In-place virtualization of server 2012 onto Hyper-V

We have a single server running Windows Server 2012 which is our domain controller.

The server has tons of horsepower for our environment and I want to use it more effectively. We have a volume license to Windows Server 2012 R2 that I want to take advantage of, too.

Is there a relatively painless way to perform an in-place virtualization of this physical server?  So the end result is that we have a physical server running Windows Server 2012 R2 + Hyper-V role + 1x virtual machine which is the physical server?

The main challenges I'm seeing myself potentially facing right now is:

1) Licensing. Server currently runs an OEM license to Windows Server 2012. We possess a Volume License to Windows Server 2012 R2 which has downgrade rights so I'm pretty sure we're legit but I am wondering if there will be unexpected Windows Activation issues that we won't be able to resolve without re-installing

2) VHD disk size. the new virtual machine will, of course, need to have virtual hard disks that are smaller than the disks currently inside our server. This makes a simple "backup and restore" method of doing P2V a lot more difficult

3) Driver issues. Failure to boot after we virtualize because of missing or unloaded SATA / SCSI / AHCI drivers

4) Specialization issues. MAC address on the NIC changes, or other unexpected problems because of the sudden change in hardware on the guest OS

5) No way to quickly go back if things go horribly wrong


Is there some Microsoft-supported way of doing this?
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Frosty555Asked:
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Cliff GaliherCommented:
If you want a *supported * way then I'd set up a new hyper-v server (old hardware is fine) and stand up a new VM as a new DC. Then you can use 2012 R2 and not downgrade. Remote the old DC, reinstall a clean 2012 R2 server with the hyper-v role on the final hardware. The move the VM. Fully supported. Better final OS. And pretty painless.
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Frosty555Author Commented:
:S that's going to be a lot of work, and this DC is being used as a fileserver and application server too (that's part of the reason for doing this migration is to separate this stuff out and make things adhere to best practices more) but let me make sure I'm understanding correct:

- Bring in a temporary server, install Server 2012 R2+Hyper-V role, create a new VM
- Install Server 2012 R2 on the new VM, join to domain, promote to DC
- Migrate everything over to the new DC VM (migrate FSMO roles, DHCP, etc.)
- Migrate other stuff (e.g. files, LOB applications, other stuff people put on the original server) to new VMs on the temporary server
- Demote the original server, wipe it, re-install Server 2012 R2, Hyper-V role, etc.
- Move the VM from the temporary server over to the original server
- Remove temporary server from the network, hope that it can do something else useful one day
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Cliff GaliherCommented:
That's what I'd do. It meets all of your goals, including having a way back if things go wrong, is fully supported by MS (most P2V paths are not), and limits disruption to end users. It isn't as complex as it reads, and can be done with relative ease.
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