Disconnecting vDisks from One VM and Moving to another VM

Earlier today I was asked if it were possible to move a specific vdisk from one datastore to another. This prompted me to write the post below. However at the time, I completely missed the fact that by using the advanced options in Storage vMotion, we can chose a specific disk to migrate rather than migrating the whole virtual machine. So I’ve altered the post a little bit and instead of using the procedure below to migrate the disk to another datastore, this post will focus on how we can disconnect vdisks from one virtual machine, move to another datastore, and connect it to a completely different virtual machine.

There are times when we need to perform certain virtual machine tasks such as moving vdisk between virtual machines. This could be for many reasons, but the one thing that’s for sure, is that with virtual machines, this process is really easy, somewhat safe, and can be done by any junior admin.

Simply follow the procedure below and you should have no issues. Just make sure to have backups of your virtual machines and make sure you pay close attention when disconnecting the vdisks because you can easily delete disk if not careful.

Here’s a virtual machine that has 2 disks

In order to move Hard Disk 2, we need to first remove it from the virtual machine. This will ensure that the disk is not in use while we move it to another datastore. Simply click Remove

Next, you’ll need to be very careful as to what option you chose when removing the disk:

  • Remove from virtual machine
  • Remove from virtual machine and delete files from disk (permanently deletes the disk)

Make sure to chose the first option: Remove from virtual machine

Next, we’ll need to move the disconnected disk from the source datastore to the destination. To do so, we need to browse the source datastore and located the disconnected disk (vShield Manager_1.vmdk)

We then need to click on the Move button (3) and select the proper datastore we want to move to. Just a quick tip, I’ve created the vShield Manager folder at the root of the datastore before I started the move.

Depending on the size of the VMDK, the move time will vary… but once complete, the VMDK should be located at the destination datastore

At this point, we’ll need to go back to the virtual machine settings and re-attach the disk

Select Hard Disk

At the next screen, we have three options:

  • Create a new virtual disk
  • Use an existing virtual disk (Reuse a previously configured virtual disk)
  • Raw Device Mapping

For this particular post we’ll be focusing on option 2, Use an existing virtual disk

Next, we’ll need to point to the moved virtual disk

At this point, we can click on Next to proceed the advanced options

One the advanced options, leave the defaults and click on Next

Confirm the settings and click Finish

Now, click Ok and you’re done!


Andrey Pogosyan

Andrey Pogosyan is a Virtualization Architect who’s focus is on infrastructure virtualization involving mainly VMware and Citrix products. Having worked in the IT industry for 10+ years, Andrey has had the opportunity to fulfill many different roles ranging from Desktop Support and all the way up to Architecture and Implementation. Most recently, Andrey has taken a great interest in the datacenter technology stack encompassing Virtualization, mainly VMware vSphere\View, Citrix XenApp\XenDesktop and Storage (EMC, HP, NetApp).

3 Responses

  1. edi says:

    Great and simple, thank you

  2. Luke says:

    In a windows environment will the NTFS permissions be retained? I understand the shares won’t be.

    • Marco says:

      NTFS permissions will be retained.
      You can export share definitions and permission from registry (reg export HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanServer\Shares shareperms.reg) and then import reg file in the destination server

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