How to move a VMware VM from one datastore to another WITHOUT VMware Storage vMotion

Not every infrastructure requires multiple hosts to sustain your production environment, let alone enterprise licenses with features you don’t really need. That is where VMware Essentials Kit license steps in, providing cover for all of your basic needs and saving you quite a few bucks. But even the simplest setups may have to be reconfigured or adjusted further down the line. And, as the title says, you are now set with the task of moving a VM from one datastore to another.

The bad news is, since VMware Essentials Kit doesn’t include the handy features like vMotion and Storage vMotion, you have to move everything manually. The good news is, there is a way to substantially simplify this task with the help of Veeam! And, what’s even better, you won’t have to pay another penny for that.

In our previous post, we unveiled how you can move your VM from one ESXi host to another by using Quick Migration feature of Veeam Backup Free Edition. Quick Migration comes in every edition of Veeam Backup & Replication and is essentially a one-time replication that allows you to easily move live VMs from one VMware host to another or to move VMs between existing datastores on the same ESXi host without any downtime.

A few things to know before proceeding:

  • Quick Migration is available only for VMware environments
  • At least a minimum paid license of VMware ESXi is required for proper operation of Veeam Backup Free Edition due to API restrictions of free ESXi

Now, let’s get to the scenario where your host remains the same, and only location of VM’s disks is due to change. If you’re already familiar with our product or have used Quick Migration before, then you can skip to step six.

1. Download Veeam Backup Free Edition.

2. Install it on a virtual or physical 64-bit Windows machine (see the full list of supported operating systems) that has access to the production environment. Since we’re rolling with Veeam Backup Free Edition, no license is required during installation.

3. Launch Veeam Backup & Replication Console from your desktop and start by adding your VMware vSphere Server— it can be either vCenter or ESXi host.

start by adding your VMware vSphere Server— it can be either vCenter or ESXi host

4. Now that you’re able to browse your infrastructure, find the VM that you need to move, right-click on it and select “Quick Migration.”

find the VM that you need to move, right-click on it and select Quick Migration

5. Inside the wizard, you’ll find this VM already added to the list. In case you need to move other VMs’ disks as well, you can always add more via the corresponding button.

6. Proceed to the “Destination” step where you can pick a new target datastore for your VM(s). Make sure that you’ve picked correct host, resource pool and VM folder in the first three fields as well!

  • If you want to move only particular disks, you can do so by clicking “Pick datastore for selected virtual disks” below the main datastore field.

Pick datastore for selected virtual disks

7. Since we can’t pick proxies in the Free Edition, on the “Transfer” step they will be left at automatic and will use Veeam backup server itself.

8. Next step will give you a summary of current settings, so make sure to double check them and you’re good to go!

  • If you don’t want your original VM(s) to be deleted, you can untick the option “Delete source VM files upon successful migration” so “_migrated” suffix will be appended to original VM(s).

Delete source VM files upon successful migration

And that’s it! You have successfully moved your VM from one datastore to another!

While you’re at it, why don’t you try to create a reserve copy of your VM now? After all, you always have to be prepared for the worst! And nothing says safety better than the full image of your valuable data with flexible restore options that Veeam offers.

If you still have questions about Quick Migration or require a bit more insight into every step taken, feel free to check out this overview of the feature on our portal.

See also

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  • Benjamin Bordasch says:

    I tested it in our environment with the migration of a live VM. It looks like that there is a little downtime between the shutdown of the source location and the start on the target location. Is that right ?

  • Eli Afanasyev says:

    Hey Benjamin,

    That is correct. At this step, named “Copying VM state” in the quick migration job action view, we copy the state of a snapshot (from “-Snapshot.vmsn” file) over to the new VM so that it would be resumed in the exact state as the source VM at the moment of the migration start. So you can expect a slight delay there.

    As for the network interface, since we simply copy the VM, it will be the same as the source and unfortunately no options are presented during the migration setup to alter it. So if any adjustments are required, they should be done after the quick migration is finished.

  • Kay Kay says:

    We tried the same but it takes very long time. why its takes such a long time? we have any other solution to move faster migration, please suggest.
    20-10-2016 11:42:46 AM :: Starting VM TRACKWIZ processing at 20-10-2016 11:42:46
    20-10-2016 11:42:50 AM :: Migration plan:
    [Mode] Cold migration
    [Host] >
    [Resource pool] Resources > Resources
    [VM folder] vm > vm
    [Datastore] VM STORE 1 > Spark VOL1- SAN

    20-10-2016 11:42:50 AM :: Preparing
    20-10-2016 11:43:13 AM :: Queued for processing at 20-10-2016 11:43:13
    20-10-2016 11:43:13 AM :: Required backup infrastructure resources have been assigned
    20-10-2016 11:43:18 AM :: Using source proxy VMware Backup Proxy [nbd]
    20-10-2016 11:43:18 AM :: Using target proxy VMware Backup Proxy [nbd]
    20-10-2016 11:43:18 AM :: Preparing target VM
    20-10-2016 11:43:36 AM :: Creating VM snapshot
    20-10-2016 11:43:54 AM :: Copying VM files Progress: 14%
    20-10-2016 11:43:54 AM :: Hard disk 1 (600.0 GB) 86.3 GB read at 6 MB/s

  • Eli Afanasyev says:

    Hi Kay,

    Unfortunately, there is no quick answer to why the migration times may vary in different environments. Since there are multiple points that may cause slow performance (hosts, datastores, connection, misconfiguration), I would advise contacting our support team for in-deep log investigation from which they should be able to determine the root cause of this issue and see what exactly hits the performance in your instance.

    Here’s a guide for opening a support case:

  • SHARATH AKS says:

    How the mode cold migration came ?

  • Eli Afanasyev says:


    In our example, it is merely an indication that we move a VM between two hosts with non-compatible CPUs and this mode was picked automatically.

    You can find more detailed information on how the mode is determined here:

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