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How to Import Existing VMs into vCloud Director

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How to Import Existing VMs into vCloud Director

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Recently I was asked by a customer how they could import VMs from an existing vSphere environment into a vCloud Director environment. This particular customer is aiming to pull VMs from an existing managed hosting business so they’ll use the third of three options that I’ve described below.

For pulling VMs into vCD you basically have 3 options.

1) You can log into the vCD interface and upload VMs manually through the interface. This is done one by one. This is a good option if you’re an end user that doesn’t have vCC setup (option 2) or doesn’t want to go through the process of using the vCloud API (a more automated version of this option). The downside of this option for my customer is it would require additional storage since the VMs would first upload to a staging area (the vCloud Director transfer pool) and then copy to their destination.

2) You can setup vCloud Connector (vCC) in your existing vSphere environment and use that to move VMs from the vCenter Client interface into vCloud Director. This again is done one at a time. The benefit is you’re using your existing tool set (vCenter Client) to perform this operation. The down side is you’ll need to configure vCC for each user of the vCenter Client that wants to do this operation. This would be a viable option for my customer since they own the source vSphere environment. It still isn’t the most straightforward for them and it can’t be automated with an API call so this option is out.

3) If you own the vSphere environment like this customer does and you want to migrate that vSphere environment into a parallel vCD environment then you can just add the managing VC to the vCD environment and import VMs directly into vCD. This is the method that I’m going to detail below.

If you’re ready to go about moving VMs into your vCD environment then the first thing you need to do is prepare to add your managing VC to your vCD environment. To do this you’ll need to deploy a vShield Manager instance. Even if you don’t use the security features of vSM you’ll still need to have one present so you can get through the add VC wizard in vCD. vSM comes as a virtual appliance so we’ll begin by just adding it through the deploy OVF wizard in VC.

After vSM is deployed you can see it as a resource VM in our current vSphere environment. After we finish importing everything we can remove the vSM VM again.

Now that we have vSM in place we can go and attach our managing VC to our vCD environment. Right now my test vCD environment already has one VC under its control as you can see here.

Now we’re going to go through the wizard to add our second VC which is the one we want to import our VMs from. The wizard is pretty simple. First we give it our VC name and credentials.

On the next screen we give the name and credentials to the vSM we deployed earlier.

After the wizard completes you can see we have our old VC and our new VC under the control of our vCD environment. This does not preclude you from continuing to use your vSphere environment as you always have. It just now allows vCD to see and consume some of those resources such as the existing VMs.

The next step is very important. We need to login to vCD as the system admin. This is because org admins don’t get to see the underlying vSphere resources and so they won’t be able to do the import straight from VC. Once we’re logged in as the system admin we can open up an organization to perform the import of VMs into that org. In my case the test organization is called MikeD. You can see the System tab in the screenshot below as well which indicates that we were initially logged in as the system admin and simply opened the organization in another tab.

Now that we’re inside the organization of our choice we can click the import VC button on the top toolbar.

The import vApp/VM wizard should appear and we can see a listing of all of the VMs in our vSphere environment. To import one it’s as simple as selecting the VM, giving it a name, telling vCD which orgVDC we would like to place it in and then hitting ok. There is one last choice to make and that’s whether or not to copy the VM to vCD which will put a new instance in the orgVDC but leave a copy on VC or move the VM which will delete the VM from the original VC environment and make a new copy in the vCD orgVDC resource destination. This choice is up to the person doing the migration and both choices have merit. A lot of people like copy because they have the original copy in place should a customer decide they need to continue using it or they just want it for backup.

After you’re done with the wizard your VM will start to import. After a little while you’ll see the finished VM in the interface. Of course you’ll also see the in progress VM along with a task that’s running.

As you can see the overall process for setting this up is not that labor intensive. It is a little labor intensive to go into the interface to do the import one VM at a time. Of course you could always use the vCloud API to do the imports once you have the vSphere environment added to vCD.

All of this will allow current managed hosting providers to migrate their VMs to the new vCD based clouds they are creating. Hopefully this has been useful. As always if there are any comments or questions then just put them below and I’ll get back to you.


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