Migrating W2016 from Citrix to VMWare

Luke Anthony
Luke Anthony used Ask the Experts™
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Hi,

We have a Windows 2016 server that requires migrating from our current Citrix XenServer 6.5 hypervisor setup, to a new VMware esxi 6.7 (upd1) hypervisor.

The IP, Domain, DNS, server name etc can all remain the same.

We tried to export a copy (OVF format) and spin it up but the copy machine would not boot, no bootable disk found.

The reason for a copy was to remove the Xen tools and install the VMware tools before importing into vmware. sadly, being unable to boot the machine the whole process has stopped. The machine is still in production so we didn't want to remove the xen tools from the original in case of an issue, which we now have.

Any ideas on how to properly do this migration from xen 6.5 to vmware 6.7? Are there any useful tools to help or am I just missing the obvious?

Thanks for reading.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
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Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
Luke Anthony1st line IT support assistant

Author

Commented:
Thank you Andrew, this method showed quite a lot of promise. It copied the machine and created it in the VMware tree but failed to boot. it did manage to enter the windows recovery but none of these tools were able to resolve the boot issue.

had a look from the command prompt (can access via the windows recovery tool) and noticed that the admin profile was running from the x:\ drive not the C:\. did a diskpart and indeed the drive letter are mixed up. Had a go at changing them but then it wouldn't even get past the bootloader.

we tried another export but this time we took the citrix tools of before the copy and didn't install or change anything during the copy/conversion to try and help. we got very similar results 2nd time round.

I suspect that as none of the documentation ever mentions Citrix, that this tool isn't really able to convert this type of machine to VMware.

For now we're having a go at restoring a bare metal restore from our backup machine and then try to get that to work.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
Citrix is just an application installed on Windows!
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Luke Anthony1st line IT support assistant

Author

Commented:
yep, sure is.

We're trying to move from Xen Server to VMware hypervisors. The 6.2 converter seemed to work fine converting the running machine and creating it in the VMware. However we have been unable to get this machine to boot. Just blue screens in the early stages right after the boot loader part of the machine startup. Sorry, repeating myself a bit there.

We have a hardware backup device that take full machine backups, it can also bare metal restore these to other hardware. we use this in a DR situation as our rented data center doesn't support citrix so we have to convert it to VMw. oddly in our own environment it just doesn't work.

Have you ever encountered a restore boot failing like this before?
the OS is 2016 Server, not really running too much stuff. full disc is only 63gb.

One of my colleges is going to have his own go at it, out of hours.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
Have you ever encountered a restore boot failing like this before?

Yes.

Did you read my FAQ ?
Luke Anthony1st line IT support assistant

Author

Commented:
yes I spent some time reading the 30+ items in there. It's partly why it's taken so long to update the question as was running though the list.

we noticed that v14 wasn't support by the tool while reading some other resources, so backed it down to 11. still same result.

did the next, next, next version of the copy, also removed the AV fully and citrix tools too just to rule them out, but sadly still the same.

It does look like the full info is copied over but the boot loader or drive letter assignment seems to get confused and prevents the OS from loading at the very start of the windows boot.

We're going to keep plugging away at it overnight tonight and into tomorrow as it's faster than rebuilding the machine again.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
It does NOT make any difference to the operation of the VM, what virtual machine version it is. I would always recommend using an earlier version 8.0 (but it does not make any difference!).

I was referring to...the statement

Whether you are a VMware vSphere Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced or Expert, Physical to Virtual conversions sometimes are not easy, and many issues can arise, a successful conversion requires 50% technical knowledge, 25% patience and  25% luck to get a successful conversion. Sometimes it is not as simple, as install VMware vCenter Converter Standalone, and click next to obtain a successful conversion.

How is the VM currently configured, and what is the error message BSOD ?
Luke Anthony1st line IT support assistant

Author

Commented:
Sorry I don't understand what you mean by "what virtual machine version it is"? it's currently running on xenserver 6.5, a windows 2016 server. The new environment is esxi 6.7 VM version 14

The error message is "system thread exception not handled" as displayed on the blue screen.

In the VMware cluster.
The setup is the same as the other machine, 4 cpus, 16gb ram, 64gb disc which says "thick provision lazy zeroed"
the main difference is the location of the disc as it's on a different storage to the original machine. it was on a SAN and is now on another FAS, just because the 2 environments are on different storage. shouldn't really matter where the disc is homed though. these are only the storage locations as chosen from the converter before starting the conversion.

made few changes, except tried both installing and not installing the vmware tools during the conversion. same result.
we made changes to the networking in the converter tool so it was correct for the new environment, not sure this would effect the booting of the vm?
it carries the same machine name, ip, disc etc.

If we F8 at the start of the boot you can get the Windows boot option, safe mode etc. but none of these options work and it just blue screens with the same error again.
Annotation-2019-10-24-101511.jpg
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
e.g. if you set, virtual machine version = 8, = 12, =11, =14, =15

it's not going to cause an issue for the OS.

That issue is caused by hardware fault or drivers.

Does the Server convert without error ?

You may find this method better....

HOW TO: Perform a Physical to Virtual (P2V) Conversion the easy way from a computer backup (image).
Luke Anthony1st line IT support assistant

Author

Commented:
ah, thank you I understand.  it defaulted to v14 so we tried that, but also tried v11.

The conversion does seem to convert without errors, nothing in the log highlights.
I'll go and read your other suggestion now, thanks.
Luke Anthony1st line IT support assistant

Author

Commented:
Well that seemed like it was going to be the answer, right up the point where it warned me about MBR hard drives and that being an issue with uefi bios systems. Changed the setting to bios instead of efi, which got the OS a little further toward loading, until it just blue screened with the same message again.

Any more ideas on resolving these startup issues?
Is there some specific information or screen shots that might help diagnose?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
(MBR and UEFI is not an issue as noted in my EE Article, VMware vSphere supports UEFI, we've converted between UEFI ad MBR physical to VMware vSphere with ease)

Have you ensured that you have prepared the physical machine for the P2V process ?

e.g. removed ALL hardware based drivers and software

what server is this ?

Sometimes it is easier to build new servers and transfer series than P2V....

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