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Home » Virtualization

Copying a VM between VCenters

Submitted by on November 12, 2016 – 6:13 pm

I had a little task: clone an operational VM from one VCenter to another. Normally, for such a task I would use the Standalone Converter. Unfortunately, this time I ran into an annoying SSH key issue: the source VM was an old 32-bit RHEL using DSA and my Converter version only supported RSA. A different approach was needed.

In a nutshell, the solution was:

  1. Clone the operational VM; do not  power up the clone
  2. Click on the clone –> File –> Export –> Export OVF Template
  3. Pick a destination with sufficient space (I used an SMB mount on my laptop)
  4. Exporting as either OVF or OVA works. However, I would suggest OVF.
  5. Prior to importing template, edit the *.ovf file (if you exported as OVA, just unzip the OVA file)
  6. Remove the following section:
    <Item ovf:required="false">
    <rasd:ElementName>CD/DVD drive 1</rasd:ElementName>
    <vmw:Config ovf:required="false" vmw:key="backing.exclusive" vmw:value="false"” />

    This section defines the CDROM, which can throw the device 6 error on import.
  7. Delete the *.mf file to avoid integrity check failure.
  8. File –> Deploy OVF Template –> jump through the usual hoops.
  9. Before powering up the clone, check NIC settings to make sure correct VLAN is selected and connected.
  10. Boot the VM in single-user mode and make the necessary changes to the network config and any other settings to avoid a conflict with the production VM.
  11. Delete the powered-off clone in the original VCenter.

This is probably more work than it had to be, but, luckily, I don’t need to do this often.

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