I thought I would share with you a simple way to copy a VM from your ESXi servers to your desktop. In my case, my local NAS (qnap) device had a diskfailure, so it is rebuilding its disks for the next 2 days, which slows down IO for my VMs (mainly for my work VM), so I temporary wanted to copy the VM to my local PC and run it in workstation.

Using the build-in download option in the vsphere client sucks. It was super slow. I tried using sftp, again slow (bit faster then vsphere client). My first tought was to google “enable ftp server on esxi”, which I did, and did find ways to get an ftp server installed on my ESXi boxes, but while I opened the ESXi firewall, it still had problems opening a data connection. So after 15 minutes fussing with that I quit that road.

In the forums about FTP on ESXi I came across posts to use Veeam FastSCP, so let’s give that a try. Turns out that the software does not exists anymore and is integrated in a 500mb install of Veeam Backup. I have fast internet, so sure I can download then, but then during the install.. “do you want to install local sql server or use existing??” Hello, I am just trying to copy a single VM, I do not want to screw up my local machine with all that stuff, so cancelled that as well.

Mmm.. what else to do… went googling again and then stumbled on a Freeware bit of software called FreeNFS (http://freenfs.sourceforge.net/) It seems very recent as the note from the developer is from August 14th 2012. It is the most simplest plain NFS server software for windows. its a single executable, click on it, and it runs. done 🙂

So now it was easy. As my local machine suddenly was an NFS server, I add the NFS datastore to my servers and just used a clone VM operation, to thin disk, to my local datastore 🙂

Thank you Lawrence for making this great Free NFS software! Works great with ESXi (version 5).

FreeNFS – http://freenfs.sourceforge.net/