I am looking for some advice on how I can resize vmdk files. Long story short, I'm pretty new to VMWare and one of my clients has an IBM DS 3400 SAN that has 2 LUNs, each approx 400Gb in size. One LUN only has about 5Gb of space left, and I need to reclaim some of that so vRanger backups will work, because vRanger won't work with less than 6Gb free space on a LUN. How can I shrink the vmdk files to achieve this? The VM's are production servers, so I can't rebuild them. As I understand it, vmdk files represent the hard disks in a VM. There is plenty of space in the OS hard disks, so I would like to make the vmdk files considerably smaller.
I noticed that, from within Virtual Centre, I have the options to copy/cut/paste files from within datastores - can I use this to my advantage? I haven't touched anything yet, because I am very wary about making changes when I can't backup the VMs beforehand because the LUN is full!!! :smileysilly:
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
since you posted in the ESX 3.0 forum, I will assume you are running 3.0.x. I would say the safest way to shrink your disks is probably going to be with VMware Converter.
If it's just a matter of moving VM's from datastore to datastore to free up space on your luns, you can do cold migrations to other luns, or if you happen to be running 3.5.0 ESX and 2.5 vCenter you can do live migrations with sVMotion.
There are several solutions you can try and I've found the easiest is using vCenter Converter 4.0 it works really nice and can insert "specify disk size in GB" of your selected drive and it will increase from there. Depends how large it takes a while to finish. Its basically doing a V2V of your .vmdk images and increase it and pointed to different folder/destination and once completed power on and test it and delete the old drive. Here's more details on different procedures http://vmware-land.com/Resizing_Virtual_Disks.html
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VMware vExpert 2009
iGeek Systems Inc.
VMware, Citrix, Microsoft Consultant
Firstly what OS are we talking about in the guest???? if you have no space left to convert you are in a sticky situation. are there any guests that can be powered donw and converted off to a Desktop and external Drive to give a little space before you start converting?? remember you will need as much space as your final VMDK to convert into. do your Guest VM' have extra VMDKs attached to them if so what is the space on these drives you may be able to create a smaller VMDK and move your files from D:\ to E:\ and then delete the larger drive and reassign the drive letters, thereby creating more space.
this is a difficult task you have, especally if you do not have the space on the SAN to vConvert into. svMotioning a guest or two out of the SAN and onto local storage may also be an option (if you have not got and VMFS partions on your ESX servers you can create them within vCenter or from the commandline useing vmfstools.
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Tom Howarth VCP / vExpert
VMware Communities User Moderator
Contributing author for the upcoming book "VMware Virtual Infrastructure Security: Securing ESX and the Virtual Environment”.
Thanks all, your info has been really helpful. I have used VMware converter on a couple of the VMs and it seems to have worked fine. I should have mentioned that all VMs are running win2k3 server standard. The big problem remains though, and that is the VM that takes up all of a 400Gb LUN. I have been making the other VMs smaller so I can move them off the 2nd LUN onto host storage and I will then see if I have enough space to use vConverter on the large VM. I will also see if I can create a smaller drive and move data from a larger drive to a smaller one and delete the larger drive as recommended by Tom. I am also trying to find out if the SAN (IBM DS3400) can change LUN sizing on the fly without affecting the VMs - this would also be a great option.
Just a couple more questions if you don't mind, like I said, I'm pretty new to VMWare, but I am really enjoying the learning curve.
1) When using vConverter to copy a VM, is the destination VM exactly the same (excluding disk size changes etc)as the source VM? By this I mean does it have the same windows SID, etc? Is it just like using Acronis or Ghost on a physical machine?
2) The large VM is a file/mail server. When I convert this machine, should I do it with the VM powered off? I saw that I can convert any VM from Virtual Centre