Why convert VM between Hyper-V and VMware
While VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V are both popular type-1 hypervisors, they are not compatible with each other. VMware products create virtual disks in VMDK format, and Hyper-V creates virtual disks in VHD or VHDX format.
However, sometimes you may need to convert between them, which is also known as V2V migration. For example, since VMware supports more operating systems such as Unix or macOS, you may need to convert Hyper-V to VMware for more application testing. But the cost on VMware can be a really burden for small organizations, so you may need to convert VMwareto Hyper-V.
Microsoft Hyper-V vs VMware ESXi
- File System: VMware's Virtual Machine File System (VMFS) holds a slight edge over Hyper-V's ReFS, or Resilient File System, particularly when it comes to clustering.
- Memory: Hyper-V's Dynamic Memory is simpler and better than the complex memory management such as memory compression, transparent page sharing, and oversubscription/overcommit in VMware.
- Snapshots: VMware only allows 32 snapshots, while Hyper-V allows 64 snapshots per VM, and can be exported to other locations.
- Operation System: VMware supports more operating systems, including Windows, Linux, Unix, and macOS. while Hyper-V is limited to Windows plus a few more, including Linux and FreeBSD.
- Pricing: Smaller organizations might find Hyper-V more to their liking. As for larger enterprises, VMware's pricing structure seems ideal.
Important: VMware vCenter Converter unavailable for download
If you are familiar with the virtualization industry, you probably know VMware offered a tool for Hyper-V to VMware conversion, that is vCenter Converter. Similarly, Microsoft used to provide a Virtual Machine Converter that can convert VMware to Hyper-V.
However, MVMC was retired since 2017, succeeded by a paid tool System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM). And the same thing has also happened to vCenter Converter.
That leaves the last official tool to convert Hyper-V to VMware unavailable. According to VMware, they may present a new replacement in the future. But just like the deprecated Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter (MVMC), the new replacement for free VMware vCenter Converter Standalone may also be a paid tool, and the scheduling of release has not yet been determined.
So what are the remaining available methods to switch between VMware and Hyper-V?
First of all, if you've downloaded older version of vCenter Converter or MVMC before, you can continue using them to convert Hyper-V to VMware or vice versa. If not, then you have to download it from other random sites, or try file-based backup solution to create a backup image of everything on Hyper-V and restore it to VMware or vice versa, just as the physical machines.
No matter what you are trying, please make sure you’ve backed up your VMs to avoid unexpected failures.
How to convert Hyper-V to VMware with Official Free Tool (Legacy)
1. Launch VMware vCenter Converter Standalone. Click Convert machine on the toolbar to open the wizard.
2. On Source System page, select source type as Powered off option, and select Hyper-V Server from the below dropping menu.
Specify server connection information, and then click Next.
3. On Source Machine page, select the Hyper-V VM you want to convert. Click Next to continue.
Depending on whether VMware ESXi or Workstation you want to convert the VM to, the following steps are different.
4. If you want to convert to VMware ESXi:
On Destination System page, select VMware Infrastructure virtual machine as the destination type, and provide ESXi or vCenter Server IP Address, User name and Password. Then click Next.
5. On Destination Virtual Machine page, provide a Name for the new VM, and click Next.
6. On Destination Location page, select the ESXi host, Datastore, and Virtual machine version. Click Next.
7. On Options page, browse the Current settings and optionally Edit the parameters for the conversion task. Then you can click Next to continue.
8. On Summary page, review the information and click Finish to start conversion. You can see the progress in Recent Tasks interface.
VMware vCenter Converter Standalone was the most common way to convert Hyper-V to VMware. And there is still no official replacement since it is announced unavailable for download.
If you are finding an effective alternative, it is recommended currently that you can try a file-based backup way to backup everything on the Hyper-V VM and restore it to VMware, just like backup and restore on the physical machines. This also apply for P2V on VMware or Hyper-V.
