Top Tips for Moving Data to vSAN! (Part 2) – vMotion Options

This is a continuation of a series on top tips for migrating workloads to VMware vSAN™. Several different tools and methods can be used to migrate a workload. It’s important to understand the different options and benefits of each approach. This blog focuses on some of the different ways to use vMotion to speed up a migration to vSAN.


For existing workloads running on a VMware cluster, this is generally the most straightforward and most popular migration tool to move to vSAN. When you select the virtual machines to migrate you will be prompted with several different options and it is important to understand the requirements for each vMotion type. vMotion, unlike some other migration types, promises zero disruption migration between different hosts, storage platforms, and clusters running vSphere.

vMotion to migrate workloads to vSAN

Two-Step Migrations

Change compute resource only
This option is useful as part of a two-step migration in cases where the non-vSAN storage can be presented to the existing vSAN cluster. This can also be used when VMware vSAN HCI Mesh™, is in use to share a vSAN Datastore to a remote cluster mounting the vSAN datastore.

Change storage only
This option comes is as the second part of a two-step migration where the non-vSAN storage can be presented to the existing vSAN cluster. This can also be used when VMware vSAN HCI Mesh is used to present vSAN to a remote cluster.

Single Step Migrations

Change both compute resource and storage
This combines both the storage and compute migration steps into a single step. While there is additional overhead involved in this process, this is powerful in cases where it is not easily feasible to extend storage between the two clusters you are migrating. Personally, I prefer this option in cases where the duration or overhead is not a concern, the storage is not easily extended, and the ability to “fire and forget” the bulk migration can be done without the desire to require additional labor to come back and complete the process.

Cross vCenter Server export
Previously this feature was offered as a PowerCLI offering or a fling. This is now supported within the UI. This option allows for the migration between different non-linked vCenters on completely different SSO domains. Read this blog for more information about this feature.

How to Perform Bulk vMotion Migrations to VMware vSAN.

A bulk migration can be completed by selecting the cluster or resource group —> VMs —> Virtual Machines.

From this view, you can use shift to select multiple virtual machines together.

Do note that you will want to sort by “State” as all virtual machines being migrated as a group must be powered on or off.

Before vMotion migrations of workloads was often a time and labor-intensive process that came with risk and downtime. VMware vMotion remains the industry standard for making migrations to HCI safe, secure, and easy. I would encourage everyone to update to the newest version of vSphere to enjoy the best vMotion experience. over the last two decades, the feature has been consistently expanded and improved in capability.

Do you have additional questions on migrating to VMware vSAN? Reach out to me on Twitter @Lost_Signal.

More vMotion Information

vMotion Deep Dive Series
Migration with vMotion
Cross SSO vMotion Updates
vMotion Performance Study