Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My experience with VMware vCenter Converter

The situation is easy. I need to move from one country to another and I have a few computers full of information but also software installed. Some software is really old and important.
The question was: How to travel with all those computers? the overweight would cost more than the computers themselves so I had to find a solution.
I just tested VMware vCenetr Converter and it works perfectly!
It is a free software that converts your computer into a virtual machine. That means that all what you have in your computer including the operating system and your custom configurations are stored. After you have the virtual machine you can use it from any other computer that runs:

  • VMware Workstation, 
  • VMware GSX Server, 
  • VMware Player, 
  • VMware Server, 
  • VMware Fusion, 
  • VMware ESX (Managed by VMware VirtualCenter 2.x)
In my case my main system will be a Mac and it runs VMware Fusion. How I did it?
  1. I bought a 2TB USB external hard disk. The price was around 130EUR
  2. I downloaded vCenter Converter and installed it on each machine I needed to transform into virtual machines.
  3. I used the software to convert each machine and saved the virtual machines on that external hard disk. I have 6 virtual machines there.
  4. I upgraded my VMware Fusion on my Mac
  5. I could run each virtual machine without problems. Exact like the original.
A few comments you should think about:
  1. Microsoft Office asked me for activation again. That means that if you wish to keep your old computers working plus your virtual machines you will need licenses for Office and Windows. I'm sure that for any other software that requires licenses as well.
  2. The external disk was formatted for Mac. If not the virtual machines would not work well if they use a lot of space.
This thing is so powerful and is helping me to save so much money that I'm thinking to:

  1. Install some free OS to those real  machines (Ubuntu for example)
  2. Donate them to someone that could really use them for good.
  3. Buy a big secondary screen for my mac and buy more RAM for it in order to work comfortably with more than one virtual machine at the same time.
  4. Save a lot of energy by using only one system instead of six.