Windows Server

Convert Vmware files to Hyper-V-compatible files

Derek Schauland found a utility that converts VMware VHDK files to VHD files that can be used with Microsoft's Hyper-V virtualization tool. Here's how to get it and how to use it.

VMware has been doing virtualization for a long time; the ESX server platform and virtual hard disk platform used with it are great implementations and allow virtualized systems to get up and running in very few steps. Microsoft has upped the ante on VMware by including its own hyper-visor in Windows Server 2008 R2. The purpose of this post is not to compare these two hyper-visors but to look at a utility that converts VMware virtual hard disk (VHDK) files into the VHD format that Hyper-V can understand.

With Microsoft including its own hyper-visor, the virtualization game may become more front-of-mind for many IT shops, and for those already living in a virtual world, an alternative to VMware could be a breath of fresh air. (My organization does not use virtualization yet, but we are currently evaluating products in preparation for it.)

I've found that in my test environment, creating virtual disks can be something of a task, depending on the method and application used. The process is pretty much point-and-click with Hyper-V, but it becomes more difficult when you bring in VMware VMDKs. I ran into this problem when someone asked if I had tried to run any non-Microsoft guest operating systems on Hyper-V.

I hadn't spent any time on that yet, but decided to play around with some VHDKs that someone provided to me. Of course, Hyper-V did not automatically grab the file and start to open it, so I did a quick search on Bing and found a free utility at vmToolkit that allows you to convert VMDK to VHD.

After signing up for an account, I downloaded the 48 KB zipped VMDK Convert application. After I extracted the application, running through a conversion was very simple.

Open the VMDK file, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A

Select VMDK file.
Once the file is open, select a destination for the new VHD file and provide a file name (Figure B).

Figure B

Select destination and name VHD file.

Click the Convert button to create a Hyper-V compatible VHD.

To begin using the new VHD, simply create a virtual machine on Hyper-V and use the new VHD as the hard disk. Once the virtual machine wizard completes, the new machine should start with no problems.

About

Derek Schauland has been tinkering with Windows systems since 1997. He has supported Windows NT 4, worked phone support for an ISP, and is currently the IT Manager for a manufacturing company in Wisconsin.

28 comments
df.travel
df.travel

Thx for the info. Here is my reason to look for the tool to migrate VMWare to Hyper-V. My company decided to use MS Team Foundation System. In 2010 release it will have a Virtual Lab Management capabilities based on Hyper-V. Our production uses VMWare. So if MS TFS prooves to be good, we will need a convertion tool. I know that there are other vendors who can provide Virtual Lab with VMWare, but the decision for MS TFS already done and overall if it works as MS promises it is a really nice and full solution.

Chuckchuckj
Chuckchuckj

any one know of a utility to convert VDH to VMDK

jcullen
jcullen

Terrible article. How about some English lessons? And not very useful from a technical perspective. No one is gong to start migrating from ESX to Hyper-V based on this article, or even start thinking about it.

twalia
twalia

Great post!!! I was looking for something like this. Thanks Derek!!! T.J. Walia

Justin James
Justin James

In addition to the disk conversion itself, it also installs the integration tools, deals with the drivers, and does the other stuff that you would expect a P2V conversion or a full V2V conversion to do. Funny enough, the *only* thing I used SCVMM for is this very functionality, my environment isn't "enterprise" enough for its other features. J.Ja

Craig_B
Craig_B

We run VMware and have been very happy with it. Microsoft virtualization started out poorly however has slowly improved over time. Hyper-V in 2008R2 is now at a point to investigate the options again. This tool should help with the testing.

cbader
cbader

When Hyper-V first came out we decided to implement it for some reason. I had to do P2V conversions on a large portion of our infrastructure but Microsoft didnt have a P2V utility. So I used VMwares utility then converted them to the Hyper-V format using the vmdk2vhd program. Worked great.

dwdino
dwdino

This is tantamount to turning in a Ferrari for a Yugo.

b4real
b4real

I find the burden pretty heavy to move these files around, especially when dealing with ESXi and ESX. But, nonetheless, cool to hold onto this tool.

Derek Schauland
Derek Schauland

I know that Hyper-V is a new offering and that VMWare has been in this space for quite some time, but have any of you considered moving your environemnts to Hyper-V, or testing the technology to see if there is a fit?

