How Mobile Are Your Hosted VMs?

As Cloud Computing hits the mainstream, people are wondering: How mobile are my VMs?

I’ve had several people over the past few months ask me “I know I own my hosted virtual machines but how can I move them from one provider to another?” The short answer is that you can but it isn’t easy. Virtual Machines (VMs), often nearing the 100GB mark in size, are too large for traditional media, too large for quick transport via Internet lines and can’t be disconnected and physically carried from one location to another.

Let’s say that you’ve signed-up with a hosting service who’ll host your virtual infrastructure for you and you’ve built two dozen or so virtual machines in that environment. After several painful months of service, you decide to discontinue your service with that vendor and move to a different service — now what? How do you move your virtual machines? Do you move them at all or just delete them and start from scratch…

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