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P2V Conversions: Always Something New To Learn

It may seem that performing a physical to virtual (P2V) conversion is a boring task in the current virtualization landscape. In some recent tasks, I have had some conversions give me some bizarre behavior that remind me that you can never stop learning in this space. Here are a couple points I learned recently that may help you in any conversions that you may undertake.

Network issues: When it comes to conversions, you do not always have the time to investigate the source system outside of the operating system. Older physical systems may be on older network segments that are configured differently or, more frequently, on slower (100 MB) segments. Take some time to get the system on a quicker network if possible, and clean up anything that may inhibit access to your virtualization platform to perform the conversion. I had a recent situation where certain drive letters on the physical system were not enumerated in the conversion until the network was configured correctly.

Best tools: Using the right tool will aid the conversion process. I am fan of the vCenter Converter Standalone for VMware conversions. I prefer it because it has some additional service management and synchronization options, as well as the ability to go to the unmanaged ESXi platform as a destination. As a side note, Microsoft released a new version of the Microsoft Disk2Vhd tool. With all conversion tools, it is a good idea to always use the most current version.

Cross-zone conversion trick: You can get stuck when trying to convert a physical system on a network that has virtual machines but is on a network that is not accessible to ESX hosts or vCenter. In this situation and where security policies permit, you can enable a service console IP address on the network that has the virtual machines. You can then run the conversion task directly to this temporary service console to allow the conversion to communicate with the physical system and the hypervisor directly. This would not generally work with the plug-in conversion tool -- again, the standalone tool may work better.

You can never stop learning about conversions, and surely there will be more lessons to come. If you have had any tricks on P2V conversions that have come around recently, please share them with your fellow readers here.

Posted by Rick Vanover on 10/08/2009 at 12:47 PM


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