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Exchange Server 2007 Virtualization - need some advice

Posted on 2013-10-28
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Planning to virtualize Exchange Server 2007 running on Windows Server 2008 (HP OEM license) with VMware vCenter Converter Standalone (5.1) to new Dell servers. Obviously running Windows Server 2008 (HP OEM) won't work on Dell servers so I haven't tried to convert this server yet. I'm guessing one option would be to create a new virtual Exchange Server and migrate mailboxes and replicate public folders from old to new.  There would be a large amount of data to migrate (mailbox databse is 150 Gb and PF database is 400 Gb) probably requiring lots of days (weeks?) of mailbox moving and folder replication to get everything moved over plus the move to a new server wouldn't be transparent to the end users. I'm thinking there must be a better way and would appreciate any advice that would the conversion to a virtual Exchange Server faster and easier.
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Question by:steve352
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by:Will Szymkowski
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Is your Exchange drives located on a SAN? If so, the easiest thing to do would be create an images of the Exchange server (using bare metal restore) create a new VM and mount the bare metal image to this VM and then repoint the Data drives located on the SAN to the new Virtual VM.

If you are not using a SAN you might have to take a bare metal image of all of the drives, which could take awhile.

We are in a similar process with other server as we have moved from an EVA to an Hitachi HUS. We will be using a product called "Double Take" which allows zero down time and can replicate traffic at the block level.

Double Take - http://www.visionsolutions.com/solutions/migration_overview.aspx

Will.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 500 total points
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Technically, you could P2V the server, but as this is an OEM license, you could be in breach of the license agreement, and once you have created a Virtual Server, Activation may break, and it would require the purchase of a Retail or Volume license, to add to the server.

It is possible to P2V, an Exchange Server, we use the Sync option, as per my EE Articles

see my EE Article, Step by Step Tutorial Instructions with Screenshots

HOW TO:  P2V, V2V for FREE - VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 5.5

HOW TO:  Synchronize changes when completing a P2V or V2V with 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

However it is recommended and Best Practice, to create a new Exchange Server and Move Mailboxes.

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

We have completed 20,000 mailbox moves this way, by scheduling bulk moves over a weekend, with 4-5 team members.

There are expensive third party tools, than can do this, but Exchange Administrators voted for the Overtime!
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by:steve352
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Thanks to you both for your answers. I think my best bet is to go with a new virtual Exchange server and move/replicate mailboxes and public folders over to it. It will take longer than P2V solution but is probably the right way to go.
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