Converting P2V an Active Directory Server

Greetings vmWare Experts,

I have a Windows 2008 R2 Physical Server with the following Services:

-      Active Directory/DC
-      DNS
-      DHCP
-      SQL Server 2008
-      Exchange Server 2010 Std

I would like to have a full-backup of the above Server in a Virtual state for the worst case scenario.
With that said the physical and virtual server will never run simultaneously.
The Virtual server will start in case that the physical server cannot boot up.

Just because it is a worst case scenario I do not care if the VM is not synchronized since last P2V conversion.

Q1) vmWare does not recommend converting an existing Active Directory and instead recommends creating a new-clean  VM and transferring the roles.  
Given that the physical and virtual will not run simultaneously should I proceed to the P2V?

Q2) Is the VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 6.0.0 capable to cover my needs with the above Server Roles
or should I search for commercial software?

Q3) In case it is required to purchase a P2V software, what would you recommend by your personal experience?

Thanks,
Mamelas
mamelasAsked:
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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
the machine will have to be powered off to successfully do the p2v.. Yes it can be done BUT you will have major pitfalls. All of the roles are living breathing things and unless you can live with everything being out of date.. and they will be the instant you power on the physical machine.  The exercise  is clearly impracticable and a waste of time and disk space that would be better suited to using your backup and restoring from the backup to a virtual machine.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Q1 . Yes

Q2. Yes

Q3. Yes

In fact yes to all three questions, and you can be a little clever about it and use Sync Mode, so your Server is always up to date...use the Sync Mode

see my EE Articles for details

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

HOW TO: FAQ VMware P2V Troubleshooting

follow the above articles, but download and use the current version of converter, which is 6.0.

HOW TO:  P2V, V2V for FREE - VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 6.0

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Will SzymkowskiSenior Solution ArchitectCommented:
I would not do this for ANY server that is running Active Directory or Exchange. Active Directory is always changing behind the scenes (computer passwords etc).  If you bring up your P2V server there is a good chance that Active Directory will have issues a long with Exchange.

This is not the appropriate way to backup this server. Also as you have stated your server holds all of these different roles? Unless your server is a SBS this configuration is not recommended.

Will.
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mamelasAuthor Commented:
Thank you Experts.

Re the completion of the P2V I have 2 No and 1 Yes.

To summarize your answers the above scenario is applicable but I may have trouble
with the roles that live all together to one Physical Server.

If you have any objection in the above mentioned you are more than welcome
to post your opinion.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
To summarize your answers the above scenario is applicable but I may have trouble
with the roles that live all together to one Physical Server.

This has got nothing to do with the technical process of a P2V!

The Virtual Machine copy will be identical to the physical server, and have the same issues.

At present Microsoft are "P2Ving" physical servers (2003) to Azure with no issues, and these include AD/Exchange using P2V tools!

If it has to be done, it has to be done via P2V!

It may not be recommended or best practice, but it does work, the main issues is people that attempt it do not know what they are doing, and cock it up!
mamelasAuthor Commented:
Dear Hancock,

Thanks for clearing out this question!!
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