Proxmox to Vmware proxmox vmware

This article describes converting a Proxmox VM to VMware in 3 steps. You convert the virtual disk and not the whole virtual machine. You should have some basic knowledge about SSH and Linux shell. All you need to know is how to navigate the directory structure in the Linux shell. The whole process only requires three commands.

In my example, I explain how to convert the Linux monitoring system Zappix, which has a 32 GB disk size. The whole process took less than an hour, and the VM was up and running on VMware.

So let’s get started with our three steps.

Step 1: Preparation

Absolutely essential! As you know, good planning and preparation lay the groundwork for a successful job. You need admin credentials for the Proxmox Web GUI, VMware Vcenter or ESXi Web GUI, SSH for the Proxmox host, and the ESXi server. I recommend using Terminus SSH for the Mac and Putty or Kitty for Windows. However, Terminal on a Mac is also fine. Windows 10 now supports Linux shell too.

In my experience, gathering all credentials is essential and what takes the most time. Make sure you have all login information and have tested it. This will save you a lot of frustration. Only then are you ready for Step 2.

Step 2: Convert the disk from Proxmox to Vmware vmdk disk format

First, log in to the Proxmox web GUI and locate the VM you want to convert. In the example below, locate the Hardware tab and check the Hard Disk name. That’s the disk you need to convert.

In the example below, the VM has two Hard Disks.

VM Hardware tab - locate the VM disks

After that, log in to the Proxmox host with SSH or, even easier, use the shell (see picture below.

Proxmox GUI - shell access

The location of the disk depends on how your Proxmox environment is set up. You could have a local disk for each host or shared storage. Use the find command to search for the disk(s).

find / | grep vm-101-disk-*

I use the * as a placeholder.

Proxmox find grep

In my environment, I use the filesystem ZFS. Here, both hard disks (actually three one for TPM) are in the location /dev/zvol/datastore. Disk 0 has three parts. When you convert the disks, parts will be converted automatically, too.


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Once you locate the disk, use the command below to convert it to the VMware vmdk format

qemu-img convert -f raw /dev/zvol/datastore/vm-101-disk-0 -O vmdk zappix-neu.vmdk

The disk is in the directory “/dev/zvol/datastore.” The command creates the zappix-neu.vmdk in the directory where the command is executed. I recommend choosing a directory with enough free space for the new file. Depending on the disk size, the process can take some time. Do not terminate the SSH session because you will need it to copy the vmdk file later.


Step 3 – Creating a new VM in VMware Vcenter or ESXi

Login to Vcenter or ESXi GUI and create a new VM. The VM should have the same CPU and Memory as the original Proxmox VM. The disk size doesn’t matter as you will replace it with the converted disk.

Then, log in to the ESXi host with SSH. You first need to enable the SSH service in the Web GUI. Locate the datastore of the newly created VM. Again, the location depends on your environment.

Go back to your Proxmox ssh session. Now, you need to transfer the converted vmdk files to the ESXi host. I do it with scp.

scp zappix-neu.vmdk 192.168.1.2://vmfs/volumes/5e25a9e7-1b498358-ae45-3cecef0c19ea/Zabbix

zappix-neu.vmdk is the disk file on the Proxmox. The IP address is from the ESXi host with the exact location where to copy the file. Hit the “enter” key to notice a progress bar in the ssh.

After that, you must run this command on the ESXi server to which you just copied the vmdk.

vmkfstools -i zappix-neu.vmdk zappix.vmdk -d thin

The argument “thin” is crucial. Otherwise, the VM won’t boot up. Argument -d means to clone the disk. In this example, clone to zappix.vmdk.

We are almost done! Now, you need to attach the vmdk file as an existing hard drive to the VMware VM in the Vcenter or ESXi GUI you created. Remove the existing disk created when you initially set up the VM.

Now fire up the VM in VMware Vcenter or ESXi, and it should boot fine.

Remember to install the VMware tools and remove the Proxmox tools as the last task! Your Proxmox to Vmware job is done! 🙂


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I would love to get some feedback from you. Was this article helpful? Please share your opinion with me in the comment section below. Or, if you prefer a more personal touch, feel free to email me directly at [email protected]. Your thoughts and insights are always appreciated.

Before you go …

If you’ve just explored the intricacies of migrating from Proxmox to VMware, you might find my next suggestion particularly useful. Delve into the practicalities of VMware USB Network Adapter integration. This article will enhance your understanding of networking options in VMware environments, providing a comprehensive guide to effectively utilizing USB network adapters. It’s an ideal read for those looking to expand or optimize their newly migrated VMware setup. Stay ahead in your tech journey with this insightful read.

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5 Comments

  1. in my case (proxmox7 to esxi 7) , I had to replace the parameter “-f raw” in the first command with “-f qcow2” in order to obtain a working disk at the end of the (time consuming) procedure under esxi 7 … unfortunately the vm booted bot declared errors in the filesystem, which the fsck -y fixed massively … resulting in a vm capable to boot but unusable due to corrupted sw

    1. Thank you for your comment. I’m sure it is valuable for the other readers.

  2. Didn’t worked for me after follow step by step. It never finish booting

    1. Hi – try to change in the Proxmox VM tab under Hardware SCSI Controller to a different controller type. I think after that your VM will boot. Unfortunately there is a issue with Windows to recognize the VirtiO SCSI driver. I experienced using a older version of VritIO could help.

  3. Hello Marco – If you have more than one disk in the Proxmox environment you will see all disks listed, see picture under step 2. Just convert the 2nd disk like to first one to vmdk and transfer it to your VMware environment. For the VM in ESXi you can attach more than one disk. Overall it is not a big deal, just one more disk to convert. Hope this helps.

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