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Thin Client and Virtual Machines Thread, creating a test environment from a live ESX4 cluster in Technical; Hi At my work place we use ESX4 in a 3 host cluster. We have a number of different VM's ...
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    creating a test environment from a live ESX4 cluster

    Hi

    At my work place we use ESX4 in a 3 host cluster. We have a number of different VM's spread evenly across the cluster.

    We have had ESX installed for about 6 months and I am relucantant to roll the new ESX4 U1 update on the production system whilst everything is working fine.

    From a long time even before the ESX cluster I have struggled to create a test environment from the live system using tools like virtual box or VMware workstation. I am keen to give it another try though.

    Due to constraints I wasn't able to create a test environment at install, I now have a bit of time to do this so I wanted to create a mini test environment on my laptop. I have workstation 7 installed with the latest updates and my processor is VT enabled which has allowed me to install ESX as a VM in workstation 7.

    I now want to take a copy of one of our windows 2008 DC's which is a VM in our ESX cluster for me to do some tests in the isolated environment as well as some other servers to test integration, AD, exchange etc.

    Using vcenter I clicked on a production VM which I wanted to take a copy of and created a clone of this.

    I have now done this and as its a clone and its not powered on I assumed I would be able to take all the VM files (vmdk etc) from the datastore and copy it to a local hard disk but it wont allow me to do this. I get errors when I try to copy. I also noticed the clone VM i am trying to copy has a white icon which looks different to the online VM's. I assume this is correct because its a clone VM.

    Does anyone have any suggestions on how best I could do this? If anyone has created a replica of their live systems in a test environment I am keen to see how you have done this. I am also aware that I should never plug this test laptop into the production network unless I have ensured the network is completely separate from the main network. If there are any other pointers I should be aware of please let me know.

    Your advice is appreciated.

    Thanks

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    Ive done pretty much exactly what you've described here. i.e Took a clone of an existing VM (also running from shared datastore with 3 host cluster) and then copied the clone from datastore to another area of the network.

    I used Veeam Backup and FastSCP (free) to move the actual VM files off the SAN. copied no problem.

    If you want to create a test environment why dont you just create a new vswitch so your test environment is isolated from production, that way you can use your existing hardware etc and not have to bother using the laptop setup?
    Last edited by ssiruuk2; 10th March 2010 at 04:37 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ssiruuk2 View Post

    If you want to create a test environment why dont you just create a new vswitch so your test environment is isolated from production, that way you can use your existing hardware etc and not have to bother using the laptop setup?
    Yeh I suppose I could do the vswitch, I rather not at the moment due to capacity issues. I would like to explore using workstation and see how well it works, I then know I can do things out of the office and I know its not affecting the production network at all.

    I am still debating whether to use the clone feature or use VMware converter 4.0 to take copies.

    My understanding of using vmware converter was that I would need to switch off a VM to create a copy of it.


    Would the clone method work fine with directory systems as VM's e.g. active directory, exchange 2007? I am aware I would need to do a bit of tidying up once I put it into the test environment, but I was going to follow the instructions on this blog: http://guamaniac.wordpress.com/2007/...-using-vmware/


    I was hoping also not to switch the VM's off as I didnt want to cause unnecessary downtime but if this is unlikely to work if someone could advise how best to do this.


    Thanks

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    Hi Ranj,

    If I remember correctly, this is how I copied a VM from one ESXi host to a test ESXi host. I just copied the cloned VM's fles to another ESX's datastore. Right Clicked on the .vmx file and selected "Add to Inventory". That seemed to work for me.Give it a try.

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    So I took a clone from the live ESX cluster of an exchange server VM. I have to mention that it was a running VM and i didn't stop it.

    I copied the contents and have now tryed to integrate it into Workstation 7 and whilst the VM runs I now have a new problem which I am not able to resolve.


    The Exchange VM which is running on x64 Windows 2008. When it runs and gets to the Ctrl+ALT+DEL screen, it does not allow me to enter a username and password, it seems the keyboard has stoppedworking and it is just stuck on that screen. I have tried all sorts of possibilities to unlock the machine and attempt to enter the password but it just doesnt seem to work.


    Whilst booting up I can access the keyboard and go through the different options such as safe mode but when it gets into Windows it just doesnt to work.


    Has anone seen this problem?

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