vrijdag 28 december 2012

Downgrade VMDK from HW version 8 to HW version 7 (Workstation 8 to ESXi 4.1 )

Introduction

When you create a VM using VMWare workstation, which you want to deploy on a ESXi server at a later moment, you should plan in advance which Version you will use for your Virtual machine (and thus your vmx config file). If you don't, your ESXi-server can complain about a unsupported version. But don't panic just yet, it might be fixable.

Which version to use?

When you still need to create a new VM in workstation you should think before choosing a version. The wizard to create a VM provides you with all the necessary information you need. But to choose the correct version it is easier to have a table with an overview. For this reason I present it to you:

Workstation version Compatible products Limitations
Workstation 8.0 ESX 5.0
Fusion 4.0
Workstation 8.0
64GB memory limit
8 processor limit
10 network adapter limit
2 TB disk size limit
No HD Audio
Workstation 6.5-7.x ACE 2.5 - 2.7
ESX 4.x
ESX 5.0
Fusion 2.x
Fusion 3.x
Fusion 4.0
Server 2.x
Workstation 6.5
Workstation 7.x
Workstation 8.0
32GB memory limit
8 processor limit
10 network adapter limit
2 TB disk size limit
Workstation 6.0 ACE 2.0
ACE 2.5 up to 2.7
ESX 4.x
ESX 5.0
Fusion 1.1
Fusion 2.x
Fusion 3.x
Fusion 4.0
Server 2.x
Workstation 6.x
Workstation 6.5
Workstation 7.x
Workstation 8.0
8 GB memory limit
2 processor limit
10 network adapter limit
950 GB disk size limit
No HD Audio
No CPU hot plug
No device hot plug
No memory hot plug
No LSI Logic SAS SCSI controller
No printer support
Workstation 5.x ACE 2.0
ACE 2.5 up to 2.7
ESX 4.x
ESX 5.0
Fusion 1.1
Fusion 2.x
Fusion 3.x
Fusion 4.0
Server 2.x
Workstation 5.x
Workstation 6.0
Workstation 6.5
Workstation 7.x
Workstation 8.0
3.5 GB memory limit
2 processor limit
4 network adapter limit
950 GB disk size limit
No HD Audio
No USB 2.0
No multiple monitor display
No battery status
No CPU hot plug
No device hot plug
No memory hot plug
No LSI Logic SAS SCSI controller
No VMCI support
No printer support
Workstation 4.x ACE 1.0
ACE 2.0
ACE 2.5 up to 2.7
ESX 4.x
ESX 5.0
Fusion 1.1
Fusion 2.x
Fusion 3.x
Fusion 4.0
GSX Server 3.x
Server 1.x
Server 2.x
Workstation 4.x
Workstation 5.x
Workstation 6.0
Workstation 6.5
Workstation 7.x
Workstation 8.0
3.5 GB memory limit
1 processor limit
4 network adapter limit
128 GB IDE disk size limit
256 GB SCSI disk size limit
No HD Audio
No USB 2.0
No multiple monitor display
No battery status
No 64-bit guests
No 3D graphics acceleration
No CPU hot plug
No device hot plug
No memory hot plug
No LSI Logic SAS SCSI controller
No VMCI support
No printer support
No clone support

So prior to selecting a version you should determine which features you need (think long-term for this!). Next you need to find a version for which your product (e.g. ESXi server) is in the compatibility list. If it has limitations that conflict with your features, you will need to upgrade.

How to downgrade a version?

Suppose you have a version 8 how do you downgrade to a version 7. I didn't find an official way but as long as you don't have features that are not supported by the version you wish to go to. Then you can just change the version numbers in the vmx file. For example if you want to go from version "8" to version "7" you can open it in your favorite editor and search for "8" and replace it with "7". (For your search replace, make sure you use the double quotes!)

Does it work?

I cannot give any promises if it works for you but I tried it on a VM with an Application server and an Oracle DB and it worked! After you change the file you can just create an OVF of it and deploy it on an ESXi 4.1 server. Which is not possible if you would create it from the original VM.

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