How Do I Restore a VM to VMware vSphere Using a VMDK-Linked Image Export?



How do I restore a VM to VMware vSphere using a VMDK-linked image export With VMWare Converter?


  • Datto ALTO
  • Datto SIRIS


Many Datto appliances no longer use VMX files. If your appliance does not generate a VMX file, see the NOTES section of Step 11 for a workaround.

To export a disk image for use on VMware ESXi host:
1. Connect to the Datto appliance, and log into the device UI.
2. Click the Restore tab.
3. Choose the agent for which you want to perform the restore and click Export Image.
4. Choose the recovery point that you want to use, then click Start Image Export. The page will reload with new options.

Figure 1: Start Image Export

5. Choose the Destination type. In this example, the device is sending the restore to a Network Share destination.

6. Select VMDK-Linked as the Format type.

7. Click Export. The Datto appliance will create a clone of the point you selected and share it on the local network.

Figure 2: Export Image

8. The GUI will refresh with new options. Copy the Samba VMDK share path to your clipboard.

Figure 3: CIFS/Samba VMDK Share path

9. Launch VMware Converter standalone. Click Convert Machine.

10. Select Powered off, followed by VMware Workstation or other VMware virtual machine as the Source Type, and click Browse.

Figure 4: Source System wizard

11. Paste the path of the Samba VMDK share into the File Explorer window and click Open. Windows will redirect you to the network folder shared out by the Datto appliance.


  • You can click View Source Details to force VMWare Converter to check the VMX file and return the information registered to the VMX export.
  • If you need a thin provisioned export, and there is no VMX file available in the export, you can create a new VMX template on your hypervisor and attach the .datto files in the path to the export as disks. You can then select Thin Provisioning in Step 17.

12. Click Next. Set the Destination Type to VMware Infrastructure Virtual Machine.

13. Enter your server address and server credentials in the VMware Infrastructure server details field. Click Next.

Figure 5: Destination System 

14. In the Name field, enter the VM name that you want to assign to the export and click Next.
15. Choose the datastore in which to house the information.
16. Select the virtual machine version. It is reliant on the version of ESXi that you are converting into. This example uses Version 9. Note that Version 10 is incompatible with the vSphere desktop client.
17. Click Next. Edit the Data to copy field to switch between thick and thin provisioning, as needed. Selecting Thin provisioning will cause a longer transfer time, but it can save space on your datastore.

Figure 6: Transfer settings wizard

18. Click Next, and then Finish. The transfer job will start running on your host.

19. When the transfer completes, access your vSphere environment. Make sure that the machine's settings match the needs of your environment. Make any adjustments needed.

21. Boot the virtual machine. Make sure that it boots to the Windows login screen.

22. After confirming that the virtual machine functions as expected, return to the Export Image screen in your Datto appliance's GUI, and click Unmount to remove the shared clone.

Figure 7: Unmount image

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