The free Cross vCenter Workload Migration Utility allows you to migrate or hot-migrate (vMotion) virtual machines (VMs) from one vCenter to another. The two vCenters do not have to be in Enhanced Linked Mode (ELM). This means you can have different Single Sign-On (SSO) domains in your environment and still be able to migrate VMs between them.

As you know, with ELM, you can see all vCenter servers in one location, and you can manage the whole infrastructure from a single browser window even if your infrastructure has many vCenter servers. If you have separate SSOs in your environment, they are pretty much isolated and do not share anything, so any migration isn't possible unless you use this tool.

You can find the Cross vCenter Workload Migration Utility at the VMware Labs website as a Fling. The tool allows users to migrate VMs in bulk easily from a graphical user interface between vCenter servers using the Cross-vCenter vMotion feature.

In fact, the application gives you the possibility to choose between migrate and clone options. The clone option might be useful for some scenarios as well.

It's a perfect tool for batch vMotion or migration tasks.

System requirements ^

You should make sure you have a few things before starting:

The "bad news" is that you'll need to install Java, but that's the only downside. Other than that, the utility installs via a single command window.

Installation ^

First, download and install Java Runtime Environment 1.8-10. Then download the Cross vCenter Workload Migration Utility .jar file from the VMware Fling site here.

After that, open a cmd window, change the directory to the place where you downloaded the tool, and type this command:

java -jar xvm-2.6.jar
Run the utility from a command line

Run the utility from a command line

Once you see the message that XVMotion app initialized successfully, you can go and launch your browser to this address:


It is a default port, which you can change by specifying an additional flag. Follow the instructions, which you can find on the VMware Flings site.

Register the vCenter servers ^

You can only operate the application from a web browser. Once you have the default web page, click on the Migrate button.

Click the Migrate button to start

Click the Migrate button to start

The window will change. You'll have the possibility to click on Register and provide the details of your vCenter servers. You'll need to register all of your vCenter servers with their credentials.

Repeat this for the second vCenter server and for all other vCenter servers you want to use for your migration tasks.

Register your vCenter servers first

Register your vCenter servers first

You'll end up with as many vCenter servers in the list as you have in your environment. They'll be registered in the system when you do your migrations. If you restart the utility, you'll just need to re-enter passwords and re-establish a connection for previously registered sites. The application stores the migration task state in memory. Restarting the app will lose the tasks.

Migrate VMs ^

You have registered all sites with credentials now. So after this, simply hit the Migrate button to change the view. From the drop-down list, select the source, destination, destination cluster (or individual host), network mapping, and so on—simple and efficient.

When it comes to selecting VMs, you can tick several VMs at once. You don't have to create a new task for each VM individually each time.

Relocate or clone options

Relocate or clone options

Once you've selected all options, just hit the Submit button and watch the progress bar.

Watch the progress

Watch the progress

If you need to access application logs, they're stored in the xvm.log file.

Final words ^

The Cross vCenter Workload Migration Utility is nice to work with; previously these migration tasks were only possible via API calls or PowerCLI, which both weren't very user friendly.

VMware Labs has a variety of different tools that they first test in the lab and proof-of-concept (POC) environments, and then the best ones make it to production.

VMware only integrates the best ideas and utilities into their products. This was already the case for many utilities, for example, the VMware ESXi host client or the VMware HTML 5 web client. Both products still exist as applications, and VMware tests, improves, and updates them with new features and enhancements.

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The Cross vCenter Workload Migration Utility has also a help section online at the tool's webpage where you can have a look in case you have problems or ask for help from the VMware community.

  1. khushnood 2 years ago

    Is this tool supported by VMware?

    • Author

      “Technology Preview Software” shall mean the unreleased, concept version of VMware’s software. I don't think it's supported as such. But the software tool is from VMware itself.

  2. Cody 2 years ago

    I don't believe this tool will let you migrate compute resources only.  It seems to require you to select a target datastore.  I have two vCenters and just want to move the VMs from one to the other, leaving them on the datastore they are on (datastores are shared between hosts in both vCenters, vCenters are not linked at all).  At most, I'd want to select a target network for the move operation.

  3. Author

    As with any operation, you must select target datastore for datacenter migration. I don't know your architecture, but there is no reason to have 2 local vCenters and not to link them with Enhanced Linked Mode (ELM) otherwise. 

  4. Cody 2 years ago

    Ugh, don't get me started.  I have a vCenter running v5.5wtf, and the new vCenter is v.6.7U3d.  The hosts running on the v5.5 vCenter are at maximum capacity (you have no idea).  So I can't upgrade them to v6.x without an outage, which I won't get.  However, I am considering upgrading the v5.5 vCenter to v6.5x.  This may open up more options to me.

    I have found some viable scripts for simply re-registering the vmx files on the new vCenter since the storage is shared (NFSv3wtf).

    I inherited this "architecture".

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