Build a Proxmox VM using a .vmdk

proxmoxVirtual hard drives in VMware have a proprietary format of .vmdk.  This article describes the process for building a Proxmox VM to boot using the VMware .vmdk virtual hard drive.

Build an initial VM

We will start by creating a KVM virtual machine.

  1. Click the Create VM button.
  2. Enter a VM ID (e.g. 301).
  3. Enter a meaningful Hostname (e.g. vmware-01).
  4. Choose a Resource Pool (if applicable).
  5. Choose a family of OS (e.g. Microsoft Windows XP/2003, or Linux etc...).
  6. Do not use any media as a CD/DVD installation disk.
  7. Choose IDE for the Bus/Device.
  8. Select VMware image format (vmdk) as the format.
  9. Leave CPU defaults.
  10. Select Max and Min Memory limits (e.g. 1024, 512).
  11. Choose the correct Bridge for this container to use.
  12. Leave the NIC Model as Intel E1000.
  13. Click Finish.

This will create a VM with an empty hard drive.


Filezilla FTP

Now use your preferred FTP client and browse to your server with the following settings.

  • Host: your_ip_address
  • Protocol: SFTP
  • Logon Type: Normal
  • User: root

Browse to /var/lib/vz/images/301/ or your own storage (e.g. /mnt/vms/301/) and upload your .vmdk file and name it the same as the empty drive you've just created (e.g. vm-301-disk-1.vmdk). Depending on the size of your .vmdk file, this might take a while, however SFTP is generally a reliable protocol and the transfer will hopefully happen without any errors.


Convert to qcow2

Access your Proxmox node, using either SSH or the console from the web interface.

  1. Browse to where your .vmdk file is stored.
  2. Run the following command.
qemu-img convert -f vmdk vm-301-disk-1.vmdk -O qcow2 vm-301-disk-1.qcow2



Using the Proxmox web interface...

  1. Select your newly created VM in the left pane.
  2. Select the Hardware tab.
  3. Click Move disk, with the Hard Disk selected.
  4. Select the same Target Storage (assuming you have enough spare).
  5. Choose QEMU as the Format.
  6. Click Move disk.

If you don't select Delete source, you'll have the original .vmdk file as a backup.


Power up considerations

I recommend that you initially power up your new server, without it connecting to a physical network, so you can see that it is booting up as expected.


Thanks for visiting.