vMotion VM between vSphere clusters


vMotion VM between vSphere clusters

Few days ago I had discussion with one of my colleagues about possibility to migrate VM’s between vSphere clusters. I was trying to persuade him that is possible and I did that operation hundreds times, unfortunately unsuccessfully. I decided to write blog article to resolve all doubts.

vMotion VM between vSphere clusters – vSphere 4.X and vSphere 5.X

Yes, you can migrate VM’s between vSphere clusters (even between different versions) as long as below conditions are met:

  1. vSphere clusters must be managed by single vCenter server
  2. vSphere clusters must be within single DataCenter object in vCenter server
  3. Pre vSphere 5.1 – clusters must have an access to the same datastore.
  4. vMotion network is stretched between clusters.
  5. Processors must be from the same vendor (Inter or AMD) and family (model) on both clusters or both clusters have common EVC baseline applied.
  6. Virtual Machine hardware version is supported by hypervisor – very useful during migration to new hardware or new version of vSphere platform.
  7. If you have vDS implemented, make sure dvportgroup is span across both clusters[/box]
Use case #1 – vMotion between two vSphere 4.1 clusters
  • Both CL01 and CL02 clusters are managed by single instance if vCenter server and under single DataCenter object in vCenter
  • All ESXi hosts from CL01 and CL02 clusters are connected to single datastore
  • Validation of Ubuntu01 VM vMotion between clusters CL02 and CL01 succeeded.

  • vMotion completed successfully

  • After vMotion Ubuntu01 VM running on CL01 cluster.
As you can see, based on above use case it is possible to vMotion VM’s between clusters without any problems.
Use case #2 – vMotion between vSphere 4.1 and vSphere 5.1 clusters

Use case used for migration to new hardware or software version (e.g from vSphere 4.1 to vSphere 5.1)

  • vCenter VC01 has two clusters CL01 – vSPhere 5.1 and CL02 – vSphere 4.1

  • Cluster CL02 has two VM’s

  • vMotion two VM’s from CL02 to CL01, validation succeeded

  • vMotion successful

  •  both VM’s were vMotion’ed on CL01 – vSphere 5.1 – without outage

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Artur Krzywdzinski

Artur is Consulting Architect at Nutanix. He has been using, designing and deploying VMware based solutions since 2005 and Microsoft since 2012. He specialize in designing and implementing private and hybrid cloud solution based on VMware and Microsoft software stacks, datacenter migrations and transformation, disaster avoidance. Artur holds VMware Certified Design Expert certification (VCDX #077).

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VTech Zeal

This is real good article!!

punit dambiwal

Good article thanks buddy 🙂

Faisal Ghulam

Good Article ,have you used Rvtools in those Pics.

Frank Denneman


Great article! You forgot to mention the restriction we have on migrating a virtual machine when connected to a distributed switch.

If the virtual machine is connected to a distributed portgroup, that dvPortgroup needs to exist on the destination cluster as well. In other words, the dvswitch has to span both clusters.

Ong kok Chong

Hi community member,

Good evening to you. May i know how many live migration instance can be execute when migrate VM from one VM cluster A to VM cluster B?

Many thanks for your advise in advanced.

Ong Kok Chong


hello! thanks for your sharing. I have already done this according to your essey. Howerver, what if i have nexus 1000v installed in the clusters? I am now doing a cluster upgrade from 5.0 to 5.1,including esxi and vcenter,and there are still many application working on the cluster that can’t stop. Do you have any good ideas? what i am supposed to do is first upgrade the vcenter to 5.1. And then move all the vms on one node to the others so that the node can be in a maintanence mode. after that i reinstall that node with esxi… Read more »

Fred Chaunier

Hi. An other VERY important thing to check before doing the vMotion: the ESXi 5.1 datastores needs to have the same exact multipathing setup than on the ESXi 4.1. If for example the datastores on ESXi 4.1 are configured with Fixed Path, and the 5.1 are configured with Round Robin, the VM will crash and won’t boot normally anymore.


Just want to keep updated…For migrating a VM between different Clusters only below conditions can be satisified…Rest of the procedures are very simple.
1. Both cluster should possess same CPU like Intel or AMD
2. Both cluster should possess same VLAN..
If above two are satisfied then you have to do a little tweak and you will be good to go migrating the VM’s between clusters “Online”

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x

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