How to P2V linux into VMware ESX Server

There is quite a few resources around when it comes to converting Windows boxes to Virtual machines. Using VMware Converter for your conversion as a tool is pretty straightforward. It’s a free tool from VMware you can Download here. But what to do if you want to convert a Linux machine which does not have GUI (graphical user interface). I’ll try to help. I suppose that you have a Linux server, an workstation under XP and your infrastructure ESX.

The steps you need to do:

01.) Download Vmware Converter for linux here.
02.) Extract the converter package on your linux server: “tar xf VMware-converter-4.0.0-146302.tar.gz”
Start the installation “cd vmware-converter-distrib/ && ./”
You can just accept the majority of the options just make sure that you activate the remote access “Do you want to enable remote access in Converter Standalone Server? yes
Usually a linux server has an Apache installed on port 80, so good think to do is to add aditional port for http proxy : “What port do you want the HTTP proxy to use? [80] 8080 and What port do you want the HTTPS proxy to use? [443] 444
Also you should
go and allow root to login localy “/etc/ssh/sshd_config change the line PermitRootLogin yes
Then you just leave your linux server and go to your Windows XP or Vista Workstation and connect to your linux server remotely via http for example “
08.) Download and install the VMware Converter client.
09.) Start the Converter Client and go to Administration > Connect to another server


10.) In the credentials window just enter the IP address followed by the port number, then the root login and password.


11.) Enter the credentials once more and choose Linux as a OS family.

How-to convert with Linux Server with vCenter Converter

12.) Then Just follow the assistant for the rest of the steps. As a destination you choose the ESX server IP address or hostname. There is nothing difficult with that…

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  1. DannoXYZ says

    Great guide! Is there a way to make VM-images on disk such as Workstation 5/6.x or Fusion machines? Seems like this export option only works for Windows machines, not LINUX.

  2. Darrin Henshaw says

    Nice post. I am doing something similar however, my destination is actually a machine running VMWare Server 2.0. Any help? I can get to the destination portion but I cannot make it any further as it seems to want to work with ESX only. Thanks.

  3. ricbax says

    I wanted to use this on CentOS however …
    This only works for the following Linux distros:
    # Red Hat Enterprise Linux 2.1 (32 bit)
    # Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3.0 (32 bit and 64 bit)
    # Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.0 (32 bit and 64 bit)
    # Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.0 (32 bit and 64 bit)
    # Red Hat Linux Advanced Server 2.1 (32 bit)
    # SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 8
    # SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 (32 bit and 64 bit)
    # SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 (32 bit and 64 bit)
    # Ubuntu 5.x
    # Ubuntu 6.x
    # Ubuntu 7.x (32 bit and 64 bit)

  4. BluesBrian says

    I has a Debian 3.1 LInux box that I want to add to my VMware server.
    It does not have a gui console. “Cafeine” indicates that I don’t need to install VMware on my LInux box, but I get the following errors:
    SourceSelectPluginModel::BuildFilter 3rd party type microsoftVirtualPCVM
    not found; – parallelsVM not found; – vmwareVCBBackup not found; –
    livestateBackup not found; – shadowProtectBackup not found; –
    acronisBackup not found; – vmwareVM not found
    THX. // Brian

  5. okuyucu says

    i have a problem in passing the last step in your tutorial where after giving remote machine related IP, user,pass information, it tries to query the source machine but then times out with the following message:
    “Unable to query the live Linux source machine”

    Is there any port/ssh permit that prevent this client to connect to my server?

  6. Sohail Zubairi says

    I was convert Ubuntu 6.06 physical machine to virtual machine i am using VMWare vcenter converter standalone tool
    between converting virtual machine ask Converter login what is converter login?

    Please help me


    • says

      I guess you need to provide credentials for your Ubuntu box. That’s what I would try. The post is quite old. What you should do is to install latest version of VMware converter standalone (on Windows box) > select source type Powered-On machine > A remote machine > OS Family choose Linux….

      Hope it helps…


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