And if you may need to convert VMware to Hyper-V back in the future. In the next part I will introduce two ways to do it.
How to convert VMware to Hyper-V when necessary
In this section, I will introduce 2 ways to convert VMware to Hyper-V, since Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter (MVMC) is deprecated by Microsoft. If your have previously downloaded MVMC and it’s still available, you can refer to the first method. If you have not, you may need to download it on other site or refer to the second method.
Convert VMware to Hyper-V using Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter (Legacy)
Before you begin, please power off the target VM and uninstall the VMware tools.
1. Launch Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter (MVMC). Select the Machine Type as Virtual machine conversion, and click Next to continue.
2. On Migration Destination page, select Migrate to Hyper-V, then click Next.
3. On Hyper-V Host page, Enter an IP Address, computer name or fully qualified domain name in Address, to
specify a Hyper-V host as the destination for the new VM.
Check Use my Windows user account option, or provide other User name and password. Click Next to continue.
4. On Disk page:
Click Browse… to specify a path to store the converted virtual disks.
Choose the type of virtual hard disk to use for the converted disk as Fixed size or Dynamically expanding.
Choose the format of virtual hard disk to use for the converted disk as VHD or VHDX. Then click Next.
5. On Source page, specify the Address, Username and password to connect to a vCenter server, ESX server, or ESXi server. Click Next.
6. On Virtual Machines page, select the VM you want to convert from the list, and then click Next.
7. On Connection page, select the final state of the source and destination VM as ON or Off.
If the original VM is powered on, have supported versions of Linux installed, and are running the VMware tools, you will need to provide information to connect to the VM, for enabling the VMware tools to be uninstalled. You don’t need to provide it if you uninstalled VMware tools previously.
Click Next to continue.
8. On Workspace page, click Browse… to specify a folder for storing temporary files in the conversion process. And click Next.
9. On Summary page, review all the configuration information you specified, and then you can click Finish to start conversion.
10. You can see the progress on Completion page. Click Close when it’s done, and remember to reconfigure the new VM on Hyper-V.
Convert exported VMware VMDK to Hyper-V VHDX using PowerShell
1. Export target VM on VMware ESXi or Workstation to OVF template. Generally it will result in 3 files, the manifest file ends with .mf, the OVF file which provides a complete specification of the virtual machine, and the virtual disk file ends with .vmdk. What we need is the exported VMDK file.
2. Launch PowerShell and input the following command to import MVMC module:
Import-Module “filepath\Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter\MvmcCmdlet.psd1”
3. Input the following commands to convert the exported VMDK file into VHDX file:
ConvertTo-MvmcVirtualHardDisk -SourceLiteralPath “filepath\filename.vmdk” -VhdType DynamicHardDisk -VhdFormat vhdx -DestinationLiteralPath “newfilepath\newfilename.vhdx”
4. Now you can check the converted disk in the specified folder, and use it to create a new Hyper-V VM.
Switch between VMware and Hyper-V via system backup and restore
VMware and Hyper-V virtual machines are based on different virtual platforms, but if they both have the same guest OS such as Windows, then the data between them can be migrated to each other. This means that you can create a system image that contains all the data from VM A and restore it to VM B, so as to achieve a Hyper-V to VMware or VMware to Hyper-V conversion.
Here I recommend you a centralized and agent-based backup solution to easily complete the operation - AOMEI Centralized Backupper. It contains File, System, Disk, Partition and SQL Server backup features to suit your needs. By installing Agent package on your virtual machine, you can backup and restore your virtual machine as it is a physical machine.
Not only V2V, you can also achieve V2P or P2V migration in this way. Hit the button below to start a 30-day free trial:
How to convert between Hyper-V and VMware via backup and restore:
1. Install the trial on the central machine, and Install client program to the VMs (with static IP) you want to manage. Then you can launch AOMEI Centralized Backupper, navigate to Computers > Uncontrolled Computers.
Check your Hyper-V and VMware virtual machines from the list, and click Request Control. It will pop up a request window on both of the machines, once you are authorized you can backup whenever you like.
