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VMWare ESxi 4.x and Windows 2003 Terminal Services

Posted on 2011-09-23
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
I am looking for some up to date opinions on virtualizing an existing Windows 2003 32-bit Server running Terminal Services for 25 users onto a VM Box running VMWare ESxi 4.x.  It would be a P2V situation and would be the only instance on this VMW box for now.  I am looking for people's experience with performance or any other issues that might suggest it would be better to simply image this ailing server to another standalone box rather than doing the P2V to the virtual box.
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Question by:Cybertronnh
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 639 total points
ID: 36590377
Try it and see how you, go but personally I would not recommend it, unless you really have to, because of company policy or otherwise.

In our testing, and we do not virtualise Terminal Servers or Citrix Servers because the Hypervisor slows does the server too much, and you end up with a low number of concurrent users compared to a physical server before the CPU reaches 100%, e.g. we've never managed to get more than 15-20 concurrent users on a virtual server, compared to 75 concurrent on a physical server (DL360G5 Dual Processor Quad Core), Put  ESXi on the same server, and then create a WIn2k3 2 vCPU and 4GB RAM, and we only get 15-20 users concurrent, before the users complain it's too slow.

The costs, of additional OS licenses for additional VMs, plus the Hypervisor license, does not make it cost effecient.

Now, you have a smaller number of users, so you might just get them working, it's all about user expectation, performance, concurrency, and what you users do.

But do not be surprised if you need 2-3 VMs!
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 639 total points
ID: 36590383
P2V is easily done, using VMware Standalone Converter 4.3 and 5.0 available now.

But I would test before committing to Production.

Download VMware vCenter Converter here
http://downloads.vmware.com/d/info/datacenter_downloads/vmware_vcenter_converter_standalone/4_0

VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 4.x Documentation
http://www.vmware.com/support/pubs/converter_pubs.html

VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 4.3 User Guide
http://www.vmware.com/pdf/convsa_43_guide.pdf
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by:larry urban
larry urban earned 213 total points
ID: 36590400
I would P2V it.

1. Because you would better be able to use the resources. i.e. 25 user's on a TS is nothing, putting that on a physical box would be wasting the hardware's potential and $ value.
2. The hardware (server) would be running at low usage and wasting the upper 75% of it's potential. put esxi on the server and you can use it to run the server at it's potential and run more server OSs and or workstations on the same server hardware.

Just be sure when you P2V it (assuming you will) you shut it down and use the vmware bootable converter CD. Since it is a server and has TS running on it, it will fail since there are files being written to as you are converting it causing locks and vmware will fail.
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 639 total points
ID: 36590436
The VMware Bootable Converter CD - also called coldclone.iso, Cold cloning requires the VMware Cold Clone Boot ISO, which is only available to VMware Converter Enterprise license-holders.

if you do not have an Enterprise license, here is a DIY version

http://www.ardamis.com/2009/04/25/cold-cloning-vmware-converter/
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by:SuperTaco
SuperTaco earned 216 total points
ID: 36590941
With something like this I prefer the live P2V, because i'm usually afraid to cold boot P2v anything that might not come back up. :) (Although i will say the cold boot is really cool, and really fast)  if this is a DELL server with an OEM key, I would have a VL key ready to do a repair install.  the license keys don't transfer well  because the OEM key is looking for specific hardware ID's
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enggsukhwinder earned 216 total points
ID: 36591395
Yes, can go ahead with P2V of you server. I have done the same, No issues as far. But some times i face bit slower issue between user and apps for my server. only for one or two user after alternate day. now issue is sorted out. i have increased the Memory of my ESXi server. its working now.

GO Aheah...

Download VMware vCenter Converter here
http://downloads.vmware.com/d/info/datacenter_downloads/vmware_vcenter_converter_standalone/4_0

VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 4.x Documentation
http://www.vmware.com/support/pubs/converter_pubs.html

VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 4.3 User Guide
http://www.vmware.com/pdf/convsa_43_guide.pdf
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by:Tony J
Tony J earned 216 total points
ID: 36598032
As others have said, I'd hot-clone it.

It may pay you to stop any non-essential services just to improve potential reliability and speed of conversion.

The P2V process is great because it's almost zero-impact (I say almost, because to hot clone requires an agent) and if it fails for any reason, just turn the physical back on.

I've run virtualised Citrix servers for customers for many years now without any issues whatsoever.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Cybertronnh
ID: 36934574
This was more of an opinion question - in the end using everyone's input I was able to make a decision.
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Expert Comment

by:Tony J
ID: 36935580
Thank you for the points and good luck going forwards.
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