VMWare Converter 5.1 Slow

We're converting a Windows Server 2003 box P2V. It's an IBM x3650 with 2x 3.00Ghz Qaud Core Xeon and RAID 5 with fast disks so it's a reasonably quick machine. The VMWare cConverter is installed on this source box.

Have stopped all services that might be using resources or making changes (eg Exchange SQL etc) and no users can connect to the server while this job is taking place. However, I am only getting 4MB/sec.

That means the job will take 36 hours leaving very little wriggle time before a crowd of disgruntled users descends upon the office on Monday morning!

It's doing a live conversion from the physical box to an ESXi 5.1 host on a Gigabit network and we can get 70MB/sec (yes megabytes) on a simple file transfer on this network. The ESXi host is a new x3650 M4 with bags of RAM and CPU power and this source box  being converted now will be the only Virtual Machine on the ESXi host for a while.
(ie there are no VMs on the host yet).

Task manager on the source box shows very low CPU/Memory usage and I had already implemented the 'don't use SSL' fix as recommended by 'hanccocka' by editing the relevant xml file and restarting the services.

Any ideas as to what might be slowing things down. - I'm getting decidedly worried!

Thanks in advance,
London_RiversideAsked:
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
P2Vs can be slow, because it's just shifting and cloning, you do not mention, how large the disks or dataset are.

I would recommend using the Sync/Replicate options, and then it does not matter how long the conversion takes, because you can then "cutover" to the VM, with a small outage.

see my EE Articles

HOW TO:  Synchronize changes when completing a P2V or V2V with VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 5.1

HOW TO:  P2V, V2V for FREE - VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 5.1
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London_RiversideAuthor Commented:
Thanks very much for the quick response.
There are 4 volumes totalling 1.5TB of usable space.
Data on those volumes totals approx. 600GB

Added complication is that it's a DC - actually an SBS2003 machine and so I'm having to keep fingers crossed regarding Active Directory etc coming up OK on the VM. (we have successfully done a DC before in this way)

It is due to finish converting at 22:00 tonight (Sat) so will get a chance to see if it has worked.

If not, will have to leave the old box running as (hopefully) nothing destructive will have happened during conversion procedure.

I've seen screenshots with people getting 40-50MB/sec on these conversions so my main concern was why we might be getting a paltry 4MB/sec.

I suppose my thinking is that at least if we could know quickly that it has failed, we can take appropriate action in good time!

Thanks again.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
If it's a SBS 2011, I would definately, use the Sync option.
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London_RiversideAuthor Commented:
Thanks, if we have to run it again we will use the sync option.

Disabling ssl in the "converter-worker.xml" file, does not seem to have made a difference.

The conversion is currently due to finish in 9 hours time (9pm london).

I have seen several references on the net to disabling ssl in the "E:\Program Files\VMware\VMware vCenter Converter Standalone\converter-client.xml" file aswell. We have not done this and thinking probably we should have(?)

The dilemma now is whether to stop the conversion process and make the change to the second xml file or whether to leave the conversion for its remaining 9 hours!!

Thanks in advance
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RickEpnetCommented:
Just did a SBS 2011 what made it a little more difficult was the server the SBS was running on was going to be the hypervizor too. So I had to P2V to Vmware Workstation format then install ESXi 5.1 U1 then move it back onto the server. Turned off every service I could think of. It was only about 300 GB of data it took I think it was about 15 hours out and (I fixed some stuff with the networking) then I think about 8 hours back in. Had a small issue with email sending but that was it once I fixed that everything worked perfectly.

No Points just commenting.
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London_RiversideAuthor Commented:
Re. "No Points just commenting".

And a very encouraging comment it is!

I'm delighted to hear the P2V of an SBS box worked for you.

Did you use the 'Synchronise Changes' option in the converter or did you simply minimise the possibility of any changes occurring? From your comment on stopping a lot of services, I presume the latter?

One more thing - When you say "8 hours back in", do you mean from the time you booted the VM, you had everything up and running in 8 hours?

Again, many thanks for taking the trouble to comment.
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RickEpnetCommented:
I did not use the Synchronise Changes. To be honest I did not know about that until I read this thread.

