Migrate from VMware and Hyper-V seamlessly with NetApp OnCommand SHIFT

By on 05/04/2015.

Many enterprises are now looking to leverage a multi-hypervisor environment for many reasons such as cost, agility, and to avoid dependency on a single vendor. For example with Microsoft Hyper-V being included within Microsoft’s EA (thus effectively free), many shops where they would run VMware vSphere in production are increasingly using Hyper-V for their Test and Dev environments, to save on costs.

Traditionally, migration of workloads between these environments has been a huge PITA, as it’s been difficult and costly to pick up a workload from Hyper-V, and seamlessly migrate it into vSphere, and vice-versa, as you’ve needed to physically copy the full VM from a datastore onto a conversion platform, then write to the new hypervisor location. 2 physical moves of the entire virtual machine’s files. Imagine if this is a multi-terabyte VM….

Can you say unwieldy?

OnCommand Shift makes this pain go away by seamlessly moving your workloads between Hyper-V and vSphere platforms with downtime in the seconds/minutes rather that hours/days.

Let’s look at the details around OnCommand Shift:

  • Evolved from the popular MAT4Shift VM conversion tool
  • Provides a complete end-to-end VM conversion solution without moving data
  • Uses Data ONTAP Powershell Toolkit for bulk VM conversions with a multiple workflow engine
  • Uses NetApp FlexClone technology to create a virtual copy of the VMDK or VHDX file that points to existing data blocks
  • Clones the data from the VMDK into a VHDX or vice versa, writing the appropriate metadata as it goes
  • The resulting VHDX or VMDK takes up practically no extra space on disk

We can visualize the above workflow like this…


In a conversion from Hyper-V to vSphere OnCommand Shift will collect and store all the VM info and back it up via NetApp snapshot prior to conversion, remove Hyper-V tools, and then post-conversion restore the NIC and VLAN settings for you.

From a requirements standpoint, if you’re running NetApp storage, and VMware and Hyper-V, you don’t really need much else, as OnCommand Shift leverages Powershell and .NET tooling included in later versions of Windows server.  As long as you’re running cDOT 8.2 or later, and either VMware ESXi 5 or Microsoft Win2008r2 Hyper-V, you should be away.

OnCommand SHIFT was announced this week as part of Microsoft Ignite, and is due to go GA in the next few weeks, so I am looking forward to seeing it in action with my customers. If you want to get hands-on before that, then the POC labs can be found here, and the beta for the full software can be found here.

Ed Morgan
Ed is a Solutions Architect specialising in FlexPod and Hybrid Cloud for ANS Group in London. A former British Soldier, he has over 10 years experience in the design, implementation, and administration of secure IT systems. He is also a VMware vExpert, Cisco Champion, and member of the NetApp A Team.

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