Posted tagged ‘P2V’

P2V Conversion of an SBS 2003 Server–Part Five

April 10, 2011

Part Five – Last Tweaks and We’re Running

This is the last post in 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 Three – First Run Tweaking the Server VM

 Part Four – Second Run Tweaking the Server VM

Last Tweaks

When the server reboots for this third run, we again get warnings about service failures. We need to investigate those.

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When we log in, the Windows Product activation warning also appears. We’ll take care of that later. Click the No button.

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So the first thing to do after we get the server desktop is to open the services MMC and check to make sure the services that are set to open automatically are started. Perhaps we’ll find the cause of the service failure warning?

Click first in the status column and then in the start-up column. Any service that is set to start automatically but isn’t started will be at the top of the list. The only services that aren’t running are “Performance Logs and Alerts” and “Microsoft .net Framework 4”. That’s typical on an SBS 2003 box. So what caused the service failure warning? Time to check the event log.

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Checking the System event log shows that the only failing service was the “Parallel port driver service”.

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This is pretty common with modern servers, both physical and virtual. They just don’t put parallel ports in them any more. There are two ways to correct this, depending on whether you’re a GUI or command line type. In the GUI, open regedit and navigate to HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Parport. Change the value of the “Start” DWORD to “4”.

third run 1c parport svcs registry

Or from a command prompt type:

sc config parport start= disabled (make sure there is a space between “start=” and “disabled”).

third run 1d parport command

Configuring the SBS 2003 Backup

So other than the parallel port issue, all the regular  SBS 2003 services are started and running correctly. Now we need to turn out attention to the backup. I was previously using a USB hard drive connected to the server  as a destination for the built-in SBS Backup. You can’t connect a USB drive directly to a Hyper-V Guest. Windows Virtual PC has that capability, but not Hyper-V. However, you can attached the USB drive to the Host server, take it offline and then make it available to the guest O/S as a pass through disk.

After connecting the USB drive to the host Hyper-V server, open Server manager and select “Disk Management”. Locate the USB drive (in this case, it’s Disk 3). Right click on the left side of the disk and select “Offline”.

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Now go into Hyper-V Manager, select the Virtual Machine and then in the Action Pane, click “Settings”. When the settings dialog box opens, locate and click on the SCSI controller. Make sure “Hard Drive” is highlighted (it’s the only choice) and then click the ‘Add” button.

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Select “Physical hard disk:” and then select the USB drive from the drop down list. Press the “OK” button.

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I should point out that the ability to do this “hot add” of a SCSI Hard disk to a running VM is a function of Hyper-V R2. If you are running the non-R2 version of Hyper-V, you will have to shut down the machine in order to perform the step above.

So now that the USB Drive has been configured as a pass-through disk, we can open My Computer and confirm that it’s available to the O/S. It show up as Drive K: with a volume label of “Comstar250A”. That’s the drive letter and volume label it had when it was connected to the physical server.

third run 2b usb drive shows in VM

So now that the backup drive is present, we can run a backup and make sure it works. Open Server Management on the SBS Server, click on Backup on the left column and then click “Backup Now”. The SBS Backup starts running.

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Make sure the backup completes successfully.

Run the SBS 2003 BPA

As a further test to make sure the server is running properly, I ran the SBS 2003 Best Practices Analyzer. It was already installed on my server. It’s available for download from Microsoft here. The  results of the scan on my server were acceptable with only two warning items. Both of these can be safely ignored.

third run 2d sbs bpa scan

Activate the Server

Having confirmed that the server is running properly in the new virtual environment, it was time for me to activate the server. I am running the Action Pack version of SBS 2003, so moving the license to different hardware is allowed in the Eula. If this was an oem copy, it would probably still work, but it would be running in violation of the oem license agreement.

If this was only being done for a test run of a migration, the 3 days that you are allowed to run the server before having to activate it may be enough. I did a test migration to SBS 2008 last year using essentially the same technique and I managed to complete it with the 3 days.

Click on the Activation Icon in the bottom right corner of the screen.

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The Activate Windows box opens. I chose to activate over the internet which is usually the easiest option.

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I chose not to register with Microsoft.

third run 3a register

I have successfully activated my copy of Windows.

