Preparing for SAN Transfers

You can deploy Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) in an environment that has a Fibre Channel or an iSCSI storage area network (SAN); however, your SAN system must meet certain configuration requirements.

You can perform the following VMM operations by using SAN transfers:

  • Store a virtual machine from a virtual machine host to a library
  • Deploy virtual machines from a VMM library server to a host
  • Migrate a virtual machine from one host to another host

When performing a SAN transfer, the logical unit number (LUN) containing the virtual machine is remapped from the source computer to the destination computer instead of transferring the files over the network. Therefore, a SAN transfer is much faster than a standard network transfer and is independent of the size of the files being transferred.

For more information about deploying VMM in an environment that has a SAN, see the Virtual Machine Manager Planning and Deployment Guide (

Enabling SAN Transfers

To prepare your system to enable SAN transfers of virtual machines, you must do the following:

  • Install Virtual Disk Service (VDS) 1.1 on the VMM server and on all computers that will serve as either a source or a destination location for virtual machine transfers. VDS 1.1 is a Windows component in Windows Server 2003 R2 SP1 that you can install by using Add or Remove Programs. By default, VDS 1.1 is installed if you install either of the following:

    • Storage Manager for SANs, a component in Windows Server 2003 R2
    • Windows Server 2003 SP2
  • If you are using an iSCSI SAN, you must install the Microsoft iSCSI Software Initiator 2.02 on all computers that will serve as a source or a destination location for your virtual machine transfers. You can download this software and a user's guide with installation instructions from the Microsoft Download Center (

  • Install a hardware provider on the VMM server. You can obtain a VDS hardware provider and installation instructions from your SAN vendor. For more information about installing a VDS hardware provider, refer to the vendor's documentation.


    VDS 1.0 and VDS 1.1 hardware providers are supported.

  • Configure a hard disk for each virtual machine you will deploy over the SAN.

  • Configure the SAN computers.

    • For a Fibre Channel SAN, make sure that both hosts have access to the LUN. This can be done by creating the appropriate zones. For example, if you have storage array A and two hosts H1 and H2, you can create Zone1, which has host H1 and array A and Zone2, which has host H2 and array A. This will ensure that both host H1 and host H2 can see the LUN.
    • For an iSCSI SAN, ensure that both host H1 and host H2 are able to see the iSCSI target that contains the iSCSI LUN.

To install Virtual Disk Service 1.1

  1. In Control Panel, open Add or Remove Programs.

  2. Click Add/Remove Windows Components, and then double-click Management and Monitoring Tools.

  3. Select the Storage Manager for SANs check box, if not already selected, and then click OK.

  4. Click Next and follow the instructions to install VDS 1.1.

  5. Restart the computer.


    Repeat this procedure for all computers that will serve as either a source or a destination location for your virtual machines.

To configure the hard disk

  1. Configure the logical unit number (LUN) as a basic disk. A SAN transfer will not work with volumes that are mapped to dynamic disks.

  2. Create a single volume on the basic disk. LUNs that contain multiple volumes cannot be migrated using the SAN transfer capability.

  3. Format the volume with the NTFS file system. Ensure that the selected destination path is on a file system that is also formatted with NTFS.


    When you migrate a virtual machine by using a SAN transfer, ensure that the selected destination path is on a NTFS file system.

  4. Place a single virtual machine and all its associated files on this volume. Store only one virtual machine on this volume because all files are relocated during a SAN transfer.


    There should be one-to-one mapping of a LUN to a virtual machine. If there is more than one virtual machine on a LUN, you cannot perform SAN transfers.

See Also


Configuring Virtual Machine Manager
How to Migrate a Virtual Machine to a Different Host
How to Store a Virtual Machine in the Library

Other Resources

How to Deploy a Virtual Machine