2. Navigate to Tasks > New Task > System Backup. If you want to create a image including all the partitions on the VM, then choose Disk Backup instead.
3. Click + Add Computers to specify the virtual machine and click OK to confirm. If you want to convert Hyper-V to VMware, then you should select the Hyper-V VM as the source.
4. Click Step 2 to specify a Share or NAS device to store the system backup, and then click Start Backup.
5. The created task will be listed separately in Tasks. Click Advanced > Restore on the right top of the task.
6. Specify the system backup as the restore source, and select Restore this system backup option, check Restore system to other location option below, and click Next.
7. Select to restore to another computer option and specify the destination virtual machine and its system disk. Click Next to continue.
8. Review the summary page, it's recommended to check Universal Restore to resolve the boot problems caused by different hardware. Then click Start Restore to complete the V2V migration.
Data Insurance: Always backup VMs before risky operations
Converting VM is a risky operation, many unexpected problems can occur during the process. A failed conversion can even render your original VM unusable, and result in serious data and financial loss.
So keep taking regular backups is crucial, especially for enterprises. Here I recommend you AOMEI Cyber Backup, a free enterprise backup software that can manage VMware and Hyper-V VMs on one platform.
✦ Fully Compatible with Hyper-V and VMware: support Hyper-V in Windows 8/8.1/10/11, Windows Server/Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 and later versions, and VMware 6.0 and later versions.
✦ Agentless Backup: Protect virtual machines in a central console without installing Agent.
✦ Auto Backup: creating flexible schedule to run automatic backup daily, weekly, monthly.
✦ Restore from Any Point: Restore entire VM from any backed up point quickly and easily.
✦ Perpetual Free: no time limit for AOMEI Cyber Backup Free Edition.
AOMEI Cyber Backup simplifies a complete backup task into 3 simple steps, and next I will demonstrate how to create one. Please click the button below to download and enjoy the free edition:
*You can choose to install this VM backup software on either Windows or Linux system.
3 quick steps to protect multiple VMs for free
1. Bind devices: Access to AOMEI Cyber Backup web client and navigate to Source Devices tab to add and bind your Hyper-V or VMware ESXi host, the VMs on the host will be clearly listed with their backup status for monitoring.
2. Create backup tasks: Navigate to Backup Task > + Create New Task and provide Task Name, Backup Type, Device, Target, Schedule, and Backup Cleanup on an intuitive page.
You can quickly create a complete backup task that cover multiple VMs within one task. In addition, a task with Backup Schedule will automatically perform backups regularly (daily, weekly, monthly).
3. Restore from backup: clicking … > Restore on the separately listed backup task, all recovery points related to the task will be listed, you can select from them according to your needs.
✎If you want more advanced functionality, you can also upgrade to enjoy:
Backup cleanup: Set up a retention policy to delete old backup files automatically, thus save your storage space.
Restore to new location: Create an identical VM in the same or another datastore/host directly from the backup.
With AOMEI Cyber Backup you can quickly complete backup and restore tasks of multiple VMs. In addition, you can create sub-accounts with limited privileges, to further protect your VMs from accidental mis-operations.
In this article I introduced how to use the official free tool VMware vCenter Converter Standalone to convert Hyper-V VM to VMware, how to use Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter (MVMC) to convert VMware ESXi VM to Hyper-V, and how to use PowerShell to import MVMC module to covert VMDK file to VHD file. The last way can be used for VMware Workstation VMs.
However, unfortunately, the MVMC was already deprecated by Microsoft. Therefore, if you don’t have MVMC, you can choose Microsoft’s new paid tool System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) or other third-party tools to help you convert VMware VMs to Hyper-V.
Conversion is still a risky operation. To avoid disastrous data loss, please remember to back up your VMs with reliable backup tools. Here I recommend you AOMEI Cyber Backup because it can manage VMs on both VMware and Hyper-V for free.