I recently had to P2V (or better V2V) a VMWare VM. The Virtual Machine was sitting on an ESXi host and I wanted to pull it over into a production ESX cluster. At the same time I wanted to shrink the hard drives of the VM – especially the D drive. When the machine was built it had gotten a 200 GB hard drive, but in the end they only used 5 GB (if at all). The solution is often the VMWare converter application as it allows to shrink the drives during the process.
I fired up the converter, but within 1 minute after kicking off the P2V process the converter died giving me this error message:
FAILED: Unable to create a VSS snapshot of the source volume(s). Error code:
I did a Google search for it and found several people with the same problem. Some found a fix by modifying the registry, but that did not match my situation. Found a few other things, but again with no luck. Then I tried the cold clone converter version from VMWare. However, the cold clone converter failed to recognize the NIC inside the VM.
Since I was dealing with ESXi I could not that easily SSH into the host and copy the (eventually) powered off machine to another host. I went into the hidden ESXi console and enabled SSH, but upon restarting the necessary service the hidden console locked up. All VMs continued to be running and everything looked – except for I still could not SSH into the host. So, I had to find another way of getting the machine moved of the ESXi host onto a production ESX cluster.
vCenter came to the rescue. I selected the machine I wanted to copy and then right-clicked on the storage to browse the data store. From there I selected the folder of the (powered off) VM. Another right click and I was able to download the VM to local storage.
Once that was completed I uploaded the folder via WinSCP to the ESX host. Then I registered the VM in vCenter and powered it on.
The machine worked fine and booted as it was supposed to. I mounted a smaller, blank drive to the VM and moved the data via Robocopy off and then just changed the drive letters. One more reboot and everything was done. I kept the old drive around for a few days, but as no user complained, I got rid of it and gained my disk space back. Nice.