How to Export ESX VM With Snapshots

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The VMWare ESX Server does not ship with an easy method of exporting virtual machines (VMs) with snapshots. However, VMWare does provide a free, stand-alone tool that will export your ESX VMs with snapshots. The VMWare vCenter Converter is available from the download.VMWare.com website. The converter application converts the virrtual machine files into backup VMs, or the converter will convert the VMDK files into other file types, such as one network appliance file with the OVF file extension. The exported OVF file is a snapshot of the VM. Exporting the VM to an OVF file compacts the virtual hard drives. The OVF file can then be mounted as a network share.

Things You'll Need

  • VMWare vCenter Converter installed
  • Open a web browser and navigate to the download.VMWare.com website. Download the vCenter Converter program for your VMWare installation and save the executable (EXE) file to your hard drive. Note that you must register for the free download by providing your name and email address, and creating a “download” account. When you click the “Download” button for your ESX installation, the registration input boxes appear in the top right corner of the “Download Details” page.

  • Double-click on the EXE file to launch the installation routine. Click “Next" at each prompt to accept the installation defaults. Click “Finish" when the program installation completes.

  • Open the VMWare vCenter Converter. The “Select Source” page opens with the “Machine Type” tab active.

  • Click the “Select Source Type" drop-down box and then click on the option to use. You can click “VMWare Infrastructure Virtual Machines" to use VMs, or you can click “Powered-on Machines" to find physical machines on the network to use as sources.

  • Click the drop-down box labeled “Server" in the “Specify Server Connection Information" section and click on the server name to export. Alternatively, type the IP address into the input box.

  • Type the administrator user ID and password for the server into the input boxes and then click “Next.” If the “VMWare Infrastructure” option was chosen in the previous section, the file navigation page opens to locate the virtual machine file (VMDK file).

  • Click the “Browse” button to open the File Navigation dialog box. Navigate to and click on the VMDK file for the VM. Click “Open.” The VM file loads. Click “Next.” The VM machine names are listed in the “Machine Name” page.

  • Click on the machine name to use as your source, and then click “Next.” The “Specify Destination” page opens with the “Destination Type” tab active.

  • Click the “Select Destination Type” drop-down box and click the desired option for the export format.

  • Click the “Select VMWare Product” drop-down box and click on the type of VMWare server you want to export to.

  • Type a name for the new server in the “Name” input box under Virtual Machine Details.

  • Click the “Browse” button and navigate to a location for the exported VM file or files. Click “OK.”

  • Click “Next.” The Verify/Edit page opens. Verify the details of your export, make any desired edits, and then click “Next.” The “Conversion in Process” window opens and displays the progress of the export. The conversion will list as “Completed” when the process is complete.

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