The VMware Standalone converter allows you to install a client onto a machine, be it a physical machine or a virtual machine and convert it to a VMware Virtual Machine format for use with ESX, VCenter, View, Workstation etc. Why may you use this tool? Well in the past I have worked for a service provider, providing packaging services to many customers. Some of these customers would P to V (Convert a Physical machine to a Virtual one) and provide that to us for testing the applications we packaged, to ensure the apps work on a machine which is representative of their base image. Also, I have worked with Tech Support for some major vendors who provide packaging tools, in some cases they request a copy of a machine if they cannot re-create the issue on their end. In these cases, the VMware Standalone Converter, to me, is the easiest method to convert a machine to a virtual format.
It’s very simple to use and is available to any VMware customers HERE
You can either install it on the machine which you would like to convert into a VM or you can install the tool on a machine connected to the same network\domain and ensure you have an account which has administrator access to the machine.
When you first launch the Converter you’ll actually see a list of the types of machines which you can convert into a VMWare format.
Firstly you launch the converter. If you installed the converter on the machine which you wanted to do the capture of, you should select The Local machine radio button and the source type as Powered on machine. Otherwise you can enter in the IP address or Hostname of the machine which you want to capture, as well as entering the user name and password of an account which has admin access to the machine. Also select the OS manufacturer from the drop down. Also you can toggle the options in the drop down menu at the top of the screen.
You can select if the machine is Powered On. You can also select if it’s running on a VMware back-end, if it’s a VMware standalone VM in Workstation for example, A backup image or third-part VM, as well as Hyper-V.
You will see that the tool will begin to deploy the agent. This step is actually doing an ad-hoc deployment of a lightweight agent to the machine you would like to capture.
Next, you can select your destination location. Whether you intend to put the machine into a VCenter setup, if it should be standalone for a certain version of Workstation etc. Depending on the option, you may need credentials for that back-end or share.
For example this screenshot shows the option for creating a VMware Workstation VM.
The next screen is a summary of the machine specs.
While the task is being performed, a progress bar will appear. This may take some time so go get about 50 coffees…
If you click on Customizations you’ll be able to ensure the machine captured gets a unique name and SID to ensure when it’s spun up, it will not conflict with the machine it was captured from.
That’s it, pretty simple to use!!
For a great guide on how to convert VMDK to VHD, read more HERE