Remove VMware esx 3.x and return to no virtual machine

pfleury1
pfleury1 used Ask the Experts™
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Hi all,

I have inherited a VM Ware esx 3.x server that is running one sbs2003 server.  Nothing else.  I have researched this to some extent, and see no benefit to having this configuration on a Virtual Machine.  Backups are currently done with Backup Exec from within the sbs enviroment.

My question is can I simply backup the server, including the system state, format or recreate the RAID 5 array, and then do an administrative restore with BE to the new array which would remove and eliminate the VM.  My concern is that some drivers / reg settings would be restored that would not be correct.

any help or suggestions are appreciated.

Thanks
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Top Expert 2005
Commented:
That might work.You could also do a V2P (Virtual to Physical) migration to bare metal hardware.

Author

Commented:
Sorry, neophyte here when talking about VMWare.  I am not familiar with V2P.  could you elaborate?
Top Expert 2005

Commented:
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Top Expert 2010
Commented:
The backup/restore method will likely work. However, your SBS will detect new hardware and have to be activated again.

One advantage to keeping SBS running under vmware is that the vm is "portable." You should be able to back up the vm image, and in the event of a disaster or machine failure - the vm could be restored to another physical box running vmware rather quickly (and without reactivation because the virtual hardware will be identical). Lots of folks run single vms on ESXi hosts for just that reason.

Whatever you decide - Good Luck

Commented:
I would suggest the V2P too!
Hi.  I would recommend leaving your config as-is. ESXi is an EXTREMELY stable operating system (never had one crash on me out of about 150 systems!). Windows however is famously prone to crashes / hangs etc. If / when your windows sbs system does crash / hang and you are away from the office, you can simply remotely connect to the ESXi box and restart the SBS VM. On a physical machine, you need to actually physically be there to flick the switch.

Author

Commented:
Thanks for all of the great comments.  

I must admit, the box has been extremely stable since I inherited it.  We've had a couple of minor issues, but nothing serious.

One of the biggest issues I have with the VMWare, is the lack of USB drive support.  We want to use an External USB HD for a supplimental backup device, but the system will not recognize it.  Another issue is that during a power outage this past summer, everything went down, and it was quite difficult to talk the owner through getting the server back up (we have since documented the process).  

It just seems in this instance, the VM software is adding an unnecessary, additional level of complexity although, I now see some benefits to the configuration (thank you bgoering).  And, I am not personally comfortable with my ability to administer the setup, but I am still responsible for it working.

Any other comments, of course, are welcome...

At this point, unless I hear some other compelling argument, it looks like it will be the V2P.  Although, it sounds like it may be a bit tricky in spots as well.

Commented:
Hi,

You can get a $100 Network USB Hub, and access it via the network. they usually have 4 or more USB ports.

Benefits of VM:
You can take a snapshot before you do any changes to your system so you can revert back to your snapshot within a few clicks if anything gets screwed.

Commented:
Other benefits:

You can easily add disks, etc to the VM while the VM is still running, and many
If you have a backup of your VMDK you can easily restore it to another system if your ESX host dies....

I wouldn't recommend to go back to a Physical machine.
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
You could also upgrade to ESXi 4.1 and try the USB passthrough support. Take a look at http://vstorage.wordpress.com/2010/07/15/usb-passthrough-in-vsphere-4-1/

There is a link to the HCL for tested USB devices, and the list is pretty small - however I haven't had any issues with any USB mass storage devices.

Good Luck

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