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virtualized windows server clone

Hi,

I have the unfortunate job of mirroring/ cloning the virtualized servers currently setup. I haven't had a great deal of experience with cloning servers within a virtualised environment. However from what I can tell the servers are running VMWare server. We have 3 seperate virtulized instances of Windows server 2008 R2 running one the one server box (i.e. Mail server, terminal server and file server) and there are currently 4 x 72GB hard drives installed in server form a raid 5 setup. Also, from what I can tell the raid 5 is a software setup and we are now out space on these drives and need to migrate to larger drives. My plan of attack in order to handle this migration was to use a service such as 'Acronis' deployment manager or similar in order to clone and redeploy the image onto the new HDD's. However as mentioned I not to experienced with the above and also I am struggling to work out how I will configure the raid setup after the cloning/ deployment onto the new HDD's is complete?

If anyone has any advice tips to help point me in the right direction for a successful redeployment, it would be greatly appreciated if you could post those here.

Thanks in advance.
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Adma1
Asked:
Adma1
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4 Solutions
 
DareDevilE12Commented:
Why you just not download only the vmdks of VMs, upgrade the disk space and after upload the images, or if you have another ESX host to move there the VMs temporary.

Regards
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Adma1Author Commented:
Thanks for your response, I am a little confused with your response could you please provide a little more detail if possible, thanks.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Ok, I'm confused.

You need to upgrade the PHYSICAL storage on the VMWare Server, right?  You're running ESXi, right?

So why not export the VMs, install new drives, reinstall (if necessary) ESXi, import the VMs, expand the drives.  Why are you cloning anything?
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Adma1Author Commented:
Yes we are running VMWare 4.0.0 ESXi, just to clarify were exactly would I export the VM's to? i.e. can I export these to FTP? How would I go about recreating the raid?

The reason why I was thinking of cloning was in case anything went wrong with the migration or a HDD failed I could simply just temporarily plug in one of the existing drives and get on with things.

Sorry bout the stupid questions here I have just never done this before and dont want to stuff anything in the process.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Checkout my article if you do not have VMware vCenter, that has a CLONE option.

HOW TO: Clone or Copy a virtual machine in VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESX/ESXi 4.x or ESXi 5.0

if you do not have vCenter, follow the above, and remember to SYSPREP the servers after Copy/Clone.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
I've only briefly worked on VMWare ESXi but I've used Hyper-V extensively.  The concepts are the same.

Using VSphere, you should be able to EXPORT the VMs in VSphere, done over the network via a workstation with vsphere on it.

Alternatively, you should be able to create another disk store (if you have the physical room to install more disks).

By the way - NO WAY YOU SHOULD DO ANYTHING until you've setup a test system and done it at least once (preferably twice or more) to gain some experience.  It's horribly unwise to try something like this with 3 servers with no experience and no CLEAR fallback plan.
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DareDevilE12Commented:
You be able through VMware vSphere Client to browse the Datastore and to download local at you pc or another storage area the VMs images.

Regards
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Sysprep'ing production servers is not supported.
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CarlosDominguezCommented:
Please let me understand a bit more: you have just one ESXi server (4.0), with three virtual machines, using the internal disks (4x72GB in RAID5).

If you want to backup once your virtual machines, I think you do not need the Acronis software. Maybe a simple approach is to download all the VM files directly from the datastore and copy them in a network shared folder or USB drive.

Do you need to remove the existing hard disks in order to add the new one(s)? Maybe you just want to add a new identical hard disk to the same RAID?
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coolsport00Commented:
An alternative to using the Datastore Browser within vSphere Client is to use Veeam FastSCP: http://www.veeam.com/vmware-esxi-fastscp/download.html?ad=mainbutton (need to create an acct like on the VMware site). This is an SCP tool that you can download/install on your local workstation then, like in Windows Explorer do copy/paste actions of all your VMs. The VMs will need to be powered down to do this copy/paste (same holds true for using Datastore Browser window). There are also some neat videos on how to use FastSCP (not too hard tho) on the FastSCP resources page: http://www.veeam.com/vmware-esxi-fastscp/resources.html

When you're done copying the VMs (whole VM folder) to your temporary destination, you can copy them back to your ESX/i host datastore. Once copied, go into the datastore where your VMs are placed, using vSphere Client, go into each VM folder, rt-click on the .vmx file, then select 'Add to Inventory' to have your VMs re-show back up on your host; then you can power them back on as needed.

Regards,
~coolsport00
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Adma1Author Commented:
Hi All,

Apologies for the delay with responding I have been away for sometime.

Thanks for the replies, hanccocka I have read through your tutorial and just to confirm I have understood your tutorial correctly, I can simply connect to the ESI server and copy/ clone each of the virtual machines, save these to a shared location i.e. our NAS and then dump the cloned image onto our new HDD's and once the image has been deployed on the new drives they will then just be plug and play.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
That is correct.
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Adma1Author Commented:
OK great, I have one last question,

I have a spare indetical server box to the one we are currenlty running used a as a cold spare. I connected the hard drives from the server we are currently using and plugged these intot he spare identical server and when , I logged into the VM ESXi server and manually started each of the virtual machines and the status appeared “connected” however I could not RDP into these machines and when looking at the VMware console each of the machines continued to go through their boot sequence i.e. “windows is loading files” would appear and then the machine would reboot and VM ware screen would appear”

Any ideas.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
That's another question, to work through, because it should not do that.
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