SiliconDragon
Contributor
Contributor

Advice request - converting Win2008 server to an ESXi box

I have upgraded my servers and consolidated them onto a single bigger box* which currently has Windows Server 2008 as a domain controller (DC). I've used VMWare Server for years on my older boxes but am considering the idea of converting the existing DC to a VM running under ESXi, then importing my former VMs as new VMs on this ESXi box.

I see no blocking issues, but would appreciate any advice you more senior people care to offer. For example:

1. Is the idea valid?

2. Is an ESX-based box a better route? If so, why?

3. Would it be preferable redeploying the Server 2008 box to a lower-grade standalone box and keeping the DC off of the ESXi box?

All thoughts are welcome and appreciated!

  • The new server has a Supermicro H8DME8-2 motherboard with dual 2000-series Opterons, 16GB ECC RAM.

PS Mine is a startup home-based company. That's a pretty motivating factor in consolidating to a single box. Smiley Happy

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5 Replies
DSTAVERT
Immortal
Immortal

Make absolutely sure that your hardware (ALL of it) is on the compatibility list.

ESXi is a far better platform for production servers. It is an OS dedicated to virtualization.VMware Server sits on top of a general purpose OS. Because it is dedicated ESXidoes not support the same range of hardware as a general purpose OS hense the first line in the post.

Adding the DC to an ESXi server will not be an issue. There may be reasons not to do it but for your size they wouldn't apply.

I would however want to have something as a fallback. Only having a single server for all your virtual machines says you will be very vulnerable to hardware failure. Even if the fallback is off sitting in a closet.

-- David -- VMware Communities Moderator
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dab
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

... considering the idea of converting the existing DC to a VM running under ESXi, then importing my former VMs as new VMs on this ESXi box.Do not convert your DC, just setup another temporary DC in the domain and build your new virtual DC from scratch. There alot of poeple arround which tried to convert a DC without success.

Daniel

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SiliconDragon
Contributor
Contributor

Thanks, I appreciate the advice. HCL... I even googled a few instances of people with the same hardware and even a couple instances of people with my same motherboard.

You're right on with the DC...my network's fairly small, just needs to be high speed, and that it is. Everything's RAID-5'd, too, plus partition-imaged to an archive for easy restoring should something fail. Actually, it becomes easier to do with virtual hard drives than it does actual partitions, but I'm covered either way.

Sounds like my plan's solid, then, but I think I'll rebuild the DC as a VM rather than trying to port it, since abbeggled's tip on people's DC-port failures. I can just create a 2nd DC, promote it and drop the 1st, then rebuild the 1st as a VM and do the DC trick in reverse. (I've done that a few times over the years for clients that also have smaller networks with single DCs.)

Now it's time for testing everything, so thx again for the help, you guys...it's greatly appreciated!

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DSTAVERT
Immortal
Immortal

People have problems when they have multiple DC's they have problems resyncing. Since you have one it isn't a problem. That said it isn't a bad thing to create a new DC but you will need to go through the process of transferring all the FSMO roles.

-- David -- VMware Communities Moderator
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dab
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

but you will need to go through the process of transferring all the FSMO roles.

Thanks for this important info, I've forgot this to say as it's normal for me since i'm doing such migration often for my customers also ...

Good luck SiliconDragon!

Daniel

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