SHIFT VMs between Hypervisors

computer_key_ShiftAs more and more hypervisors emerge in the market, and more features are added to current hypervisor offerings; businesses may opt to migrate between vendors to save money, add features, consolidate to a single platform, or simply to follow a strategic plan. The migration is costly, complex, time consuming and disruptive as it requires down time of the VMs to be migrated; which is often not an option.

If you use NetApp as your storage vendor, the solution for this problem is now available to you. NetApp has announced the release of OnCommand Shift; a tool that enables the migration between Hyper-V VMs into a VMware environment and vice versa. This conversion is automated and requires minimum intervention from the user, and it takes a fraction of the time that other tools would take otherwise. OnCommand Shift supports VMware ESX/ESXi 5.0 -> 6.0, and Microsoft Hyper-V 2008 R2 -> 2012 R2.

How does OnCommand Shift works?

OnCommand Shift utilizes NetApp’s FlexClone technology which allows for the creation of the target VM within seconds/minutes. This is accomplished by creating a VMDK; for example, from a VHDX file by simply creating pointers to the existing data rather than copying and duplicating such data in the storage array. So, regardless of the size of the VMs, the time necessary to create the new VMs will be minutes or even seconds, rather than hours or days.


OnCommand Shift creates a virtual hard disk file in the format of the destination hypervisor and includes headers, metadata, and writes only the differences in the file format, instead of copying all the data from the source. Shift also collects and stores all VM information, as well as other VM settings, removes any hypervisor proprietary tools, and takes a backup of the VM prior to the conversion. It then proceeds to convert the VMs, say from Hyper-V to VMware, and then it restores all the network interface configuration as well as other settings.



  • NetApp FAS2440 or higher
  • NetApp cDOT 8.2 or later
  • NetApp NFS and CIFS/SMB license for the controllers
  • Server to control the migration process (Physical or Virtual)
    • 2 vCPUs
    • 4GB RAM
    • 250GB storage Minimum (500GB preferred)
  • Data ONTAP PowerShell Toolkit version 3.0.1 or higher
  • PowerCLI 5.1 or higher
  • Microsoft Hyper-V PowerShell cmdlets
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5