Informational Guides

What is vMotion ?

VMware has many powerful advanced features to provide your virtual infrastructure High Availability with zero downtime. In this post i will discuss with you about the one of them very cool feature which is “vMotion”. vMotion provides the VMware Admins to manage their virtual machines with high availability & zero downtime with service availability.

vMotion provides the Live Migration of Virtual Machines. so what exactly mean by the Live Migration so let’ see.
vMotion Enables the Live Migration which allows user to migrate or transfer the running live virtual machine from one physical server to another physical server. In this case the physical server is your ESXi Hosts & you create virtual machines on the ESXi hosts. so by using vMotion you can easily migrate your virtual machine from one host to another host.

vMotion lets you migrate virtual machine in live state means the live running virtual machine will be migrated from one host to another host and there will be no downtime, no service interruptions. The Virtual Machine will migrated as it is as it was running on the first host with the same applications running in the background. when the vMotion occurs on the virtual machine users will also be unaware that their live running virtual machine is migrated to another resource. vMotion helps vmware admins to easily manage the load of virtual machines between multiple hosts by migrating virtual machines from one host to another so that you can migrate highest resource hungry virtual machine to the host which is not using the much resources.

Benefits of vMotion :-

  • Balances the load of ESXi Server by migrating virtual machine from one host to another.
  • Zero downtime & Applications running uninterrupted
  • Helps to perform Patching & Maintenance activity on Hosts by migrating virtual machines
  • Cross vCenter vMotion.

vMotion let’s you manually balance the load of your ESXi hosts. If any of your Host is going for maintenance activity for some of reason then you don’t have to worry about the virtual machines uptime with vMotion you can easily migrate that virtual machines to another host to provide the availability to your users. In the case when one of your ESXi host is on high usage you can migrate some of virtual machine to another host to balance the load of the ESXi hosts.

So how the vMotion or Live Migration Works ?

First Step
Virtual Machine is powered on & is in live state the applications are running. VMware Admin initiates the vMotion.

Second Step
Virtual Machine active memory pages & the state from the source host gets copied from source host to the destination host. memory pages are refreshed & changes in the memory occurs in the milliseconds so to keep record of changes ESXi host keeps track of log of changed memory & stores it in memory bitmap. After copying the whole RAM of virtual machine to the destination host virtual machine gets suspended from source host then the memory bitmap file is transferred to the destination host & the destination host resumes the virtual machine. This process is very fast as you can not see all the things going on live.

Third Step
Your virtual machine is migrated successfully now the host sends the RARP Packets to the physical network to register it’s MAC address. Now the VM is successfully operating on the destination host the memory of the vm on the source host is deleted.

vMotion Requirements :-

  1. Shared Storage that should be accessible by both source & destination hosts
  2. VMkernel port with vMotion enabled on source & destination host.
  3. Gigabit Ethernet or Faster Network Interfaces(NIC)
  4. CPU Compatibility or EVC enabled on the cluster.


Checkout Our Posts on vMotion :-

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Graphics credits & thanks to VMware.

Mayur Parmar

Hi I am Mayur Parmar. Independent Author & Founder of Mastering VMware. I am working in IT industry for more than 4 Years with knowledge of VMware , Microsoft Server's, Linux Server's.

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  1. Hi
    I read the artical ,it was great. I have a question regarding Vmotion. Suppose I have two host server , which on two different subnet and every host has own storage. I want to do v motion .

    1. @singh
      First thing is vMotion requires the shared storage that is requirement to use the vMotion.
      Regarding the different subnet you can check VMware KB article 2108823.

    1. Hi Sunil,
      There is no service or specific process, vmotion runs through vcenter server, vcenter checks for the availability of resources on the destination host and initiates the vmotion.

  2. Hello Mayur,
    Hope doing well !!!..

    Appreciate your hard work here and benefit for us .
    Could you please share more details here..?
    Also share me L2 and L3 interview question and answer.
    How we can migrate Vm form one VC to another VC .what are the prerequest as well.

    Thanks & Regards

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