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Conclusion

The server has performed flawlessly as a VM since it was converted in late February 2011. In fact, the performance seems better than it was on the Physical Hardware. This is despite the fact that I am still running with the dynamically expanding virtual hard drive that Disk2VHD created. I have read that the performance of a dynamically expanding VHD in Hyper-V R2 is not significantly different than a fixed size disk, but I haven’t tested this yet.

I am getting ready to test a migration to SBS 2011 using the Microsoft Migration method. Having the server in a virtual environment already means I can simply copy the VHD and spin up another VM in an isolated network to test the migration.

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P2V Conversion of an SBS 2003 Server–Part Four

April 10, 2011

Part Four – Second Run Tweaking the Server VM

This is Part Four 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 Three – First Run Tweaking the Server VM

 Part Five – Last Tweaks and We’re Running

Second Run – Configuring the New Virtual Hardware

The server reboots and we see the warning about services failing to start. Click the OK button.

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After logging in, the Windows Product Activation Warning comes up. Click the No button – we still aren’t ready to activate.

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This time there are some different errors. UPSMON_Service.exe crashed and the display resolution is set very low. The UPSMON crash is caused by an incomplete removal of the UPS software. Don’t send the error report – we don’t have an internet connection yet. But go ahead and adjust the resolution.

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To take care of the UPSMONService error, go into the services MMC and change the UPSMONService Startup type to disabled and then click the OK button.

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Non Present Device Clean-Up

There will be a number of hardware devices that were part of the original physical hardware that are still listed in the Plug and Play Enumerator, even though they are no longer present. Most of them won’t really cause any issues but some of them can be a problem. In particular, the O/S still has the physical NIC(s) listed and there is probably still an IP address assigned to that hardware. If we are going to assign the same IP address to the virtual server that the physical server had, we’ll get a TCP/IP Warning telling us the IP address is already assigned.

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These “Phantom NICs” may come back to bite us at some point in the future, so it’s a good idea to get rid of them. Open a command prompt and type the following two lines:

Set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1

Start devmgmt.msc

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It’s important to type both commands into the command prompt rather than just starting Device Manager from the GUI. That’s because the “devmgr” environment variable that we just set will only apply to programs that are launched from the command prompt environment.

When Device Manager opens, click on View and then “Show Hidden Devices”

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Expand Network Adapters and we can see the Phantom NIC. Non-Present devices show with a fainter colored icon than devices which are present. Click on the Non-Present NIC and then click the Uninstall button.

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Click the OK button in the Confirm Device Removal warning box. The RAS Async Adapter gave an error when I tried to remove it, so I left it there.

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Now at this point, depending on how anal you are about having a clean device manager, you can continue removing other non-present devices in other categories. For example, there is actually only one Disk Drive present in the server at the moment. All the other entries are from the various internal and external hard drives as well as USB sticks that had been plugged into the physical server over its lifetime. I’m fairly anal so I removed most of them. It’s a bit of a tedious job since the non-present devices must be removed one at a time. When we’re finished (or fed up removing phantom devices one by one), close Device Manager.

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Now that the Phantom NIC(s) are gone, Open the Properties of the Local Area Connection and the double click Internet Protocol (TCP/IP).

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Enter the server’s Fixed IP Address information. In my case, this was the same address that the physical server had used. I had no reason to change it, and by using the same address for the virtual server that was replacing the physical server, I didn’t have to adjust the router.

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Now that the Network card has the correct IP address, we can connect the virtual Machine to a virtual network so that it can communicate with the rest of the network. On the Virtual Machine Connection Window, Click File>Settings.

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Click on the Network Adapter in the hardware column and then select the appropriate virtual network from the drop down list on the right. I have several virtual networks on my Hyper-V server, including some isolated networks I use for testing. I connected this machine to the production network since it was replacing my production server. Click the OK button.

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To confirm network connectivity, we can ping some hosts on the network, or open Internet Explorer and confirm we have Internet Access.

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At this point I chose to reboot the server. I probably could have kept going, but I wanted to give everything a chance to start up from a clean boot.

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In Part Five, I’ll cover the Last Tweaks to the server O/S, as well as configuring and testing the SBS backup to run in a Virtual Environment.

P2V Conversion of an SBS 2003 Server–Part Three

April 10, 2011

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

April 10, 2011

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

April 10, 2011

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.