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Virtualization, Cloud, Infrastructure and all that stuff in-between

My ramblings on the stuff that holds it all together

Platespin PowerConvert Part 2: P2V

 

Following on from the previous overview post, My goal here is to do a live P2V of a Windows 2003 Server installation on an old laptop into a virtual machine running on my D530 ESX farm, and just to make things “interesting” the laptop is also running Exchange 2003 🙂

And once this is completed I’ve got a 2nd laptop to which I want to convert the virtual machine onto (V2P).

I’ve implemented PowerConvert in a VM, and all hosts are connected over a gigabit ethernet switch (although the source laptop only has a 10/100 NIC.

I’m aiming to use the live transfer (with snapshot) feature which handles clean-snapshots of all the Exchange and AD databases using Windows Volume Shadow Services (VSS).

The initial screen is below, to get to this stage you need to discover hosts – which can be done via IP address, hostname or network discovery (via listening to broadcasts) – it’s recommended that you discover/refresh each source and target server before doing any migrations – the data is held in an internal MSDE database and is not automatically refreshed.

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Select the source and right-click – or you can drag and drop it to the target (i.e physical server booted from a “Take Control” CD or host running a supported (and previously discovered) Hypervisor.

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It detects that Exchange is installed on the source

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Advanced view; note red X marks areas that need attention.

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Choose which type of transfer

Take Control – “Cold clone” boot source from custom WinPE CD.

Live – File based (file by file copy, suitable for simple servers)

Live – Block Based (faster than file-copy)

Live  – Snapshot (uses VSS, supported for applications like Exchange, SQL etc.)

 

Note the options for what to do with the source machine once the conversion has completed; if you are doing a move like we are you don’t want the source machine left on the network as you will have an IP/name conflict or worse users changing data – so shut it down.

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Synchronisation options, handy if you have a lot of data to migrate and want to prep the target some time ahead of a cut-over.

Also used by the workload protection feature (x2V DR) – which is very cool and will be the subject of a future post.

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This is an annoying bit where it doesn’t automatically adjust the path to the VM files if you change the virtual machine name – so make sure you edit the path manually as required.

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You can choose target resource pool on an ESX server; but as far as I can tell it’s not specifically aware of DRS, virtual centre or different clusters – it’s host only driven.

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Moving from single CPU Physical box to dual CPU VM (and vice-versa) is just a check-box.

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Note this will replace a file; which is the multiprocessor HAL due to the above option.

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An option to sysprep/rename etc. the clone (not used here as we are “moving” i.e decommissioning the source machine)

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Picked up an unused NIC from the source laptop – chose to exclude from conversion

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Options to choose/resize disks etc.

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Job breakdown and monitor screen – this is where you can monitor the progress of the job – there is very little feedback on the console of either the source or target machines as part of this process.

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The PlateSpin controller talks to ESX and creates blank VM that will become the target machine

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PlateSpin boots the target VM into WinPE

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Open console on the VM Platespin has created and you’ll see what it’s doing.

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At this stage it has copied a WinPE.iso file to the ESX host and mounted it in the VM and boots the VM from it…

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Target (blank) VM booting up, starting networking etc.

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WinPE app contacts PowerConvert server via HTTP and downloads its job info

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Once it’s finished copying data from the source to the target, it starts up in DS safe mode (as I’m P2V’ing a domain controller) – it seems to run some fix-up scripts in the background during this stage as it sits at the DS-safe mode logon prompt for a while before rebooting.

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it’s done now, and rebooting out of DS safe mode.

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Note, it uses GRUB in the process to control what is booted – this is cleaned up in the final stage.

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1st normal boot

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Ta-Da, all running with all services, databases and applications intact.

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Completed job screen on the PlateSpin PowerConvert Client.

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Note – that this “burns” one of the licences – you pay per conversion, unless you have a particular type of licence – full details and options here

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The next post will be to take the virtual machine we have created via P2V and convert it back to a physical machine again (V2P). This is the clever bit that PlateSpin PowerConvert brings to the table over all other products on the market.

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