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Thin Client and Virtual Machines Thread, VMWare ESXi - convert physical win2k3 server : Tips? in Technical; After wasting literally 2 nights on this (and still being up at stupid o'clock) I wanted to ask if anyone ...
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    contink's Avatar
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    Question VMWare ESXi - convert physical win2k3 server : Tips?

    After wasting literally 2 nights on this (and still being up at stupid o'clock) I wanted to ask if anyone has a cast iron, bullet proof guide to converting a physical Win2k3 (32bit) machine to a VMWare virtual one using the VMWare vCenter Converter Standalone utility.

    I've had every conceivable problem from the System partition existing on a disk other than the first one, to the dreaded "A disk read error occurred" which I suspect was related to running the server in normal mode.


    Anyway, if any of you more experienced types could suggest any tips or a guide on how to do this I'd appreciate it.


    My latest guide is as follows:
    - disable non-essential disks in BIOS to get primary system disk to postion disk0
    - run chkdsk foo: /f on all partitions intended to convert across
    - reboot into AD rescue mode
    - run the conversion process

    My preceding attempts go as far as the first step and a successful conversion until I tried booting up the VM and got that error above..


    Any help gratefully received...

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    Quote Originally Posted by contink View Post
    After wasting literally 2 nights on this (and still being up at stupid o'clock) I wanted to ask if anyone has a cast iron, bullet proof guide to converting a physical Win2k3 (32bit) machine to a VMWare virtual one using the VMWare vCenter Converter Standalone utility.

    I've had every conceivable problem from the System partition existing on a disk other than the first one, to the dreaded "A disk read error occurred" which I suspect was related to running the server in normal mode.


    Anyway, if any of you more experienced types could suggest any tips or a guide on how to do this I'd appreciate it.


    My latest guide is as follows:
    - disable non-essential disks in BIOS to get primary system disk to postion disk0
    - run chkdsk foo: /f on all partitions intended to convert across
    - reboot into AD rescue mode
    - run the conversion process

    My preceding attempts go as far as the first step and a successful conversion until I tried booting up the VM and got that error above..


    Any help gratefully received...

    If its just a DC, my suggestion would be just create a fresh vm, then promote the machine, and demote the otherone,or if its a file server or exchange, if you have good backups, create a fresh vm, then restore from backup. i would only use the converter if it is something like sims.

    just my opinion tho

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    contink (10th December 2009)

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    In light of the recent problems We have had here I would strongly recomend building fresh VM's and transfering data across, if you are building 2k3 machines we have found VM ware defaults to a Buslogic SCSI driver but 2k3 seems to run much better on LSI Logic (have found a fair few arguments for this on the web)

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    contink (10th December 2009)

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    I guess this makes something of a mockery of the whole idea of the converter actually working but nothing is ever easy so I shouldn't be surprised..

    I think I'll have to go with the plan E (I've gone through a few already) and migrate the whole lot to Server 2008 R2 as I was headed in that direction anyway. Now trying to think how best to migrate the fileserver and all those shares...

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    Quote Originally Posted by contink View Post
    I guess this makes something of a mockery of the whole idea of the converter actually working but nothing is ever easy so I shouldn't be surprised.. .
    Thats Computers!

    I think I'll have to go with the plan E (I've gone through a few already) and migrate the whole lot to Server 2008 R2 as I was headed in that direction anyway. Now trying to think how best to migrate the fileserver and all those shares..
    either use something like robocopy, or backup/restore the data on the drives thats how i have done it before. depending on how its shared, if its just the main folder to setup the shares on the manually isn't acutally that bad, just aslong as permissions are set up right so that ad can set up the permissions for you.

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    contink (10th December 2009)

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    The cold clone boot cd is much more reliable than the converter - no danger of data loss whatsoever.

    The disk read error could well be to do with drivers, you could try installing the vmware tools before rebuilding - or running a repair install with the vmware floppy mounted and hitting f6 when it asks for other drivers.

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    contink (10th December 2009)

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    Most of the time the convertor does a really good job, converted 14 servers over summer with 13 going across spot on first time and 1 that was a pain in the backside
    I ended up using the Xen convertor utility, which when tested had failed on every other machine I'd tried but worked on the one that didn't. It will only do one drive at a time though.

    For copying the file shares, use either Robocopy or set the shares up in DFS and add the new servers as a target and let it synch across and then remove the original location as a target.

    The other option is if you are using a unified storage box as storage for the VM's is to set up the shares directly on that. We've done that with our Sun storage and it works far better than running the shares in Windows.

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    contink (10th December 2009)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Domino View Post
    The cold clone boot cd is much more reliable than the converter - no danger of data loss whatsoever.
    Seems that's an enterprise product that I can't access but useful to know it's there for future ref.

    The disk read error could well be to do with drivers, you could try installing the vmware tools before rebuilding - or running a repair install with the vmware floppy mounted and hitting f6 when it asks for other drivers.
    That would be my guess... As usual though the vmware site is a bit "sparse" when it comes to showing you where or what the vmware floppy actually is or what to do with it. Any tips?

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    I converted a Acronis Image to a VMware machine , worked fine..

    Maybe use an Acronis Bootcd to create a image then use the VMware conversion software maybe ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by contink View Post
    Seems that's an enterprise product that I can't access but useful to know it's there for future ref.


    That would be my guess... As usual though the vmware site is a bit "sparse" when it comes to showing you where or what the vmware floppy actually is or what to do with it. Any tips?
    Do you not have a vmimages folder in your datstores when mounting a floppy/cd drive to the vm? it should be in there

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    What about BMR to a new vmware machine from your backup system? or even a standard install and then use your backup system to load from there?

    Ben

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    I've had problems with VMWare Convertor in the past (last version I used was 1.04 (I think) though).

    I ended up ghosting the physical images and bringing them down on the VM's. Then use a Windows repair install tog et it working. That method worked everytime.

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    VMware do an offline boot CD converter, use this and it can push the machine straight into any ESX setup you have or save them locally/network share.

    I've done Exchange, Linux, DC's all by this method flawlessly.

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    Just for sanity check.....

    Source firewall off?
    Source AV disabled?
    Shadow copy, workstation, server tcpipnetbios services working?
    400mb free disk space on source system drive?
    Unnessesary source services shutdown?
    Unnessesary source hardware removed?
    Source disks no bigger than 256gb each? (VMFS block size limit)
    DNS ok between source and destination?
    139,443,445,902 on open on acls/destination?
    Last edited by Theblacksheep; 10th December 2009 at 05:58 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Domino View Post
    Do you not have a vmimages folder in your datstores when mounting a floppy/cd drive to the vm? it should be in there
    No such folder on any of the disks... I'm using a ESXi from a bootable USB stick which might explain why...

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