Convert VirtualBox (vdi) to VMWare (vmdk)

Recently I decided to switch from VMWare desktop to VirtualBox desktop VM software. I've heard great things about VirtualBox (speed and less-overhead being two very nice features). I did not need to migrate a VM because I wanted a fresh install of Win2008 R2 Enterprise and MSSQL 2008 R2 64-bit. I've been using VirtualBox for a few months now and for the most part it's worked out great, but there were certain things I missed from VMWare desktop. The reasons aren't really that important (I have nothing against VirtualBox and still think it's pretty awesome), but I thought I'd just share how I converted it.

I did a lot of research on the web and found many tutorials and walkthroughs for earlier versions of VirtualBox, but when I went to use those lengthy methods, I found that they weren't possible anymore (at least not the same way). The old way (which is still possible, but with a different utility) also required another program called qemu-img. You actually can still use the old method of converting the VM to raw format and then convert it again to VMWare's vmdk format using Quem-img (each conversion can take a while depending on the size of the VM). However, as of VirtualBox 3.1+ you can now do it all in one command line (and only have to do one conversion).

I'm on a Mac, so the example below is for Mac (using VMWare Fusion). But the same command line should work for Windows (you just need to substitute the paths and point to the vboxmanage.exe file instead of the contents in the app file as seen below). Also, the source and destination paths are custom in this case (I'm currently storing mine on an external storage device).

In the following example I'm calling my virtual machine filename windows.vdi for simplicity (most likely your filename is long and has spaces like mine. Thus I suggest wrapping your file locations in quotes).

view plain print about
1/Applications/ clonehd "/Volumes/Drobo/Virtual Machines/windows.vdi" "/Volumes/Drobo/Virtual Machines/windows.vmdk" -format VMDK -variant standard -type normal -remember

Note: It is VERY important to have the full paths to the source and destination files otherwise you'll get an ambiguous error message as I found out the hard way (with some google searching I was able to figure it out though). I believe this effects Windows users as well (not positive on that).

I wish I could give credit to the forum post that I dug most of this up in (I believe it was somewhere in the VirtualBox forums). Sorry to whomever I'm not giving proper credit.

After the conversion is complete, open VMWare and create a new virtual machine. Choose the option to open an existing VM.

I converted the VM with VirtualBox v3.2.8 and then opened the new file in VMWare Fusion 3.1.1. VMWare said the vmdk file was an older format and needed to be updated (I agreed of course). A few seconds later the VM opened successfully. As expected, new drivers were auto-detected and added (I believe I had to reboot the VM OS twice) and then I installed the latest VMWare Tools (followed by another reboot - all expected).

In all the process took about 30-40 minutes on a 50GB VM (about 10 minutes was the auto-update for drivers and the VMWare Tools install and reboot).

Online Backup Solutions. Which One Should I Choose?

I've been researching new backup solutions for both online and offline backups of my development computers. I don't just want to backup a few files, I need disaster recovery (if my machine completely fails, I want to be able to replace the HDD (or computer) and be able to restore it back to the way it was in a few clicks).

For years I've been backing up my PCs using Acronis True Image Home to my local NAS drives. This works great for local backups, but I moved to a Mac last year and haven't found a backup software I really like yet that does compression as well as Acronis (currently PC-only) and offers something close to a GFS backup solution.

But this blog post is to discuss online backup solutions. While I continue to try different offline backup solutions to backup my data to my NAS drives, I really need an offline backup solution for redundancy.

Here are a list of some solutions I've been researching. I'd be grateful to hear people's thoughts on the products or to hear what other people are using that they might suggest to consider. I need something that can backup my Macs (most important), but if there is a product that can backup my PCs as well, it would be preferred:

  • Jungle Disk: Offline storage powered by Amazon S3. Very affordable at only 15 cents per gigabyte per month (and you only pay for what you use).
  • CrashPlan: A really cool product that allows you to use either their online storage facilities, or backup to your own servers (online and offline). You can even do redundant backups (backup to multiple devices, both your own devices and their online backup facilities). I really like this option, except it doesn't (yet) have an option to just backup to offline HDDs (like my NAS) without involving another OS (I say "yet" because their site lists that they are working on that option and may be offering it soon). Check out their video for a pretty cool demonstration.
  • Mozy: An online-only backup solution. This one has been around for a while. It still doesn't appear to officially support Mac OS 10.5 yet (like CrashPlan), but I've had friends say they're using it without a problem. I believe it deletes your data after 30 days.
  • Carbonite: An offline backup solution. This is a very enticing solution... only $49.95 per year with no file storage capacity storage limitation. What's that you say? You heard me correct. The downside is that its Windows-only (and I need a solution for the Mac). Still, it was worthy to list here. I believe it deletes your data after 30 days.
  • iDrive: Looks like a pretty cool online backup solution, but their pricing os too high for the amount of data I need to backup and it's Windows-only.
  • Drobo and DroboShare: Okay, I know... this product doesn't belong on this list of online backup solutions, but it was too cool not to talk about anyway :). The two devices together act like a NAS (using new technology that may replace standard RAID as we know it (my personal opinion)), but limitations like USB2 between the devices, no redundant gigabit connections, etc. are holding me back. Its been out for a while, so hopefully they will have a new version out soon with many of the missing features people have been asking for.

