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How can I create a mirror of an Exchange 2003 server so that it replicates/mirrors onto a VMWare Virtual Machine?  We have a full VSphere solution.

Posted on 2011-02-22
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How can I create a mirror of an Exchange 2003 server so that it replicates/mirrors onto a VMWare Virtual Machine?  We have a full VSphere solution.  I am supposed to turn our physical Exchange 2003 machine which is a Dell 2650 Server and migrate it to a VMWare Virtual Machine.  We want it there, to begin with, in case the physical machine ever fails as well as to possibly do an upgrade in the near future.  We might NOT upgrade so, in that sense, we might just have it there as a failover.  
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Question by:urbnmediadotcom
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Assisted Solution

by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 20 total points
ID: 34956783
Have you thought about usig VMware Converter?

http://www.vmware.com/products/converter/
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coolsport00 earned 350 total points
ID: 34956998
What I used when I converted my Exchg 2K7 box was Converter Standalone, as "hanccocka" suggests. If your Exchg DBs are on a SAN, you don't need to necessarily worry about P2V'ing the volumes that house them. You can do a P2V of just the sys volume (C:); then if the need arises to use a b/u or failover system (your VM), just connect your SAN to the ESX/i host of this VM, then add the DB volumes to your VM as RDM disks. And, even if you don't have a SAN, you can P2V all your volumes. If the need arises to use that VM, you'll just need to do a restore of your DBs. If you have a de-dup backup solution (i.e. Avamar, etc.), the restore will go fairly quick.

Regards,
~coolsport00
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by:Malli Boppe
Malli Boppe earned 130 total points
ID: 34957051
above options would be muc quicker.
Altertavilty you can build a new Virtual exchange server and move the mailboxes and public folders from the current exchange server
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Author Comment

by:urbnmediadotcom
ID: 34957657
Guys, you all are the greatest!  Let me process this tomorrow at work to see if I can ask a couple of intelligent questions.  I'm really tired but wanted to thank you so far.  This really is a big thing for us to attempt.  I have 0 experience doing this.
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by:coolsport00
ID: 34957673
Migrating highly critical boxes (Exchg, SQL, web servers, etc.) are certainly 'big things', and much caution/preparation must be undertaken. We're glad to help you through it...

~coolsport00
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Author Closing Comment

by:urbnmediadotcom
ID: 34961010
The only thing I don't know is what an RDM disk is but I guess I can look that up on my own.  These do seem more disaster recovery and don't really get into the actual replication portion that I asked about but it gives me something very solid to start on/build on.  This gave me some things to consider.
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Expert Comment

by:coolsport00
ID: 34961045
RDM = raw device mapping. It is a 'pointer' file created in the VM's folder that points the VM directly to SAN storage (look in VMware's Resource Mgmt Guide, under Storage section). Once  you get your Exchg VM created, you can utilize a VM Backup & Replication solution called Veeam Backup & Replication that will allow you to replicate your entire Exchg VM to a secondary ESX/ESXi storage location. In the event your orig Exchg VM crashes, all you hvae to do is power on the replica VM! How nice is that?! :)  You can test Veeam for 30 days (you can get this extended if needed).

Best of luck!

~coolsport00
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