist on the host (since it's already fully allocated) or does it just ignore that and let the old and new VM's lay claim to the same HDD space until i can verify the new VM's work and then delete the old ones?

-steve

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DSTAVERT
Immortal
Immortal

The NFS share is added to the ESXi server as a datastore. It shows up in the list just like the local datastore. When you run the converter tool you will be making your backup. No need to make the current vmdk's smaller. When you are done using the converter and cloning the VMs to the NFS datastore you will have your backup. Options within the converter allow you to just clone the used space or anything in between. When you are using the converter the VMs will not be running just the converter agent so there isn't the same issue with resources as duplicate VMs running and the disks are actually on the NFS datastore not local. After you are done just right click on your cloned machines and "remove from inventory". You can browse the datastore and add them back into inventory at any time.

-- David -- VMware Communities Moderator

View solution in original post

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stevedahlberg
Contributor
Contributor

Thanks, that makes perfect sense. I'll give it a shot. The only misgiving i've got is i thought when i first got ESXi back in August i read a thread about this kind of thing where someone posted that you can't do cloning with the free version of ESXi, but hopefully they meant you can do cloning in vSphere client, but i will be able to to the the VM Converter utility.

Thx for the help.

-steve

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AlbertWT
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

just my 2cents, when you get the vSphere Essentials / (Plus) you'll get vCenter Server 4 thus give you more features and flexibility to play around with your VMs Smiley Happy

it is worth buying though.

Kind Regards,

AWT

/* Any kind of comment or input would be greatly appreciated */
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stevedahlberg
Contributor
Contributor

Nod, i'm considering graduating from the free version of ESXi to the paid version, but i'm having a hard time figuring what i actually need to buy (paid version, VEEAM, Essentials, etc ).... From someone's viewpoint who is just running a single host with 2 VM's on it i'd really hoped to just use that as is for a year with the free version and then buy into the model, bring some of the my VM's that are on VMware2 on RHEL hosts into the ESXi model.

No sooner than i got ESXi set up with my 2 VM's did i realize i had no good way to back them up and VMWare and just pressured VEEAM into not supporting my free version, so what i'd thought was a simple move (essentially a year long trial program appropriate priced for just running 2 VM's while getting a larger system figured out over time) has turned out to be rather time consuming and complicated in chasing down backup solutions and now trying to figure out what i actually need to buy to make life easier without spending a fortune just to run 2 VM's on a single host.

I seem to be faced with a bewildering array of paid options and products and difficult to sort out the overlaps and gotchas, etc., and much of this seems to come in a minimum number of licenses like six, when all i need is one. Seems like they're really trying to bring large operations into the fold but don't seem that interested in attracting small business or small departments in academia, at least in terms of ESXi ...

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cookieme
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Nod, i'm considering graduating from the free version of ESXi to the paid version, but i'm having a hard time figuring what i actually need to buy (paid version, VEEAM, Essentials, etc ).... From someone's viewpoint who is just running a single host with 2 VM's on it i'd really hoped to just use that as is for a year with the free version and then buy into the model, bring some of the my VM's that are on VMware2 on RHEL hosts into the ESXi model.

No sooner than i got ESXi set up with my 2 VM's did i realize i had no good way to back them up and VMWare and just pressured VEEAM into not supporting my free version, so what i'd thought was a simple move (essentially a year long trial program appropriate priced for just running 2 VM's while getting a larger system figured out over time) has turned out to be rather time consuming and complicated in chasing down backup solutions and now trying to figure out what i actually need to buy to make life easier without spending a fortune just to run 2 VM's on a single host.

I seem to be faced with a bewildering array of paid options and products and difficult to sort out the overlaps and gotchas, etc., and much of this seems to come in a minimum number of licenses like six, when all i need is one. Seems like they're really trying to bring large operations into the fold but don't seem that interested in attracting small business or small departments in academia, at least in terms of ESXi ...

Hey stevedahlberg,

I've been in your position and all I can say is that you can find free solutions for the things that you are looking to do, i.e. backup etc. I also have a standalone ESXi 4 host running about 6 VMs and I am using the free license!

I am not familiar with your setup and what hardware you have available, i.e. do you only have local storage or do you have any NAS. I can tell you what I have to give you some inspiration before you spend a lot of money.

I have a single HP Proliant server with 2 internal drives in a RAID 1 configuration. My server is not on the HCL and does not have an internal USB port, so I have opted to install ESXi on the RAID 1 and this is also where I run my VMs.

When it comes to backing up the VMs and data I have done the following. My server prior to virtualisation was running Windows 2003 Server and I backuped the system using an internal SCSI tape drive. Now with virtualisation the situation is quite different because I could not use the tape drive in the same manner. So, I have a Win2k3 server VM that has Retrospect backup software and I only backup the data to a tape on a daily basis. In order to backup the VMs I considered either purchasing additional internal drives or some type of external storage. I chose the latter and after looking at different manufacturers I purchased an Iomega StorCenter IX2 1TB NAS (they have just released a new version with user-replaceable drives and some other new features). I've created several different shares using NFS and mounted them, so that my ESXi host can use them. Now that I have external storage I needed some automated way to backup my VMs. It was important that the solution was reliable and easy to use for both backup and restores. I found William Lam's ghettoVCB script. He constantly improves the script and is very helpful when you have issues.

Bottom line, it can be frustrating if you are new to virtualisation and you see this free product that VMware offers and decide to go for it. First when you start to think about all the extra bits you'll realise that using the free product does have its caveats! Nonetheless, if you are willing to spend the time to look for answers and ask questions you will see that you can replicate some of the features you get with a purchased license.

I'd suggest that you explore some of the options I've mentioned before you purchase a license especially since you only have ONE host! You will get many features with a license that you will not be able to use unless you have additional physical servers.

Let me know if you want further information Smiley Wink

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royml
Contributor
Contributor

At the moment i go to same hard time of searching for a solution for 2 hosts and e few VM's.

Advise from several people from Veeam and VMware given to me is:

- go for the vSphere Essentials and talk with VMWare sales people that you only need a license for 2 host (so in your case one host)

- you can have a not too expensive VCB backup with Veeam Backup 4

But unfortunately at the moment there are performance problems with VCB / vShere 4 / DAS.

When using NAS there is no problem.

In the coming weeks i will test how this performance issue will hit me. Maybe with a few VM's it is possible to do a backup within 10 ours or so.

Maybe you don't need it but i will go for the Essential Plus because of the 24x7 support.

The vSphere Essentials version has only support per incident.

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DSTAVERT
Immortal
Immortal

Other than tech support, which is well worth it when you have a problem at 2 o'clock in the morning, there isn't much to be gained from a paid license. A single host isn't a problem managing with the VI client. I would definitely invest in a network storage device. At that point Converter makes a superb backup tool. You can also get a backup tool from http://trilead.com. If you have another device to run ESXi on then the Essentials package starts to be useful and it does come with the support.

-- David -- VMware Communities Moderator
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stevedahlberg
Contributor
Contributor

This is all very interesting, thanks everybody.

Well, i keep hearing NAS and DAS mentioned/encouraged, but i've been operating under the assumption that whatever solution i end up with, i can backup to my network share. It's an OES2 server on a Red Hat Linux Enterprise 5x box. Currently i'm backup up files from within the 2 Win 2008 server VM's on the lone ESXi host (Dell Poweredge 2950 with 2 local SAS drives) by just mapping a drive to the network share and copying files up, hoping i can specify the same network share to use with either the scripted solution or the VM Converter approach or the license approach.

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