Installation of ESX on existing SBS 2003

is there a way to configure ESX on an existing server with an O/S on it (box1) without exporting the conversion to box2, then installing ESX on box1 then importing the converted VM from box2 back to box1?

i hope this makes sense...i just basically want to convert an existing installation on the same box.

thanks and sorry if i made no sense but i'll try to explain it if you still dont understand :)
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)Connect With a Mentor VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Maybe. ESX is a Type 1 Hypervisor and needs to be installed on bare metal.

You could try

Step 1. Using P2V to Convert your Server to a file share suitable for VMware Workstation.
Step 2. Install ESX on the physical server and replace OS.
Step 3. Using P2C to convert the server back to ESX.

otherwise you would have to Backup the Physical and Restore later into the VM.

VMware Standalone Converter here

For the conversion steps, read Bestway's article.

Make sure that the hardware on which the ESXi installation is going to be performed is in the VMware HCL before installing ESXi.

HCL link -

ESXi v4.1 (Free Edition) would be my recommendation. Its a 64-Bit hypervisor and does not require the presence of an operating system.

ESXi v4.1 download link -

Make sure that Intel VT or AMD-V is enabled on the BIOS before initiating the installation.

SBS 2003 may not also be  do-able, depending on your licensing if it was OEM.
No - ESX needs to be installed directly on the hardware because it is a bare metal hypervisor. If you want to save you existing Windows installation you will need to back it up somehow (export), install ESX or ESXi, then you can create a virtual machine and restore (import) your Windows back onto that and continue to run it on ESX.

Good Luck
XChangingITAuthor Commented:
sorry for the confusion i dont want to install ESX itself on the existing O/S, i do want it directly on the wondering if i can do a convert of box1 and installation of ESX (32-bit) without the help of another box.

any clearer? :)
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Yes, see my post.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
but before you do anything, what's the server?
XChangingITAuthor Commented:
what do u mean by that?  what is the O/S?  SBS 2003
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
What is the Made and Model of your Server, which the OS, SBS 2003 is installed on?
Only certain hardware supports running ESX - you need to make sure your server type is on the Hardware Compatibility List (HCL)

SBS 2003 is Windows Small Business Server 2003. I'm going to guess that your OS is an OEM copy? If that's the case you'll have a licening issue on your hands. I'd recommend you download the VMware Converter mentioned above, migrate to VM Player to test your migration strategy/process. You'll likly be presented with an activation screen when you boot the SBS server (there are ways around this but it's not 'legal').

I don't see a real easy way; if you do a P2V conversion you really need to convert to an ESX host. You may need to setup a temporay ESX host and migrate your system to, then install ESX on the one you want then move the server back... Make sense?

1. Setup temp ESX host.
2. P2V your production server.
3. Install ESX on your production hardware.
4. Move your virtual production server to production ESX...

You can also check out PlateSpin. It's a far superior P2V application. Most importantly, you can do a conversion the other way; a V2P conversion! It's a great saftey net!

Best of luck.
Actually so long as the SBS goes back on the original hardware there likely isn't any licensing issue because the OEM license is tied to the physical hardware where it runs. That would be my interpretation anyway.
The OS will see a new BOIS and new hardware. You will be prompted to activate and you will be presented with a hurdle. I've migrated several OEM copies and 100% of the time I get the warning. There are ways around that; legal or not.

I can guarantee Microsoft won't agree with OEM licenses on VM even if it's on OEM equipment. I would say you should be permitted; but I'm not Microsoft...
bgoeringConnect With a Mentor Commented:
It is a bit of an interesting idea

"Q. What computer component ties the OEM license to the computer?

A. Short answer – the first motherboard the OS was installed on. In the case of your purchase of an OEM license with a new computer, this license is tied to the motherboard of that system. In the case of a purchase of OEM software from a retail seller, this would be the first motherboard you install the software on, *not* the “hardware” that was bundled with your OEM purchase."

Now are we considering the virtual "motherboard" which is only a software construct, or are we considering the physical motherboard of the physical server. I am sure it could be argued either way. But you absolutely correct in that if this is an OEM license you would have to reactivate :)

It may be academic anyway as many folks that by server class equipment purchase their Microsoft products through a VL agreement. And even retail copies of standard, enterprise, and datacenter licensing gives certain virtualization rights - but I really don't know that those apply to SBS editions.
Luciano PatrãoICT Senior Infraestructure  Engineer  Commented:

@bgoering I agree with you. And I think this is the right way.

But will the Microsoft agree with us? :)

ESX(i) is an OS, you will need to install this direclty on the hardware. If what you want to do is preserv the SBS 2003 Server you could convert this using any P2V or Image creation tool. VMware provides an standalone converter tool for free that you could use for the convertion.  
And another thing, OEM Software is tied to the server license, that means that the legal thing to do is to get a new license for the SBS server as soon as you virtualize the machine in order to don't break the license agreement.
Good luck with your project!
XChangingITAuthor Commented:
Thanks guys...!
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