P2V Conversion of an SBS 2003 Server–Part Three

Posted April 10, 2011 by thefrugaladmin
Categories: Computers and Internet

Tags: , , ,

Part Three – First Run Tweaking the Server VM

This is Part Three of a Five part series about my experience doing a P2V conversion of my SBS 2003 server to Hyper-V. 

Here are links to the other parts:

 Part One – Creating the VHD

 Part Two – Creating the VM

 Part Four – Second Run Tweaking the Server VM

 Part Five – Last Tweaks and We’re Running

First Run – Starting the New VM

Click the Start button to start the VM.

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The Virtual Machine powers on.

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Windows Starts to Load

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The GUI Starts…

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“Preparing network connections”. This takes quite a while since there aren’t any functioning network adapters present at this time.

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At least one service or driver failed during startup. Not at all unexpected considering the machine just moved to all new virtual hardware and windows hasn’t detected all the new virtual hardware yet. Click the OK button to clear the warning.

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Now the Virtual Machine is booted up and ready to login.

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First Login

Press the ctrl-alt-del button or press ctrl-alt-end on the keyboard. Enter the administrator password.

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We see the shutdown event tracker. This is expected since the VHD was captured when the machine was running. Enter a comment and click the OK button.

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The first thing that comes up is a Windows Product Activation warning. “Since Windows was first activated on this computer, the hardware on the computer has changed significantly.” This is also expected. Click the No button. We need to make a number of changes before we will be able to activate the machine online.

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Once the desktop loads, one of the first things that will come up is the new hardware found wizard. Click the Cancel Button. Then, go into “add remove programs” from the Windows control panel.

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Any drivers or programs that were specific to the physical hardware the server used to run on need to be removed.

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If any of the Hardware drivers or programs requests a restart, click “No”. Continue until we have removed everything that was related to the components of the physical server motherboard and add-on cards.

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When the physical hardware drivers have been removed, we can start to configure the server O/S for the virtual environment. On the Virtual Machine Connection Window, click Action, Insert Integration Services Setup Disk.

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The Hyper-V Integration Services will be installed which includes drivers for the virtual hardware that is part of the Hyper-V environment. The O/S will detect the new virtual hardware and install the drivers.

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When the integration services have been successfully installed, click on the Yes button to reboot.

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Windows will shut down and restart.

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In Part Four, I’ll cover the Second Run at tweaking the server O/S to run in Hyper-V.

P2V Conversion of an SBS 2003 Server–Part Two

Posted April 10, 2011 by thefrugaladmin
Categories: Computers and Internet

Tags: , , ,

Part Two – Creating the VM

This is Part Two of a Five part series about my experience doing a P2V conversion of my SBS 2003 server to Hyper-V. 

Here are links to the other parts:

 Part One – Creating the VHD

 Part Three – The First Run Tweaking the Server VM

 Part Four – The Second Run Tweaking the Server VM

 Part Five – Last Tweaks and We’re Running

Creating the Virtual Machine

So Now that I had a copy of the newly created VHD of the physical server, I needed to create the Virtual Machine that was going to replace the Physical Box I just shut down. Open Hyper-V Manager, and in the action pane, click New>Virtual Machine.

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This started the New Virtual Machine Wizard. The first step is to give the VM a name. This is the name that Hyper-V uses for the Machine. I named it the same as the Netbios name of the server, but I could have named it anything useful. For example, I could have given it a more descriptive name such as “Greg-SRV04 P2V Conversion“.

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The next step is to assign memory to the VM. I assigned it 3GBs of Memory. That’s what the Physical server had and it ran just fine. I could have given it a different amount if I wanted.

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The next step is to configure Networking. I chose to leave it unassigned for the time being. My reasoning was that it might avoid the server picking up a different IP address before I could assign the correct address to the new Virtual NIC. I’m not sure this would actually happen –I just wanted to play it safe.

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The next step is to connect a virtual Hard drive to the VM. The default is to create a new VHD file:

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but since I already had a VHD, I selected “Use an existing virtual hard drive” and then hit the browse button.

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Browse to the location of the VHD file that had been copied from the physical server to the Hyper-V server and click the “open” button.

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Click the “Next” button

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And then click finish.

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By default, the New Virtual Machine Wizard will give the machine a single processor. I wanted to give it two processors. Make sure the new VM is highlighted and the in the Action pane, click settings.

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Change the number of logical processors to 2 and then click the OK button.

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Double Click on the VM name or in the Action Pane, click the connect button to open the Virtual Machine Connection Window.

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In Part Three, I’ll cover starting the Virtual Machine and the first run at tweaking the server O/S to run in Hyper-V.

P2V Conversion of an SBS 2003 Server – Part One

Posted April 10, 2011 by thefrugaladmin
Categories: Computers and Internet

Tags: , , ,

Part One – Creating the VHD

This will be a 5 part post about my experience doing a P2V conversion of my SBS 2003 server to Hyper-V. 

