Backupology
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The Ultimate Method of Creating Virtual Machine From VMDK in VMware

Virtualization allows one operating system (OS) to run on another OS. But did you know that a virtual machine (VM) clone on your hard drive can put your entire computer in another computer?

With VM, the possibilities are endless. Still, virtualization lets most people play older games using emulation, sandboxing, multiple operating systems, and more.

What is VMDK file?

VMware Virtual Machine Disk File, in short, VMDK file, is a specification of the Virtual Machine (VM) file format. The VMDK file extension file is essentially a complete and independent virtual machine.

Due to the fact that the VMDK format is paramount to VMware’s virtual environment, all third-party VMware backup, management, and replication tools must be fully interoperable with VMDK-enabled disks.

VMDK was initially developed by VMware but is now an open file format, competing with the Microsoft Virtual Hard Drive (VHD) disk format, which is not directly compatible. For instance, third-party tools, such as the VMDK to VHD converter, exist to assist in the conversion process.

Desktops and traditional non-virtualized servers will load and execute hundreds, even thousands, of individual files, such as operating system kernel files, data files, device drivers, and application components.

The content you save on your virtual machine’s hard disk is kept in a virtual disk file, a .vmdk file. They can rise to 2GB in size and also can keep the data of a virtual machine, and you can form a VM quickly.

Step 1: Create a Virtual Machine

To download a virtual machine, you simply use the Internet. Yet, what you download are .vmdk files that store the VM contents. They often don’t work. Accordingly, creating a VM and importing a .vdmk file is better and safer. Here’s what to do:

  1. First — Launch the Workstation on your computer;
  2. Second — Open the File menu and select New and then Virtual Machine;
  3. Then select Custom as the type of your machine;
  4. Select your hardware congruity preferences and proceed;
  5. On the next screen, select I will install the OS later, and click on Next;
  6. Choose the already installed OS and its regular version;
  7. Select the preferred name and location for the file where the VM will be kept;
  8. Select the amount of processors, cores, amount of memory, and other possessions you want your machine to control. Click on Next to save your preferences;
  9. Click on the network classification that you like for your VM;
  10. Then pick the Use an Existing Virtual Disk option;
  11. Click on Browse and direct to the location where the mentioned .vmdk file is;
  12. Finally, Double-check the settings within Summary and select Finish to complete the VM creation.

Step 2: Import the File

After you complete the process of creating a new virtual machine, it’s time to add the .vmdk file to it and restart the operating system. Follow these 8 stages:

  1. Open the Workstation and the preferred virtual machine;
  2. Power it down and relate on the VM button;
  3. Choose Settings;
  4. Go to Hardware and click on Add;
  5. Select Hard disk and click on Next;
  6. The sixth stage is to choose to use an existing virtual disk and resume;
  7. Click on Browse and locate the .vmdk file;
  8. In the end, select OK, and the file will be imported and connected to the preferred virtual machine.

Mind that if you use a .vmdk file to create a virtual machine, you won’t operate it for an additional virtual machine. Prior to being locked, make sure you copy the file you wish to use again later to create another VM.

Periodically, there won’t be an error in the .vmdk file, and you’ll be capable of recreating it. You must download the VMware Player to do so naturally, though other players may perform with .vdmk files too. To download the player and finalize the installation, you must complete a free account and boot the computer.

When your computer reboots, use the previously described process to import a .vmdk file to your virtual machine.

In essence, a VMDK file extension file is a complete and independent VM utilizing VMware virtualization products that support VMDK files such as QEMU, Sun XVM, or VirtualBox. There are pros and cons to this VMDK “single file” drive.

The main advantages are simplicity and practicality. A single VMDK file, for instance, is easy to move between servers using live migration features in the virtualization platform.

Similarly, a single file can be easily backed up by recordings or continuous data protection (CDP) technology. Virtual machine files are often copied to SAN. Additional resilience practices, such as replicating off-site disaster recovery facilities and RAID within the SAN storage array, can further protect VMs.

Maintaining high-performance SAN VM files, recreating VMDK files, or restarting problematic VMs on other physical servers is a simple process.

The biggest drawback of the VMDK “single file” disk is the extra effort required to recover lost data. It is impossible to recover only a portion of the VM, such as a deleted Word document. It can be crucial when the VMDK file is corrupted or corrupted.

The entire VM needs to be restored, usually to a backup server instead of the actual production server, and a missing or corrupted file can be retrieved.

It is much faster and easier, in practice, to restore a VM than to restore a traditional backup. Nonetheless, administrators still have to develop an exemplary process for recovering data from VM files.

Third-party developers and organizations that develop their own VMware environment applications can use the VMware Virtual Disk Development Kit. It includes the C library and command-line tools that allow developers to access and create VMDK files.

It might become problematic when moving from VMware to Hyper-V. Because disk formats are not directly compatible, existing virtual machines cannot operate under a different hypervisor.

Virtual machines on physical servers (V2P) need to be translated to remove the virtualization effectively in many cases. The new hypervisor will then create new VMs using the new disk format.

Sometimes, you will find that you need to access the contents of the VM’s virtual disk. (VMDK), maybe to get the data because of VM that bites the dust. A recent update may prevent you from starting the guest OS, and you do not have any backups to rely on.

Proven ways to extract content from VMDK files

Besides, here are the four ways that you can use to extract content from VMDK files:

  1. Attaching a VMDK to an existing VM — to attach it to another functional VM
  2. Using 7-Zip — it’s freely available for Windows, Linux, and other operating systems
  3. VMware Workstation Player — you can mount VMDK directly as volumes under Windows
  4. Linux Reader — capable of mounting VMDKs right out of the box

Conclusion

Virtualization summarises the software from the underlying hardware and puts all the component data for any virtual machine in a single disk file. The VMDK file format specifies the disk format used with VMware Virtual Machine files.

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