This year at VMworld 2014, I had a chance to to see Netapp show off their conversion technology, dubbed internally at NetApp Project Shift.I have mentioned this before in Migrating Vmware vm’s to Hyper-v V3 but I had to write more about this as I think this will be a killer option for any one on clustered ontap and attempting a migration project.
Project Shift does is convert VMs located on a NetApp controller between formats at amazing speeds.
It can convert between several formats but I was obviously most interested in the VMDK to VHD. For example, this Project Shift can take a 40GB VMDK file and convert it to a VHDx using their cmdlet “ConvertTo-NaVhd” in about 5 seconds.
The trick here is that they don’t have to move the data, it stays on the controller. More than that, they don’t even need to copy the data on the controller. Their cmdlets use NetApp FlexClone technology to create a virtual copy of the VMDK that consists of a minimal amount of metadata (pointers to existing data blocks).
The NetApp cmdlet simply Clone the Data from the VMDK into a VHD/VHDX writing the appropriate metadata as it goes. The resulting file is a VHD or VHDx file that takes up practically no extra space on disk. It’s like magic.
In terms of conversion, the NetApp cmdlet just converts the disk format from VMware to Hyper-V. It doesn’t actually create a new VM. For a complete conversion, you need to collect details about the VM, remove VMware Tools and of course create a Hyper-V VM to which uses that new VHDx file.