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I am playing around with VMWare and came across this scenario.

I created a VMWare in VMPlayer, then decided I wanted to go the VMWare Server route instead (I know it's deprecated, but it's free!). When I installed server and started it up, I tried to add my VM to the inventory. VMWare Server complained that the VM file was corrupt or newer than it (the Player is from the new suite of tools). So I decided to add a new VM, but when it came time to select the Virtual HD, I noticed the option "use an existing Virtual Disk", so I selected the unimportable VM's disk and things worked great.

I'm a little scared that there is some funkiness because the VM was created in a newer edition of player, but is hosted by VMWare Server. I decided to delete the un-importable folder (after seeing that the new VM had its own VM Drive file) and when I went to start the new VM, it complained about a missing file. So I took the deleted file out of the trash and put it back and everything works great.

Are these 2 VM's actually sharing a virtual drive? I added a file in one of the VM's, but not the other, and didn't see it, but I didn't power cycle the VM's. What is the "Use an existing Virtual Disk" for?

Also, I copied the new VM folder (in the windows explorer browser) and was able to import it to VMWare Server and it asked if I had copied the VM, as expected, and everything worked great. This also did NOT appear to share a Drive with the other VM's.

I am looking for some clarification on shared virtual drives.

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Sharing non-OS disks between same OS type VMs will work from a VMware standpoint, as you've seen. Where you may run into issues in permissions and file ownership in the OS. You want to ensure that you only have a VMDK ever registered with one powered on VM at a time. If you need more functionality on a shared disk, an NFS share would be a better solution.

Also, when you are looking to migrate a VM between different VMware products, a practice I would recommend is using the VMware Converter product. You set the source files and destination target and type and it does the rest.

Automate and simplify physical to virtual machine conversions as well as conversions between virtual machine formats with VMware vCenter Converter. Use the intuitive wizard-driven interface of VMware vCenter Converter to convert your physical machines to virtual machines.

Please also see this link on VMware VMDKs and using existing virtual disks as you have: Use an Existing Virtual Disk

Hope this helps!

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