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vMotion

"vMotion allows the movement of an entire running virtual machine from one physical server to another, without downtime. The virtual machine retains its network identity and connections, ensuring a seamless migration process. Transfer the virtual machine's active memory and precise execution state over a high-speed network, allowing the virtual machine to switch from running on the source vSphere host to the destination vSphere host. This entire process takes less than two seconds on a gigabit Ethernet network." - VMware website


vMotion is critical for VMs to be used in an enterprise environment. The ability to move running VMs from one host to another means that the hosts themselves become a commodity. When hosts are used in clusters the hosts can be swapped out anytime and without the VMs ever knowing. There are several requirements for vMotion to work.

Storage vMotion allows an admin to move the disk storage of a VM from one location to another while the VM is running.
  • vCenter must be in use to federate all the hosts together in one management infrastructure
  • All disk storage must be on a SAN device. Local storage (storage on the host itself) is not supported.
  • Hosts must be of the same CPU type and/or family. This gets a little tricky and could be an entire other tutorial/post.
How to force a vMotion:
  1. Open the web client, login and go to "Hosts and Clusters" view.
  2. Right-Click on the VM to be vMotioned and select the "Migrate" option.
  3. This will start the Migration wizard. vMotion, Storage vMotion and both vMotion and Storage vMotion at once are supported. Both at once should not be attempted unless the VM is powered down. Select the first option "Change Host" and click next.

  4. The wizard shows a list of clusters and hosts for destination. Select the appropriate cluster/host and click next.

  5. If a Cluster was selected the wizard will prompt to select a host in that cluster.
  6. The default selection is correct when selecting vMotion Priority.
  7. The final screen summarizes the selections made. Click the Finish button to start the vMotion process.