Derek Schauland
Derek Schauland

I like system center products, but what about licensing? this quick tool was free to download and very compact. I dont recall the cost if any of Virtual Machine Manager. Derek

Rastor9
Rastor9

No choice, either reload/build new virtual servers or convert existing servers into Hyper V. My "director" and the administration team determined that it was better to upgrade to a IBM server with dual, quad core xenon, 28 GIG Ram and Windows 2008 R2 Enterprise x64. With four Application specific windows 2000 servers that need moved this tool is perfect.

david
david

If you can't tell us why your choice is better then don't waste our time with your post. Better in what way? It's faster? Uses resources better? You work for VMWARE and they told you to say that? Without facts it's just opinion.

csmith.kaze
csmith.kaze

Why on earth would I use an inferior Virtualization product.

curtis
curtis

Hyper-V is still nowhere near where VMWare is. There is no good reason for me to even consider moving my infrastructure.

kdpawson
kdpawson

I had a new server to build for a test lab and so I thought I would give Hyper-V, Citrix Xen a test run and see if I would use one of these for the test VM host rather than ESXi. Well after 3 days of really wasting my time with Citrix Xen and Hyper-V I loaded up ESXi again. I had problems trying to convert existing VMware machines into either Citrix or Hyper-V and I did try this tool. I did like the feel of the Citrix Xen and Hyper-V Hypervisor 2008R2 was also much better than the previous versions I've used. But I couldn't convert the guests correctly for some reason and the fact that I can't install Debian Linux onto Hyper-V was a pain. Staying with ESXi for now and will look at the others again in 12 months.

djones
djones

How about going the other way? Say from Hyper-V to vmware virtual server or ESXi?? Is there a tool for that?

TexasJetter
TexasJetter

I am actually using a couple of Hyper-V machines. Overall I am not impressed with the performance. I have a server class machine with lots of RAM and speedy hard disks as the host, but the virtual machines are very sluggish. Granted the users cannot tell (none of them have a public interface), but when I manage them it is noticeable. Hard disk access is very slow compared to native disk access. I haven't used VMware, so I can't do a direct comparison. I just know performance of a Hyper-V based virtual machine was less than impressive.

Justin James
Justin James

We're certified partners, so we get SCVMM for free. To be honest, that drives a *lot* of our decisions, sometimes to our detriment. I really wish we had signed up with Salesforce.com instead of moving forward with Microsoft CRM, for example. J.Ja

jpr75_z
jpr75_z

You will always have the lame postings in forums comparing one application/OS with another. Very much like an article talking about Windows and OS X. I just ignore them.

bryantwalley
bryantwalley

Could you provide specific detail on your comment?

tinybrain
tinybrain

I tried using the Hyper V in the new R2, seem pretty good to me

jhu0596
jhu0596

Haven't tried Hyper-V yet, but VM's on a VMware ESXi host run really well. It does a very good job of managing memory and other resources on the guest. Please note: that the performce is best when you install VMware tools on the guest operating systems. Jonathan Hutchins VCP MCP

Justin James
Justin James

Our company is under 15 people total, including a number of part-time employees. We have 4 "developers" on our staff, only one of whom spends 40 hours/week (or close to it) actively touching code. I was hired less than 2 years ago, and we've been partners much longer than that. While managing the partner program does take one of us some time, I think that it is time well spent compared to a lot of other tasks. Given that we are using probably $50,000 worth of licenses right now through the partner program, can you really afford *not* to do it if you qualify, and would use the products? For example, I've done close to 10 various conversions with SCVMM (P2V and V2V). How much of my salary would it have cost the company to glue together a string of various utilities discovered all over the Internet to do the same thing? Ditto for the free incidents I've used, calling into them. Getting Microsoft to find the answer to my problem (even if I need tos pend $250 on an incident) is a heck of a lot more efficient and inexpensive than me spending half a week digging around in search engines for the answer. And less frustrating for me, too. :) J.Ja

Derek Schauland
Derek Schauland

I wish my company had a big enough IT shop to look to going the partner route, but we do not...

dwdino
dwdino

You responses speak to your limited experience. I have stress tested all three of the leading virtualization platforms and put them through DR scenarios. There is no rival to VMware at the moment. The only real selling points for Hyper-V is its inclusion in the OS and the familiarity for Microsoft engineers.

tom.howarth
tom.howarth

for what possible reason would I wish to do this, If I wished to share a VMware based VM with a Hyper-V machine I would convert it to the OVF format. but as another poster says, why would I wish to use an inferior product.

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