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Migratin from pysical to virutal Servers

Posted on 2011-03-14
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Experts -

I am in the process of converting 3 Windows 2003 Standard Servers to VM's and host them on one Server running VMware ESXi 4.1

Server1:  ad/bes/p/ias/dns/dhcp
Server2:  ad/f/ias/dns/dhcp/gc
Server3:  ex2003/www/ftp

The hardware I’ll use for the VM host machine is as follows:
HP ProLiant ML330 G6
2 Xeon 2.13Ghz quad core CPU’s
2 16GB RAM
4 600GB SAS 15.000rpm drives (Raid 10)
2 GB Ethernet ports

I never used VMware in a production environment before and need advice how to plan the move from a physical server to Virtual server structure.  
Here are some questions that come to mind:

1.What converter should I use and what is the best practice procedure to convert from Physical to VM?
2.In what order should I convert the servers and in what order should I bring them online as a VM?
3.What are usual problems I’ll run into and how can I prevent them?
4.Should user data be hosted on a VM or an external storage (SAN, NAS)
5.Should the Exchange Data be hosted on the VM or external storage (SAN, NAS)?

Any pointers in the right direction how to plan and execute a project like this are very much appreciated

Once the migration is completed i'll an identical server for redundency, is that someting i should include in the planninig process now? Or should i worry about this once the migration is done?

Thank you!
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Question by:Martin Gerlach
6 Comments
 
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KingClifton earned 167 total points
ID: 35134936
VMware Converter should be OK but if you are licenced for the Enterprise edition of the converter, it supports Cold Clone (i.e. boot from the CD). Recommend this for DCs and databases.

There are known issues P2Ving a BES server - I believe you can fix them but I've always done a fresh install into a VM.

You should be able to get away with running those VMs on the internal disks. I'd allocate VMDKs for the Exchange server rather than separate LUNs.

I have a similar environment running on comparable hardware and it runs fine (and also includes 2 Citrix servers). No performance issues at all.

I believe there are open-source alternatives to the VMware Converter but I've never tried them.
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Assisted Solution

by:coolsport00
coolsport00 earned 166 total points
ID: 35134972
1. vCenter Converter Standalone should be used:
https://www.vmware.com/tryvmware/?p=converter
2. Doesn't matter the order really...up to you.
3. For potential issues, you can reference this EE article by fellow EE Expert "BestWay":
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/VMWare/A_3639-VMware-vConverter-P2V-for-Windows-Servers.html
4. If you have the budget, yes, I recommend a SAN to implement redundancy/failover features such as HA, FT, VMotion, etc., but it's not required to have a SAN (only for the features I mentioned)
5. It really doesn't matter too much, as long as you take b/u's, like you do in the physical world.

You can wait to implement a 2nd host, but if you want failover recovery instantaneously, you should order one now.

The only other suggestion I have is to bump up your RAM to 24GB, if possible (or is what you listed 32GB - 2 x 16GB?).

Otherwise, you should be good to go...

Hope this helps.

Regards,
~coolsport00
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LVL 40

Expert Comment

by:coolsport00
ID: 35134975
One other note I'll add - I will repeat what "KingClifton" suggests as far as building your VMs from scratch. That is VMware's official stance...always, when possible, to build up your VMs and not convert from phys. Obviously, that's not always feasible, and conversion is ok...works most of the time, but it's always best practice to build up your VMs from scratch.

Regards,
~coolsport00
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Expert Comment

by:coolsport00
ID: 35135005
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Assisted Solution

by:deeshcp
deeshcp earned 167 total points
ID: 35148003
1.What converter should I use and what is the best practice procedure to convert from Physical to VM?
Ans:  You can purchase and vcenter converter to migrate Physical machine into Virtual machine.

2.In what order should I convert the servers and in what order should I bring them online as a VM?
Ans: you can start dhcp then gc and ftp server

3.What are usual problems I’ll run into and how can I prevent them?
Ans: Check vss writers status as well if you are using non vss aware applications need to use some script to freeze those services to take the clean state snapshot.

4.Should user data be hosted on a VM or an external storage (SAN, NAS)
Ans: You can host the data inside the VM (in vmdk files)

5.Should the Exchange Data be hosted on the VM or external storage (SAN, NAS)?
Ans: For exchange data can use external storage so we can use exchange cluster features.

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Author Closing Comment

by:Martin Gerlach
ID: 35337148
Sorry for closing so late. Thanks for your help!
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