8 hours back in
No what I mean is 15 Hour to convert to Workstation format on to one of the desktops at the customers then 8 Hours to convert from Workstation format to the ESXi Server. I only had one server to work with total.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
With all conversions you need to be patient, or forget about watching the conversion time, and use the Sync/Replicate feature!

Do not forget also, once the conversion has finished to complete Post Conversion Excercise,  (which will take approx 30mins - 1 hour) and switch to VMXNET3 network interface.
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London_RiversideAuthor Commented:
Thank you.

I'm not overly familair with the conversion procecedure (or VMWare in general for that matter!).

Bearing that in mind, and knowing that we have not used the Sync/Replicate feature (and that this is an SBS 2003 box and therefore a DC), what steps exactly are you suggesting we take when the conversion finishes?

I must apologise but for your advice to be of any practical use,  I would need a litlle more detail on : -

The post conversion excercise (what does this consist of and how do we implement it?)
How/where/when - do we " switch to VMXNET3 network interface"?

If you can be bothered, a small 'step by step' would be most appreciated.

Just assume this is not my subject!

Many thanks.

PS Regarding disabling ssl in the "E:\Program Files\VMware\VMware vCenter Converter Standalone\converter-client.xml" do you think it's of any significance? It seems only to be relevant if you are connecting to a different machine running as the 'converter server' which is not the case here. We have the standalone converter running on the source machine itself

This is the section in that file: -

<ConverterServerConnectionTCP>
   <host>localhost</host>
   <port>56789</port>
   <useSsl>true</useSsl>
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
In our experimentation, disabling SSL improves the conversion rate.

When your P2V has been completed, and is virtual, BEFORE you connect it to the network and restore service.

1. Remove existing Network Interface.

2. Install VMware Tools (important)

3. Add new network interface of type VMXNET3.

4. Remove all hidden devices and drivers.

5. Remove all vendor specific software.

(these are explained below!)

see my EE Articles, which will explain your questions

HOW TO:  Synchronize changes when completing a P2V or V2V with VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 5.1

HOW TO:  P2V, V2V for FREE - VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 5.1

HOW TO: Improve the transfer rate of a Physical to Virtual (P2V), Virtual to Virtual Conversion (V2V) using VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 5.0
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RickEpnetCommented:
Do this for sure. I took out all the left over drives out not just the NIC but you need to do the NIC's for sure. You can snapshot the machine before you start. I would snapshot it before you even turn it on. But be sure to delete the Snapshot after everything is good.
http://sudrsn.wordpress.com/2011/01/09/post-p2v-tasks/

I gave it the same IP address and DNS suffix and then I ran I ran the Fix my network wizard and connect to the internet wizard.  Kind of like you did when it was new.

hanccocka is the expert in these things he will have some good recommendation for you.
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London_RiversideAuthor Commented:
Thanks both - am now carefully reading the articles suggested.

RickEpnet - When you say " do this for sure", are you saying to synchronise despite the fact that your SBS P2V worked without syncing?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Just one thought some SBS 2003, were OEM, that's to say, the OS was supplied with the hardware.

see this:-

Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) versions

Note: Physical-to-virtual hard drive migration of a Windows installation is a valid function for customers with Software Assurance and full retail copies of Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. Software Assurance provides users valuable benefits—please contact Microsoft Corporation for further information. Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 installed by Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) using OEM versions of these products may not be transferred to a virtual hard drive in accordance with Microsoft licensing terms.

Source
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/ee656415

http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Windows/XP/A_3721-Can-I-transfer-my-OEM-version-of-Windows-to-another-PC.html

If this is the case and you have an OEM copy of the OS, you may find, once you have restarted the OS as a VM, it may not activate, and you will have to purchase a Retail or use a retail license key to get the server Re-activated.

I thought I would mention, as some Admins, spend many hours P2V-ing, only to find, this causes them an issue, to go live and Production!

Depending upon your location, you would need to check with Microsoft on the Legalities/Licensing of obtaining product key to Re-activate Successfully. It's different between regions.
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London_RiversideAuthor Commented:
Thanks for being so thorough!

We have the original install key (as well as the CAL keys just in case) and it is 'Boxed Retail Product'

Just reading your guides - excellent articles you have written btw
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
No problems, thanks for your comments, please vote yes!
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