If you Google "online backup solutions" you'll get a long list of products out there (only a few of which I've looked into). So, what do you use or suggest?

Google Announces Video Sitemaps

On the Official Google Webmaster Central Blog, Google announced a new feature called Video Sitemaps.

Video Sitemaps-an extension of the Sitemap Protocol that helps make your videos more searchable via Google Video Search

I played with it for a couple minutes and it looks pretty cool (I sense maybe a few more features for it coming... we'll see :) ).

As the blog states: To get started, create a Video Sitemap, sign into Google Webmaster Tools, and add the Video Sitemap to your account.

Travel Tips: Ways to Save Money and Headaches

I travel usually 5-8 times a year. No, it's not as many as a lot of people I know, however nine times out of ten I have to pay out of my own pocket. So here are a few tips to save you money and a few headaches and still use the same resources you know and love.

Book Trips Online

First, as many of you probably know, consider using online flight and hotel purchasing. Because I go to a lot of conferences my hotels are usually taken care of, but what about flights? In the past I used to search on all the big-name sites like travelocity, CheapTickets, Expedia, Orbitz, etc. Unfortunately searching all of those sites for the best fare, flight times, seating, etc. can take so many hours (non-billable hours) that you could have just bought the tickets at MSRP and saved money.

What if I told you there was a way to search all of those sites (and more) in a single search? Don't believe me, check out I've been using it for almost two years now. It searches over 120+ providers. I really like their search results. Plus they let you pin (or save) a certain search result to compare to other saved results (as long as the session allows).

The next thing I do is seating. We all know that where you sit on a plane is a gamble with regards to a pleasant ride. Will I have room under the seat in front me to store my carry-on or laptop? Will I be too close to a high-traffic area?

Maybe you think you know a good place to sit on say a 777 because you've had a good experience in the past. But did you know there are many models/versions of a 777 and that each model can have drastic changes with regards to layout and seating experience? Not a problem. Check out; another Web2.0 site that gives you detailed information about the seating layout on a plane. Just hover over the seat(s) you are interested in and it will give you decent information. Maybe a seat you were looking to sit in only tilts back a few degrees (or not at all). Perhaps the television screen that plays from the ceiling cannot be seen very well from a particular row. This site covers it all in an easy-to-use interface and is free to use.

Watch Out for Those Pesky Underscores

Earlier this summer I had service done on my house (new home, lots of warranty things all spring and summer). I don't remember which company it was (could have been the sprinkler company), but when I got the bill from them I placed it on the kitchen counter and forgot about it the rest of the day.

When my partner got home and saw it she couldn't stop laughing. I looked at the client info (me) and saw what she was laughing about.

Apparently when I gave the woman over the phone my personal info, I had given her one of my generic email addresses that has an underscore in it.

Yup, you guessed it. She actually wrote out the word underscore in my email address.

Are there awards for people like this? :) Launches v3.0 of It's New Site Design

If you haven't checked it out yet, go on over to and see their new facelift (launched today). Even the new Netscape Beta design launched recently (Digg rip-off) will have to work harder to rip-off Digg's hard work again :).

Subeclipse 1.0.0 Released

The 1.0.0 version of Subeclipse has been released. In case you're not familiar with the project, it's a plugin for Eclipse used to connect to subversion (source control software) servers.

Read more about the release on the Subeclipse website.

It's my 30th Birthday Today

It feels weird to say that ("I'm 30 years old"). It's a good feeling though... a milestone if you will.

So I'm looking back at my accomplishments and failures over the last 30 years and I have to ask myself, "Self, where to now?"

Well, so far I'm very pleased with where I am at the moment and the direction I'm currently headed in. My career decisions aside my family is what's most important to me.

So what do I plan to cook up for the next 30 years? I have some really cool things planned for the next coming months, but beyond that things seem blurry. I guess as long as I keep my head high, and mind open to new possibilities and new horizons it should be another fun 30 years.

So, work day or not, I'll have a beer, sit back for a few and toast myself to the next 30 years :).

Superbowl Commercials from Google Video

Go to Google Video to see the commercials for Super Bowl XL. They also have the GoDaddy commercials that were not accepted to be aired.

I don't know about you, but I thought the Window Washer was GoDaddy's best one (gosh darn censors).

Google Maps Gets a User Out of a Traffic Ticket

While in court defendant Edwin Soto used his laptop, a little WiFi, and some quick thinking to prove to a judge that the officer was incorrect.

"Thanks to an open WiFi network and some quick thinking, defendant Edwin Soto was able to use Google Maps to get out of jail free."

Read the full article at

Update: Here is the original article.

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