Migration is the process of moving a virtual machine from one host or storage location to another. Copying a virtual machine creates a new virtual machine. It is not a form of migration.

In vCenter Server, you have the following migration options:

Cold Migration

Moving a powered-off virtual machine to a new host. Optionally, you can relocate configuration and disk files to new storage locations. You can use cold migration to move virtual machines from one datacenter to another.

Migrating a Suspended Virtual Machine

Moving a suspended virtual machine to a new host. Optionally, you can relocate configuration and disk files to new storage location. You can migrate suspended virtual machines from one datacenter to another.

Migration with vMotion

Moving a powered-on virtual machine to a new host. Migration with vMotion allows you to move a virtual machine to a new host without any interruption in the availability of the virtual machine. You cannot use vMotion to move virtual machines from one datacenter to another. Some configurations include Metro vMotion, a feature that enables reliable migrations between hosts separated by high network round-trip latency times. Metro vMotion is automatically enabled when the appropriate license is installed. No user configuration is necessary.

Migration with Storage vMotion

Moving the virtual disks or configuration file of a powered-on virtual machine to a new datastore. Migration with Storage vMotion allows you to move a virtual machine’s storage without any interruption in the availability of the virtual machine.

Both migration of a suspended virtual machine and migration with vMotion are sometimes referred to as “hot migration”, because they allow migration of a virtual machine without powering it off. Migration with vMotion is sometimes referred to as "live migration".

You can move virtual machines manually or set up a scheduled task to perform the cold migration.

Cloning a virtual machine or copying its disks and configuration file creates a new virtual machine. Cloning is not a form of migration.