With the economic down turn and the green agenda Virtualisation has become a hot topic with my customer. These days its all about getting the best value for money as possible with your IT budget, so when my customer had a number of servers out of warranty and due for replacement the Hyper-V platform was the first port of call.

The first thing we did was run the Microsoft MAP tool against these servers to ensure that they were real candidates for Virtualisation. This tool can be found at

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=67240B76-3148-4E49-943D-4D9EA7F77730&displaylang=en

Information on using the tool can be found at

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb977556.aspx

Currently my customer has a number of Hyper-V GEO Cluster's based on HP boot from SAN Blades. All  of the Virtual Hosts are managed centrally by Microsoft System Centre Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM). Using the map tool we were able to determine that based on the existing hardware we could achieve an 8 - 1 virtual machine ratio. Considering that the new hardware runs cooler / cheaper and is only a couple of U per blade compared to the 6 - 8 U servers they were replacing everyone was happy.

All of the machines to be Virtualised were Windows 2000 & ran bespoke applications. If we were to rebuild these servers on new kit it would have taken a lot of time and effort to ensure that the applications were tested etc.. not to mention the downtime involved.

Pre-Requisites

You will need the following patches on the Hyper-V target systems.

KB950050, KB951308, KB956589, KB956697, KB956710, KB956774

You will need the following patch on the SCVMM Server

KB959596

You will also need the following version of WAIK for all offline conversions. The version included with the OS will not do the job. Install this on the SCVMM Server.

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=C7D4BC6D-15F3-4284-9123-679830D629F2&displaylang=en

 

Using the P2V Wizard

In this example I am performing a physical to virtual conversion on a Windows 2000 server.

A Windows 2000 server P2V has the following pre-requsites.

  • Service Pack 4
  • 512MB RAM minimum

As the source service is Windows 2000 the only option is an offline conversion. As part of the process an agent will be installed on the source server and the server will be re-booted into WinPE so that the contents of the source servers hard drive can be copied via BITS.

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1. With the Virtual machines menu option high lighted click on Convert Physical Server.

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2. Enter the Computer name or IP address of the Physical Server and account details of a user that has local administrator rights on the source Physical Server.

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3. Enter a Name for the New Virtual Server. Set the owner of the Virtual Machine (defaults to the logged in user) and add a description for the Virtual Server.

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4. Click Scan System to install the SCVMM agent & gather information on the Physical Server.

 

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5. After the scan the System Information panel will be populated. Click Next to continue.

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6.  Here we select the volumes to be copied to the new VM as part of the P2V process. You can also change the VHD type from Dynamic to Fixed.

 

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7. Typically on this screen I choose to obtain an IP address automatically from DHCP. You can specify an IP address & Network card (using MAC address) if required.

 

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8.  On this screen you can specify the number of process and amount of RAM the VM will use. I usually set the VM to use 2 processors during the P2V process. This helps with the integration components setup, it can be changed back to a single processor later. Please note that these settings will be used to determine the placing of the VM on a host server as we will see later.

 

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9. Here you choose the server that will host the VM. You can see the suitability of each host based on the Star Rating. This is much improved when SCOM is used in conjunction with SCVMM. In the screen shot below SCOM was not configured.

 

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10. As the host I selected was a Windows 2008 Hyper-V cluster I got this message box popping up. Click Yes to continue. SCVMM will set up the new virtual server as a clustered VM.

 

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11. Select the volume that the VM will reside on. If your target volume does not appear on this list refresh the cluster information within SCVMM.

 

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12. Select the Virtual Network that the Virtual Machine will use.

 

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13. As this VM will reside on a cluster do not change these settings. This allows the cluster service to manage the Virtual Machine.

 

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14. If all is ok you should see this screen. You can run into an issue that can occur  with legacy hardware (i.e. RAID controllers) not included with the WINPE Image, which is used to boot into the P2V environment . If you can obtain the Vista driver for the problem hardware copy it to SCVMM\Drivers\Import folder to solve the issue.

 

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15. This last screen gives us a summery of the P2V job & the option to View and copy the PowerShell script generated by the wizard. You can copy out this script and modify it for automating this process if required.

 

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16. After clicking Create the jobs screen will pop up. This screen provides real time information regarding the P2V process including the time required to copy the contents of the targets volumes to the new virtual machine.

 

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17. Here we can see the BITS copy in progress and the amount of time remaining to copy the volumes.

 

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18. The script we created with the Wizard also installs the required virtual machine components. In some cases this process will seem to hang. This can be resolved by using the Hyper-V console on the target machine to re-start the VM.

 

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20. Once the jobs screen completes we will have a running Windows 2000 VM. Check that the VM is running on the External Virtual Network and that the source machine is turned off and removed from the Network.

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The process was quick with minimal downtime for the users. We did run into some issues with legacy RAID controllers but got around them using the fix mentioned in step 14. The new VM’s are a lot more stable than the previous hardware and are now on a high availability platform giving my customer more peace of mind.