paulgami
Contributor
Contributor

Exchange 2000 and DC will fail, correct?

I have a single Windows 2000 Server SP4 machine I'd like to "p2v". It is the only domain controller for its own domain, serves DNS and DHCP along with Exchange. I was about to embark upon converting it to a VM image using vmware converter 3 but after reading these forums I'm glad I haven't yet started. From what I read, the converter doesn't convert domain controllers and doesn't convert exchange servers. Is that right?

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8 Replies
asatoran
Immortal
Immortal

That is not correct. Converter will convert DCs and Exchange, but the success rate is not as good as a non-DC.

I have converted single server clients. One server running DC, Exchange and SQL. But I always make a backup before doing conversion. I will backup DS and Exchange, SQL, etc to files on local drives, space permitting. Then I can run a restore quickly if necessary.

That said, for various reasons, I usually try to migrate if possible to clean VMs. A few client's with rather small networks, I P2V their single-server and it worked without having to restore, so we left it alone since there were other apps running that would be difficult to reinstall.

So it is possible, but there seems to be a small, but greater than normal chance that you'll have to restore corrupted data. I've not had a problem with this so far but, most of my clients have small networks and small data sizes so the restore times are acceptable.

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paulgami
Contributor
Contributor

Thank you for the information but I'm a little worried about how many mentions of "backup first" I'm reading on these forums. How destructive is the convertion process? If the conversion fails must I restore the server from a backup?

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oreeh
Immortal
Immortal

I never had the need to restore a server after a failed P2V - but since you'll never know ... safety first

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asatoran
Immortal
Immortal

Thank you for the information but I'm a little worried about how many mentions of "backup first" I'm reading on these forums. How destructive is the convertion process? If the conversion fails must I restore the server from a backup?

Converter does not destroy your original machine. With the exception of installing the agent, your original machine is not modified. If you cold clone, then no changes are made at all.

If the conversion fails, I will try the conversion again, but changing something, like my destination, or not changing disk size. The backup is a standard practice that everyone will mention and I believe everyone should do before doing anything to server or machine. "Just in case." Smiley Wink

Realistically, my conversion success rate is over 95%, even on single-servers. This is for hot-cloning. Cold-cloning is more like 80% if the process starts. (I'm cold cloning from Ghost/Livestate images, not from the boot CD.) Many times, it's a coin flip as to whether I'll get a "Unable to determine OS" or "ReconfigFault." But most of my hot-clones succeed without have to restore a backup. Only a couple I've had to restore DS.

So no worries, give it a try, it will not harm your original server. :smileyblush:

paulgami
Contributor
Contributor

Thank you both for your replies. I'm glad to hear people are mentioning backing up as a general best practice rule of thumb rather than because of the conversion process itself. I guess it's time to take the plunge! Wish me luck :smileygrin:

Thanks again.

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dconvery
Champion
Champion

The process installs an agent on the server to be converted. Since it is W2K, you will need to reboot because it also installs a driver. Any time you install a driver, you should back up your server. I have never seen this install go wrong and I have done many conversions, including Exchange servers.

After installing the converter software, the best bet for assurance of a "clean" conversion:

Stop the Exchange services. Then do the conversion.

Plan for some downtime. If the Exchange DB and Logs are on a SAN, use an RDM for these. If not go ahead an convert all drives.

resistance is futile..it will be assimilated.

Dave Convery, VCDX-DCV #20 ** http://www.tech-tap.com ** http://twitter.com/dconvery ** "Careful. We don't want to learn from this." -Bill Watterson, "Calvin and Hobbes"
Scottxxx
Contributor
Contributor

I know this thread is a little dated but here goes...

I'm curious, why not build a new VM from scratch, dcpromo it to a domain controller then dcpromo (demote) the original one?

This may not be what you're looking for but it should be a lot easier and less risky, especially if you only have one DC.

Note, make sure you transfer the FSMO roles to the new DC before you shut down the old one. You must be an Enterprise Admin & Schema Admin, here's how to seize the roles:

Open a command prompt and run ntdsutil. In the following steps, each line is a separate command, type:

roles

connections

connect to server <SERVERNAME>

quit

seize pdc

seize rid master

seize schema master

seize infrastructure master

seize domain naming master

quit

quit

You also need to make sure the new DC is in the correct site and that it's a Global Catalog server in AD Sites and Services / Sites / <SITE NAME> / Servers / <SERVERNAME> / NTDS Settings / Properties

......... ok, maybe this isn't the simplest process and the are a few "gotchas" but at least you can leave you're old DC intact until you prove to yourself that the new one is stable.

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asatoran
Immortal
Immortal

I know this thread is a little dated but here goes...

I'm curious, why not build a new VM from scratch, dcpromo it to a domain controller then dcpromo (demote) the original one?

Ths is what is most often recommended. And if the DC is in production and will stay in production after conversion, then this is exactly what I would do. However, I convert DCs when I want to make a copy for a dev or test environment. In those cases, I need clones of the original servers, usually very quickly. So Converter, despite the problems with DCs, when it works correctly, is what I need. On small networks, (single server) the issues with converting DCs are often not significant for testing purposes.

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