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.