Search the VMware Knowledge Base (KB)
View by Article ID

Migrating VMI-enabled virtual machines to platforms that do not support VMI (1013842)

  • 34 Ratings


Eliminating VMI support

VMware has discontinued support for the VMI paravirtualization interface that is used by some Linux operating systems. This article describes guest operating systems that are affected by this change and describes how to transition a VMI-enabled guest to non-VMI operating modes.

Who is affected?

Your virtual machine is affected if you enabled paravirtualization support in VM > Edit settings > Options > Advanced  (vmi.present = "TRUE"  in your .config file), and you are running a 32-bit Linux operating system that has a VMI-enabled kernel in that virtual machine.

Operating systems that support VMI

The following table lists the guest operating systems that support the VMI paravirtualization interface. If you use any of these VMI virtual machines, you should switch to the default kernel for optimal performance. The Affected 32-Bit Kernels column lists the kernels that have VMI support enabled. Subsequent updates to the listed releases are also affected.

Vendor Release Affected 32-Bit Kernels
Canonical Ubuntu 7.04 generic, server
Canonical Ubuntu 7.10 generic, server
Canonical Ubuntu 8.04 generic, server, virtual
Canonical Ubuntu 8.10 generic, server
Canonical Ubuntu 9.04 generic, server
Canonical Ubuntu 9.10 generic, server
Debian Debian default, bigsmp
Fedora Fedora 8, 9, 10, 11 smp, pae
Mandriva 2008 desktop, laptop, server
Mandriva 2009 default, desktop, server
Novell SLES 10 SP2, SLES 10 SP3 vmi, vmipae
Novell SLES 11 vmi

VMI kernels on current VMware product releases

VMware will continue support for VMI-enabled virtual machines for releases earlier than vSphere 5.0, but you should disable VMI to facilitate easier transition to vSphere 5.0 and later. For  more information, see the VMware Communities article Update: Support for guest OS paravirtualization using VMware VMI to be retired from new products in 2010-2011.


VMI kernels on current VMware product releases

VMI-enabled kernels are designed to run on physical hardware or in a virtual machine regardless of whether paravirtualization is enabled in the virtual machine. As a result, it is easy to transition a VMI-enabled operating system running in a virtual machine with VMI enabled to a virtual machine where VMI is disabled or not available.

Transitioning VMI-enabled virtual machines

To successfully perform some virtual machine tasks, you must first disable VMI on VMware products that do not support VMI.
  1. Select the VMI-enabled virtual machine in the vSphere Client inventory and power it off.
  2. Right-click the virtual machine and select Edit Settings.
  3. Click the Options tab and under Advanced, deselect Paravirtualization.
  4. Click OK to save your changes and close the dialog box.
  5. Power on the virtual machine.
The operating system will boot normally but will not use VMI. For operating systems that ship separate VMI kernels, you can optionally uninstall the VMI kernel and install the standard, non-VMI kernel for optimal performance.
The following table shows problems that you might encounter when you run VMI-enabled virtual machines on nonsupported VMware products.
Problem Solution
You cannot power on the virtual machine. Disable VMI and power on the virtual machine.
You cannot restore memory snapshots. When you try to restore a virtual machine to a memory snapshot, the virtual machine enters a suspended state.
  1. Use the vSphere Client to connect to the ESX/ESXi host and power on the virtual machine.
  2. When the vSphere Client offers to discard the suspended state of the virtual machine, select Delete and click OK.

The suspended state of the virtual machine is discarded and you can power on the virtual machine.

You cannot use vMotion to migrate VMI-enabled virtual machines to VMware products that do not support VMI.
Power off the virtual machine and use cold migration.

You cannot migrate suspended VMI-enabled virtual machines to products that do not support VMI.

  1. Right-click the virtual machine in the vSphere Client inventory and power it on, then power it off.
  2. Use cold migration to migrate the virtual machine to an ESX/ESXi host that does not support VMI.

Request a Product Feature

To request a new product feature or to provide feedback on a VMware product, please visit the Request a Product Feature page.


  • 34 Ratings

Did this article help you?
This article resolved my issue.
This article did not resolve my issue.
This article helped but additional information was required to resolve my issue.

What can we do to improve this information? (4000 or fewer characters)

Please enter the Captcha code before clicking Submit.
  • 34 Ratings