Using Storage vMotion, you can migrate a virtual machine and its disk files from one datastore to another while the virtual machine is running.

You can choose to place the virtual machine and all its disks in a single location, or select separate locations for the virtual machine configuration file and each virtual disk. The virtual machine does not change execution host during a migration with Storage vMotion.

During a migration with Storage vMotion, you can transform virtual disks from thick-provisioned to thin-provisioned or from thin-provisioned to thick-provisioned.

Storage vMotion has a number of uses in administering virtual infrastructure, including the following examples of use:

Upgrading datastores without virtual machine downtime. You can migrate running virtual machines from a VMFS2 datastore to a VMFS3 datastore, and upgrade the VMFS2 datastore using a two step process. You can then use Storage vMotion to migrate virtual machines back to the original datastore without any virtual machine downtime. For information on upgrading VmFS2 to VmFS5, see the vSphere Storage documentation.

Storage maintenance and reconfiguration. You can use Storage vMotion to move virtual machines off of a storage device to allow maintenance or reconfiguration of the storage device without virtual machine downtime.

Redistributing storage load. You can use Storage vMotion to manually redistribute virtual machines or virtual disks to different storage volumes to balance capacity or improve performance.