Here are links to the other parts:

 Part Two – Creating the VM

 Part Three – The First Run Tweaking the Server VM

 Part Four – The Second Run Tweaking the Server VM

 Part Five – Last Tweaks and We’re Running

The Background

I recently decided to virtualize my aging and somewhat ailing SBS 2003 server. There were a number of factors behind this decision. One was that I just wanted to see what the process would be like. Having gone through and documented the process would certainly help if I had to do it for a client someday. Another reason was that once the server was virtualized, it would be relatively easy to copy the VHD file and start up a “copy” of the server in order to do a practice migration from SBS 2003 to SBS 2011.

However, the over-riding reason that pushed me into action was my December Hydro bill (Electricity bill for you non-Canadians). It was substantially higher than the same time the year before. Part of that could be attributed to the Ontario government’s move to so called “smart meters” with the accompanying higher rates for prime time use and negligible discounts for off-peak use. But that didn’t account for all of it and the only thing I could had identify that had changed was that I had more computers running longer hours than I did last year.

A watt meter confirmed that my single core SBS server and it’s UPS was consuming roughly twice as many kilowatts than my new six-core Hyper-V server. 250 Watts vs. 125 for the Hyper-V box.The newer technology really is much more energy efficient! Since I had the Hyper-V server running all the time, it seemed silly to continue running my SBS 2003 server on physical hardware. Plus, the SBS box had been having some hardware related quirks, so it wasn’t a hard decision to make the switch.

Now SBS 2003 isn’t officially supported under Hyper-V. It works just fine – it’s just not a configuration Microsoft will give you support for. But since that particular server only has one client (me), a good backup strategy would be more than enough for me to recover the server from any issue that might develop. So there was no way I was going to be calling Microsoft CSS for support.

The Physical Server

My SBS 2003 server was a box that I had put together myself – 3.2 GHz Single core Pentium 4 with Hyper threading, 3 Gigs of ram and a 320GB Raid one array. (More than enough for my one-man business.) The raid array was partitioned in 3 – O/S, Data and Apps. It was connected to an oversized 2200VA UPS that would run the server for quite a while in the event of a power failure. As it turned out, the UPS was part of the power consumption problem. It was drawing about 30-40 Watts even with the server turned off and unplugged.

Getting Ready to Virtualize the Server

There are a number of ways to do a P2V conversion. For example, Acronis and Shadow Protect both have hardware-independent restore options for their backup tools. System Center Virtual Machine Manager has a wizard that will do most of the work for you. Even the 2010 version of System Center Essentials has a P2V wizard. I don’t use any of those tools, so I decided to use SysInternals free Disk2VHD utility. I had used it quite successfully before, and given the price, it was a natural choice for the Frugal Admin.

One of the decisions I had to make was where to save the VHD file that Disk2VHD generated. I had a choice of direct attached storage, or a network share. I chose to store the file locally, since that would result in the fastest transfer time. I could have saved it directly to the Hyper-V server which would have saved the time to copy the file over later. But I wanted to keep the original capture intact on the source server – just in case. This particular server didn’t have an esata connection, so I opted for an extra Hard drive installed in the original box.

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Stopping Services before the Conversion

Since this was an SBS 2003 box, it had Exchange 2003 and Windows SharePoint services running on it. I chose to stop the various Exchange services before running Disk2VHD. I used Charlie Russell’s stopexch script to do this.

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I did this for 2 reasons. First, with Exchange stopped, no email would be flowing into the server. Secondly, I figured that with the Information store unmounted, it would be in a more consistent state when Disk2VHD did a VSS snapshot of the Data volume where the Exchange store was located. I don’t use SharePoint on my server, but if I did, I would have stopped the SharePoint services as well.

Disk2VHD – 1st Attempt

So I opened up Disk2VHD on the SBS 2003 server and prepared to run the conversion. Initially, I decided that instead of converting the 320GB Raid One array to a single VHD, I would save each partition to a separate VHD file to allow for future expansion and flexibility. So I selected each partition individually and ran the conversion 3 times.

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This turned out to be a mistake. I discovered that Disk2VHD converted the whole 320GB disk to a dynamically expanding VHD, but only copied the data for the selected partition. So the first VHD had the O/S partition and 2 raw partitions, the Second VHD had a raw partition, the DATA partition and then another raw partition and the 3rd VHD had 2 raw partitions before the Apps partition. Not what I wanted at all, and something to keep in mind the next time I run the program. So I started over.

Disk2VHD – the Conversion

I hadn’t yet shut down the Physical server so I opened up Disk2VHD again. I made sure the O/S, DATA and APPS partitions were selected but not the New Volume where I was storing the new VHD file. Then I clicked the “Create” button.

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Disk2VHD will use Volume Shadow copy Services to snapshot the volumes that it will be copying.

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It then copies the data from the selected volumes:

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The Disk Export to VHD completed successfully.

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Shut Down the Physical Server

With the physical hard drive contents successfully converted to a VHD file, all that remained was to copy the file over to the Hyper-V Server:

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and then shut down the Physical Server.

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Obviously, the Physical server needed to be shut down before the Virtual Machine came online, since both machines have the same name.

In Part Two, I’ll cover creating the Virtual Machine in Hyper-V.