If you need to migrate a Citrix XenServer VM to VMware vSphere platform, there is a specific procedure to follow since a direct migration is not supported.

The migration procedure is composed by three steps: export, disk conversion, finalization.

Export XenServer VM to VMware

To export a XenServer virtual machine, login to the XenCenter and locate the cluster to process.

Login to the XenCenter

Search for the VM to export.

VM General Propetries

To finalize the export, the VM must be powered off. Right click the desired VM and select Shut Down.

VM must be powered off

Click Yes to confirm.

Сonfirm

The VM is being powered off.

The VM is being powered off

When the shutdown operation has been completed, right click the powered off VM and select Export. Keep in mind that XenServer cannot export VMs bigger than 2 TB. The source VM is not deleted.

Export the selected VM

Click Browse and select the target Location to save the exported disk and the package Format. Click Next.

Click Browse and select the target Location

The system checks if sufficient permissions have been granted to the used account to export the disk.

Sufficient permission checks

Select the VM to export. You can also export more than one VM at time. Click Next.

Select the VM to export

No need to include a EULA document, click Next.

No need to include a EULA document

By default the package is exported as OVF but you can create an OVA package instead. OVF file can be compressed to save space but this will require a long time to complete the process. Click Next to continue.

Advanced options

Select the Network to use and optionally the Network Settings. Click Next.

Select the Network

Click Finish to proceed with the VM export.

Review and export

You have the option to Verify export on completion but it will require lot of time to complete. Leave this option disabled.

Verify export on completion

The VM is exported to the specified target location.

The VM is exported

After some minutes the export completes. As you can notice, we have one .OVF file as expected and the VM disk in .VHD format. VHD is not a supported format for vSphere since it requires a .VMDK file. The disk must be converted to VMDK to be compatible with vSphere.

Converted to VMDK

Convert VHD disk to VMDK

To convert a VHD disk to VMDK, there is a great free tool by StarWind called StarWind V2V converter. Download and install the StarWind tool to a computer then run the software to convert the disk. Because the export has been saved to a network storage device, select Local file to select the image to convert. Click Next.

Select Local file

Click the three points (…) to select the source image.

Click the three points

When the image has been selected, click Next to continue.

Image selected

Now, select the location where to save the converted file. Since we are migrating the VM to VMware platform, select Remote VMware ESXi Server option and click Next.

Remote VMware ESXi Server option

Enter the IP address and the root credentials of the target ESXi Server. Click Next.

Enter the IP address and the root credentials

In the example, the exported VM does not exist in the target ESXi Server. Click Create a new virtual machine to create a new one.

Create a new virtual machine

Select the datastore to use and click OK.

Select the datastore

Eneter the VM Name and specify the required VM settings. Click OK to save the configuration.

Eneter the VM Name

The created virtual machine in the ESXi host. Click Next.

The created virtual machine in the ESXi host

Select ESXi pre-allocated image option to create a thick lazy zeroed disk. Click Next.

Select ESXi pre-allocated image option

The converted disk will be saved in the specified datastore. Click Convert to begin the conversion.

Convert to begin the conversion

The virtual machine is being created and the exported disk converted to VMDK format.

The virtual machine is being created

After a while, the conversion procedure completes successfully. Click Finish to exit the wizard.

Click Finish to exit the wizard

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Finalize the conversion

Open the vSphere Client, right click the just created VM and select Edit Settings.

Edit Settings

Click Add New Device and select CD/DVD Drive to install the device since VMware Tools installation will require it. Keep in mind the Network adapter configured after the creation is set to E1000 type.

Click Add New Device and select CD/DVD Drive

Power on the virtual machine to check if everything works as expected.

Power on the virtual machine

The virtual machine is now running on the vSphere platform. Make sure the source virtual machine on XenServer is not powered on to avoid IP address conflict.

 

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Paolo Valsecchi
System Engineer, VCP-DCV, vExpert, VMCE, Veeam Vanguard, Author of virtual blog nolabnoparty.com