Best Practices for P2V Migrations

Best Practices for P2V Migrations

September 22

Now that we know virtualization is awesome and can help businesses save money, you might be thinking of migrating your physical machine to a virtual one.

It might actually be a good time to consider it: Redmond Magazine reported last month that Microsoft was going to put out a third version of its Virtual Machine Converter later this year. One of the free tool’s new features will be support for physical to virtual conversions.

In case that’s you, Robert Burges, a virtualization and cloud computing expert, laid out his best two methods for your P2V migration: Microsoft Sysinternals Disk4vhd utility (free) and System Center Virtual Machine Manager. He described the differences between the two as the Disk2vhd only converting physical drives to virtual disks, but will not build a virtual machine or any configuration.

On the other hand, the SCVMM will do everything and you will perform the tasks to get there via a wizard. He goes into detail on his web page about how to do all of that.

Rick Vanover, writing for TechRepublic, offered up some other options for P2V. He recommended another free tool called VMware Converter Standalone. Vanover gives some tips on “avoiding the gotchas,” which include identifying anything associated with an interface or IP address; check out disk names; stop applications you don’t need; and test it before you do the full migration.

PluralSight wrote a blog about some of the efficient ways to use the VMware Converter, including how to do the migration on both hot and cold machines.

Vanover, this time writing for TechTarget, went over some licensing considerations.

During the migration, there is a chance the virtualization will result in “more instances of your operating system” than you began with. He recommends checking to see if the original operating system is retired and not being used by a physical system for something else.

To manage that better, he advises limiting the TCP/IP addresses that the virtual host can use.

“This doesn’t enforce duplicate licensing situations, however,” he wrote. “This is one area where the follow-through of your virtualization project is critically important to maintain your licensing compliance.”

Another good tool for migrating physical to virtual is StorageCraft’s Shadow Protect 5. It enables users to back up and recover any Windows server, desktop or laptop.

For migration, the Backup Wizard, Restore Wizard, Image Conversion Tool and StorageCraft Hardware Independent Restore technology let you:

  • Migrate a backup image from one physical machine to another.
  • Migrate a backup image from one virtual environment to another.
  • Migrate a backup image of a physical machine to a virtual environment.
  • Migrate a backup image of a virtual environment to a physical machine.

For those looking for another efficient method, Vision Solutions claims that its process can be done in real time with zero down time, which is probably good given that most businesses can’t afford to have production equipment be down for long.

If you do decide this is the right thing for you, there are lots of planning tools that you can use to make sure business isn’t interrupted too badly. You can download a conversion info sheet from the VMAdmin website. Microsoft also makes one.

Good luck!

Photo credit: TomvdW via Deviant Art