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P2V active directory (2003) to xenserver6

One of my 2003 AD has HW issues and looks like the servers is in it's final way... any day now...

I would like to convert it to xenserver Virtual machine.

would like to hear if anybody did this kind procedure successfully and how?

would like to hear reasons why I shouldn't do this on an  Active Directory Domain Controller... if any...

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Neil Russell

8/22/2022 - Mon
Neil Russell

Have a read here on how to P2V to Xenserver.

There are no reasons NOT to convert your AD server to a VM, makes perfect sense, ALL my DC's are running as VM's.

Just ensure that you have more than ONE DC in your domain, as always.

It is not recommended to P2V a Domain Controller. Although it has worked for some, I highly doubt you get it virtualized completely successfull this way.

What I used to do is simply shut down the machine and boot with a Clonezilla live CD and Image the servers System drive. Then I create a new VM in Xenserver using the windows 2003 server template in your case. Create the disk drive with the same or bigger size as the pyhsical system drive. Then boot the VM using the Clonezilla live CD ISO file.
Restore the image to the virtual drive and restart the system, this time booting from the disk.

This usually lets me start the VM. I then first install Xentools and reboot, then go back and remove any drivers and utilities that stem from the physical system. For example HP Network Card Management Utilites, or any System management software that do no longer apply to the virtual server.
Carl Webster

Do not p2v an existing DC.  Bring up a new server VM, run dcpromo on it, transfer any fsmo roles from the bad server to your new DC and then dcpromo down the bad DC.
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William Peck

I was going to post, but CarlWebster said it as I would have.
Neil Russell

"It is not recommended to P2V a Domain Controller. Although it has worked for some, I highly doubt you get it virtualized completely successfull this way."
Please exlain WHY?

Doing a P2V of a windows server to xen does NOT mean doing a LIVE Migration.  What you describe, using clonezilla, is called "DOING A P2V"!!

I have done many a P2V of DC's using this technique, clonezilla, acronis, various other... and very rare it fails.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert PRO / EE Fellow/British Beekeeper)

why not just create a new Server, and DCPROMO to promote to a DC, and Transfer the Roles?

This is much quicker and less effort than a P2V, and less risky if no risk, and Supported!

DO NOT wait for the existing server to die, get building a new Virtual Server, create a DC, transfer roles, you should be done in 60 mins!
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Carl Webster

microsoft recommends doing an offline p2v of a dc.  too many moving parts when a dc is powered on.  plus you don't have to worry about usn rollbacks.


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It is some much easier to just build a New VM and Promote it to a DC, transfer the roles and decom the old DC.  As stated there are to many moving parts in regards to replication and other recording events.  By building a new machine you eliminate all possibilities of a P2V failure. Then you also need to deal with Post P2V conversions cleanup which adds to down time.

Application Servers like Files, IIS and third party apps are perfect candidates for P2V when there are no databases that are continuously being written.  

When we did out SQL servers we downed the SQL service prior to P2V and announced and outage.    

Would you do P2V of your Exchange or just build a new one and move the Mailboxes?

Would you do P2V of your Exchange or just build a new one and move theMailboxes?

If you don't mind downtime, a P2V would be preferable. Simply stop all Exchange services before starting the P2V Process and you should be fine. You could also make sure you have an alternative MX configured (most ISP's offer a so called MX 20 record ) This will make sure emails sent to your domain are stored at your ISP in case your mail server fails and are delivered as soon as it is back online. This way no sender will receive a non delivery report when your mail server is down.

If you can't have downtime, then rebuilding a secondary mail server would be preferable as you can first reroute all incoming mail to the new one and then migrate one mailbox at the time to the new server before dismantling the old one.
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James Murphy

My point is down time.

Most places can not handle a down time of exchange or AD.
So if that is the case new build and migrate the data and roles to the new VM's with almost zero down time.

If there is an acceptable window for a down period a P2V can be done.
Neil Russell

"Most places can not handle a down time of exchange or AD"
Why would there be downtime of AD?

The question does say "One of my 2003 AD has HW issues "  that to me implies MULTIPLE AD servers. Therefor ZERO Downtime. So P2V is no problem at all.