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Hyper-V conversion   Static to Dynamic

Posted on 2010-11-12
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
I'm converting the .vhd file on our Hyper-v server to Dynamic this weekend.  I have a solid backup.  But, I want some help in making sure I'm not missing any "gotcha's".      

Tentatively, I plan to copy the .vhd file to an attached external usb drive.   Once copied over, I will delete the one on the server to make room to bring it back.   This is where I need some guidance.  I intend to use my Hyper-v resource book and lots of online documentation.  But it would help me if someone can briefly outline the next steps...

Are there any particulars that could cause me problems.   I realize this is very open ended, just looking for more information however I can get it.

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Question by:egalois
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by:Darius Ghassem
ID: 34124349
Actually this isn't a really hard conversion you should not have any issues with the conversion to dynamic but I would have to advise about dynamic VHD files you can lose some performance using these as well these VHD files need more management since the auto grow themselves.
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by:egalois
ID: 34124465
Well, our current .vhd file is near filling the server.  There is only 43GB of space left.   The data for the server should be around 80 to 100GB.    Right now, the .vhd file is 400GB....

Maybe I should consider making the static drive smaller?    Either way,  I need to make it much smaller than it is.
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kevinhsieh earned 500 total points
ID: 34125732
You can convert a fixed disk to a dynamic disk and then compact it, but it sounds like what you really need to do it to right size the VHD. If your fixed VHD is 400 GB and you only have 80-100 GB data, your dynamic VHD could grow back to 400 GB. My suggestion is to copy off the 400 GB VHD as you plan. Create a new dynamic VHD of say 120 GB. Use Ghost or CloneZilla to copy the contents of the larger VHD to the smaller VHD. That will put an upper limit on the size of the new VHD.

You can use Ghost or CloneZilla by creating a VM or using the existing one and adding both drives using the IDE interface. Then boot off a Ghost or CloneZilla ISO like you would a physical machine and do your disk imaging.
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by:egalois
ID: 34297895
Does the fact that this is a domain controller change your recommendation to use clonzilla?  Will it still work?   Is clonezilla safe to use in this manner given that this is a domain controller?
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by:Darius Ghassem
ID: 34297918
You should not use clonezilla or ghost on a domain controller.

You need to compact the drive first then you can convert to fixed disk.

http://blogs.technet.com/b/tonyso/archive/2008/10/09/hyper-v-how-to-shrink-a-vhd-file.aspx
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by:kevinhsieh
ID: 34297946
Personally, I don't see how the technet post is any simpler or safer than clonezilla, and using a disk cloning application in this manner should not be a problem. In fact, it's a built in backup of the VHD. clones and snapshots of domain controllers is bad if you bring up two at the same time or revert to something the is older than the tombstone life in AD, but bringing down a DC, cloning the disk and then powering it back on using the new disk isn't really any different then powering down the DC for an hour or two as far as AD is concerned.
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by:Darius Ghassem
ID: 34298153
Cloning a DC not supported unless you only have one DC running on the network.

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by:kevinhsieh
ID: 34298190
We're not cloning the DC. Merely using cloning to move the DC to a different disk that is smaller.
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by:Darius Ghassem
ID: 34298201
You are still cloning the Domain's DB. Now you can demote this server then clone without issues but as long as this server is a Domain Controller you should not clone the it.
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by:egalois
ID: 34433085
I will most likely demote this DC as it is a 3rd at this site and is not needed.   I will demote this and then use Clonezilla to copy it off.  

kevinhsieh, you say in your post that the  "dynamic VHD could grow back to 400 GB"   But then suggest using dynamic anyway - albeit a much smaller.  "Create a new dynamic VHD of say 120 GB. Use Ghost or CloneZilla to copy the contents of the larger VHD to the smaller VHD".   "That will put an upper limit on the size of the new VHD"

Did you mean to say this?   Or were you intending that I create the smaller 120GB on a fixed disk?   Will the "upper limit" be something that I can configure on either fixed or dynamic?   I think I want to create a fixed disk that is around 200GB.  This will give plenty of room for growth but yet still conserve space for other purposes.  Plus many people have recommended that I stick with Fixed disk.

Can you advise?

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by:kevinhsieh
ID: 34433775
I meant what I said. A dynamic disk of 120 GB will have an upper limit of 120 GB, but it could be as little as 8-15 GB which is typical for my servers. A 200 GB fixed disk will be 200 GB on the disk, regardless of how much or little has been written to it. A 200 GB dynamic disk will look like 200 GB to the VM, but it will start out in the MB range and get larger as more gets written to the VHD.

I ONLY use fixed VHD for disks that I fill up with a fixed size pagefile. I don't see any other point in fixed VHD unless you want to absolutely make sure that a VHD won't grow to fill your physical disk because you ALREADY grew it at large as it can go and already filled your disk.
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by:kevinhsieh
ID: 34433800
The performance penalty associated with a dynamic VHD over fixed VHD pretty much went away with Hyper-V R2.

http://download.microsoft.com/download/0/7/7/0778C0BB-5281-4390-92CD-EC138A18F2F9/WS08_R2_VHD_Performance_WhitePaper.docx

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by:kevinhsieh
ID: 34433829
You can also expand a fixed or dynamic VHD if you need to. It does require shutting down the VHD, but you could have a fixed VHD of 120 GB, and if you need more, shut down the VM, expand the VHD, and then restart your VM and expand the partition using Disk Management or diskpart.exe. Saves you 80 GB of disk space that you would otherwise allocate and be "using".
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