New series – Things you should know (TYSK) – Today Cross-Host vMotion

From time to time I learn something new about features in vSphere and other products I thought I was familiar with, so I decided to create a series of blog posts under the topic “Things you should know” or in short TYSK. This series of “short” posts will be focused on topics/features etc. everybody is using in his daily business/job but forgets over time some of the details.
Couple of days ago I had an discussion with a colleague about Cross-host vMotion and in which license it is included.
First let’s start with the basics! What is Cross-host vMotion? Cross-host vMotion was introduced in vSphere 5.1 and is the ability to change both host and datastore at the same time during a migration. It’s only available through the vSphere Web Client, where you can change both host and datastore of a running VM.

Testing procedure

For testing purpose I installed  a small environment with 2 nested ESXi hosts and created a cluster in my main vCenter. I created a VM within the nested environment to test Cross-host vMotion (Shared-nothing vMotion, vMotion without shared storage or however you will call it).
The following shows the requirements for Cross-Host vMotion (for more information click here):

  • The hosts must be licensed for vMotion.
  • The hosts must be running ESXi 5.1 or later.
  • The hosts must meet the networking requirement for vMotion.
  • The virtual machines must be properly configured for vMotion.
  • The destination host must have access to the destination storage.

As you can see a license where vMotion is enable can be used for Cross-Host vMotion which means anything from Essentials Plus to Enterprise Plus can be used. To test it I installed a RoBo version of an Essentials Plus license on my nested Hosts and rebooted it to make sure that the license is correctly loaded.
After that I migrated the Test-VM from one host (Storage Local01) to the other host (Storage Local02).
As you can see in the screenshot Storage vMotion is not licensed.
In my nested environment it took some time because the VM had approx. 40GB. When Cross-Host vMotion was finished you can see that the host and datastore were changed.
I thought that this can also be used to migrate the VM from one datastore to another datastore without changing the host, but after I completed the migration steps I got this message:


When you will use Cross-Host vMotion, the only licensed feature you will need is vMotion which is included in Essentials Plus and higher.

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