How to Move ESXi Host and VM to Another vSphere Cluster

Have you thought about moving ESXi host to another cluster when the cluster resource is running out? This article will provide you with specific steps to do so.


By Crystal / Updated on March 8, 2023

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Move ESXi host from one cluster to another cluster

You may want to move your VMware ESXi host to from cluster to another cluster when the resource pool of a cluster in vSphere is insufficient. When a ESXi host is moved from a cluster to another destination in the vSphere inventory, the resources which the host provides are deducted from the total cluster resources.

In VMware, moving ESXi host to another cluster is feasible, and you should note that:

  • Make sure there is no virtual machine in the VMware ESXi host. Power off all virtual machines that are running on the host, or migrate the virtual machines to a new host by using vMotion.
  • If there are any volumes mapped directly to the host, make sure they are NOT mapped to the target cluster.

VMware move ESXi to another

How to move ESXi host to another cluster

When you move a vSphere ESXi host between vSphere clusters, you can keep virtual machines in the same cluster and migrate them to other hosts, or keep them on the host and remove them from the cluster.

To move ESXi host from one cluster to another cluster:

  1. In the vSphere Client home page, navigate to Home > Hosts and Clusters and select a host.
  2. If the host is part of a cluster, put it in maintenance mode.
  • Right-click the host and select Maintenance Mode > Enter Maintenance Mode.

Tips: Power on the virtual machines that you powered off before you put the host in maintenance mode.

enter maintenance mode

  • (Optional) If the host is part of a DRS cluster, evacuate the powered off or suspended virtual machines to other hosts within the cluster by selecting the check box Move powered-off and suspended virtual machines to other hosts in the cluster.
  • In the confirmation dialog box, click OK. The host enters maintenance mode.
  1. Select the host in the vSphere inventory panel and drag it to the new location within the inventory.
  2. Right-click the host and select Exit Maintenance Mode.

exit maintenance mode

In VMware, moving ESXi host to another cluster is not complicated, but you should note the details as we mentioned before.

Updated: Move a virtual machine to another cluster

Besides moving a host to another cluster, some users may want to migrate a virtual machine from one cluster to another cluster. If the Clusters are managed by the same vCenter server and in the same Datacenter, you could do a "live" or vMotion migration.

Tips: If you are using a Distributed Switch, then the portgroup must span across the clusters. Meanwhile, if you can tick all those boxes (or rule them out as they aren't applicable like DVS) then you can simply vMotion as normal.

1. Right-click the virtual machines and select Migrate.

2. In the Migrate Virtual Machine wizard, select the Change datastore option.

move VM to another cluster

3. Select the virtual disk format and the destination datastore.

4. Review the settings and click Finish.

Before you migrate ESXi host to another cluster, you should to prevent data loss during the process.

If you plan to migrate your ESXi bare metal to another cluster, it’s important to back up VMware ESXi which allows fast and secure recovery especially for enterprise. The backup process is easier and faster than setting up a new computer, and it is also safe for getting rid of infected files.

Reliable and free VMware backup solution for multiple VMs

If you only own 1 or 2 devices, you can clone virtual machines, copy virtual machine disk files and export VM as OVF template to complete ESXi backup. At the same time, to back up VMware ESXi host configuration, you can use ESXi Command line, vSphere CLI or vSphere PowerCLI.

To protect virtual machine data from security threats, I will try a professional and free VMware backup tool – AOMEI Cyber Backup to perform automated backups for multiple virtual machines, and choose to send email notifications if there's an error. It supports various versions including ESXi 6.0-7.0, and it offers automated backup task and instant disaster recovery. You are able to backup your multiple virtual machines with its flexible strategies.

With AOMEI Cyber Backup Free Edition, you can enjoy these features easily.

Perpetual Free: no time limit for AOMEI Cyber Backup Free Edition.
Support Free ESXi: support both paid and free versions of VMware ESXi.
Easy-to-use: backup and restore multiple virtual machines via central console without complicated configuration and reinstallation.
Secure VM Backup: schedule VMware or Hyper-V virtual machine backups and perform hot backup to protect crucial data continuously without human errors.
Instant Disaster Recovery: instantly restore the whole virtual machine to the previous state from any selected history version.
Role-Assignment: allow one administrator to create sub-accounts with limited privilege, effectively reduce administration cost and manual errors.
Email Notification: send email notification when the task is completed or abnormal.

Please hit the button below to download and use AOMEI Cyber Backup for free:

Download FreewareVMware ESXi & Hyper-V
Secure Download

*You can choose to install this VM backup software on either Windows or Linux system.

If you want to protect the security of your virtual machines comprehensively, please refer to the following steps.

1. Add devices: download AOMEI Cyber Backup and click Source Device >> VMware >> + Add VMware Device. Then you can Add vCenter or Standalone ESXi. Then, bind the device to proceed.

add VMware ESXi

2. Create backup task: click Backup Task >> Create New Task. Select the Device Type as VMware ESXi Backup, and configure the task as you need.

★ Enter task name and select virtual machines and destination for backup.

★ Schedule: schedule backup as full / incremental / differential backup and specify time to run the backup.

schedule backup

★ After configuring the backup task, review the information and click Start Backup.

3. Restore: click >> Restore to select restoration content and destination.

You can choose to Restore to original location. It allows you to recover entire VM easily and quickly. It saves time to recreate or configure ESXi virtual machines.

restore VM

✍ While the Free Edition covers most of the VM backup needs, you can also upgrade to enjoy:
Batch VM backup & restore: batch backup and restore large numbers of VMs managed by vCenter Server or on standalone ESXi hosts.
✦ Backup cleanup: Configure retention policy to auto delete the old backup files and save storage space.
✦ Restore to new location: Easily make a clone of a virtual machine in the same or another datastore/host, without reinstalling or configuring a new VM.

restore to new location


This article covers the efficient methods to move VMware ESXi host to another cluster and migrate a VM from one cluster to another cluster in VMware using vMotion. During the operation, you should make a complete backup for VMware ESXi in case of data loss.

Crystal · Editor
Crystal is an editor from AOMEI Technology. She mainly writes articles about virtual machine. She is a positive young lady likes to share articles with peolpe. Off work she loves travelling and cooking which is wonderful for life.