I have hit a wall on this, support can't give me an answer on this (they suggested the VM Converter but the Doc seems to imply only Windows VMs are supported?)
What I want to do is :
-Cold ESX3.0 spare export the vmfs file system with NFS
-live ESX 3.0 nfs mount the exported vmfs then use vcbmounter to replicate over the VMs (I was able to do this trivially to a GSX machine and thought it would work with ESX too)
-firewalls..incoming on the cold spare server outgoing on the live server
-vmfs just like xfs it seems to not get exported properly by nsfd I get the following error
Feb 2 11:43:49 engr-vserv2 rpc.mountd: authenticated mount request from macphedran.here.org:1009 for /vmfs (/vmfs)
Feb 2 11:43:49 engr-vserv2 rpc.mountd: getfh failed: Operation not permitted
the End result I want is to have the 6 VMs replicated over the the cold spare , at that point I will manually keep them synched up via rsync/ssl
this should be doable by the above method or something supported by VMWARE
Well if support told you something, I think I would listen considering they are the experts. VM Ware converter will work for Windows only if you intend to convert as a physical machine. If they are already VM's ANY VM can be converted/cloned.
Download and install VMware Converter standalone version and start it up. Then point the source at your ESX server and the target to your other ESX Server and convert away. It will do exactly what you need. VMFS over NFS does not work as the VMFS does not implement every LINUX/UNIX file system control. The better choice is perhaps vReplicator from Vizioncore, VMware Converter, VCB, esXpress, or any other tool you can use to make backups and restorations.
Edward L. Haletky
VMware Communities User Moderator
Author of the book 'VMWare ESX Server in the Enterprise: Planning and Securing Virtualization Servers', Copyright 2008 Pearson Education. As well as the Virtualization Wiki at http://www.astroarch.com/wiki/index.php/Virtualization
You will need an Enterprise license for Converter to be able to convert VMs to an ESX host; free version will not do this.
You could try scp of sftp to copy the files over, or use ESXpress, as suggested before; i believe you can get a free version which will backup Full VMs, which can then be restored onto your other host (or maybe even copied directly, don't really know the capabilities of ESXpress).
Licensed version (paid) is only needed for incremental and file level backups.
Or you could use an SMB share on a windows server (dont know if 3.5 supports CIFS yet, 3.0.2 didn't), or even a USB disk as intermediate storage.
NFS export on a host will not work, as the NFS version included in ESX is seriously restricted, and would require a recompile of the kernel module to make it work (did it once, following an 'ESX + SAN in a box' manual; but this would of course be very much unsupported).
This is a short explanation of what esXpress does for what we call simple replication. It is a licensed feature (LE license). We use the backups (Delta or Full) to do the replication. What happens is the backups are sent to a target ( ftp server, ssh to replicated host, vmfs on a SAN, etc ). Then the replicated or standby host is looking for those backups and will automatically download and restore the backups on the replicated host.