VMware Converter

The latest version of VMware’s Physical to Virtual (P2V) product has been christened VMware Converter.

I’ve been spending some time looking at the Enterprise version, which is available to all licensed VI3 customers.

From VMware Server

One of the things that the VI3 Install & Config class says about VMware Server is that it provides an easy upgrade path to ESX, previously I was unconvinced.  Having used converter I’m now convinced.  A Windows 2003 Server VM on VM Server converted to ESX server quickly and easily.  The VM was shutdown & the converter run on the machine that was it’s host, the converter created the VM in the Virtual Centre and copied the disk files to the nominated ESX server.  The VM was then started on the destination, powered on and had VMtools installed.  Very simple and straightforward and all achieved in less than the allocated outage window for the VM.

From Physical machine

After the success with the VMserver to ESX I was keen to do a real physical to virtual.  Since the only physical I have lying around is my Virtual Center I gave that a go.  Just as with the VM conversion all went with the conversion, installing VMware tools and the reboot.  However on logging onto the server it was apparent that the server’s static IP address had not come through into the VM, not great since it is a DC and DNS server!  After manually setting the IP address all appears well again.

Of course since I wasn’t happy with the first migration & then reran a day later I efectively had a USN rollback to I had to follow http://support.microsoft.com/kb/875495 to demote the DC after the second migration & re-dcpromo it back in.  Let that be a warning about migrating DC’s, it’s a one time process if the migrated DC comes up on the production network.

I tried some further migrations & every time I cold migrate the destination VM has a dynamic IP address where the source had static & worse the VM still has the hardware & IP config for the physical machine.  To get rid of the leftover devices, which can also cause performance ssues in the VM, follow http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms791334.aspx to show the devices in Device Manager and then uninstall each non-present device.  I thought that this was part of the P2V process, how wrong I was.


VMware Converter is a much better P2V than the previous P2V but there’s still plenty of room for improvement.  I guess that’s why there are other vendor’s products in the market.  Hopefully I’ll do some trialling on the current versions of these products soon

© 2007, Alastair. All rights reserved.

About Alastair

I am a professional geek, working in IT Infrastructure. Mostly I help to communicate and educate around the use of current technology and the direction of future technologies.
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