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How to virtualize GHOST image into VMware Player or VMware Workstation?

Posted on 2009-03-30
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There are a dozen physical machines running Windows 2003 server on different hardware platform located in different locations. It's not practical to mirror those physical machines to another dozen identical hardware to prevent the potential hardware failure. I am wondering if the following idea is practical.
1. Take an image of those dozen physical machine by Ghost;
2. Virtualize each image into a spare physical machine (what virtual software to host the virtual machine here?).
3. Bring up the corresponding virtual machine if any production physical machine has to be taken offline for repair.
Assuming the performance is not a concern here since it is only temporary. Functionality/availability is the goal.
Q#1. What (free/cheap) tools can be used to virtualize the Ghost image?
Q#2. Is VMware Player or Workstation is suitable to virtualize such Ghost image?
Q#3. Is VMware Player or Workstation is suitable to run such virtual machine? (only one virtual machine will expect to run at any time though it need to run any of those dozen machines).
Thanks.
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Question by:richtree
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8 Comments
 
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by:isiHelpDesk
isiHelpDesk earned 750 total points
ID: 24023416
Actually, you are looking at Converter too which is a free product :)
http://www.vmware.com/download/converter/

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by:isiHelpDesk
isiHelpDesk earned 750 total points
ID: 24023427
Have you thought of using Converter to create "virtual" images of the systems?  It can do this "live" without taking the system down like Ghost does.
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Author Comment

by:richtree
ID: 24024476
I can afford to take each server down to take image. I will not have ESX environment in each physical server that's why I plan to take image as first step, then virtualize it somehow. Please comment on my questions.
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by:isiHelpDesk
isiHelpDesk earned 750 total points
ID: 24024565
I think you are taking steps you dont need.  Why run Ghost?  You can use Converter and virtualize the maching directly to file....it doesnt have to be to an ESX.
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Paul Solovyovsky earned 750 total points
ID: 24024601
I normally run VMWare Converter, the new version will sync up any changes that were made and shutdown the source and bring up the destination.

If you still prefer to take an image then download Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery Server.  Install on the OS and take image.  You can then use vmware converter natively to convert the image to a virtual machine.  Unless you license the product (this is the server version of Norton Ghost) you will only have the capability to image for 60 days.

You can use vmware workstation or vmware server.  You can probably use vmware player although you have to be carefull in making changes since it's only a player and vmware server is free as well.
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Author Comment

by:richtree
ID: 24024748
Suppose I use VMware Converter to virtualize the physical machine. Where can I put the virtual machine? In VMware Workstation or VMware Server or somewhere else?
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by:isiHelpDesk
isiHelpDesk earned 750 total points
ID: 24024762
VMWare workstation would work fine, yes :)
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Author Comment

by:richtree
ID: 24024845
To make myself clear here, I describe the scenario as follow:
Physical server (phy-svr-src) running Windows 2003 is permanently in network-A. Physical server (phy-svr-host) running Windows 2003 connects to the same network only during virtualization or phy-svr-src is down. There are no other servers connected to the same network.
Goal#1: Virtualize phy-svr-src with the help of phy-svr-host if needed.
Goal#2: Run virtualized phy-svr-src in phy-svr-host.
Goal#3: Use free or cheap tools to achieve the above goals.
Please give steps to achieve it and list software/tools needed at each step.
Thanks a lot.
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