SyApps
Contributor
Contributor

So how much trouble do you typically have bringing up a server after its been P2V'd using VMware Converter?

The last two weekends were hell for us. This weekend went more smoothly after making changes. I was wondering who else has trouble bringing up VM's in ESXi 4 after they have been convertered from P2V using Converter.

We had a number of physical servers, each with 100+ GB primary drives and at leaste one 100+ GB secondary drive, that we needed to P2V over the weekend. The conversion process for servers with that much capacity was well over two hours. Then downloading them off the SAN to local destination was a little over an hour. Finally, moving them and uploading them again to their new SAN on the new network and new environment took another couple of hours each. We learned quickly that going past the P2V without first bringing it up in its original environment was a big time wasting mistake.

The size of the servers warranted the use of dynamic features and the drive resizing features in Converter. However each time we attempted to use the compression feature in the converter, the server would BSOD when bringing it up in the VMware. This really concerned us the first weekend and we had to back out of the project the first weekend to grab more space on our SAN to accomodate the original HD (now vmdk) sizes.

How often does resizing the HD in VMware Converter Standalone work for you guys? I've had success with it before this project, but this weekend it simply wouldn't cooperate. We couldn't use it or the server would BSOD.


Thoughts?

Always a big thanks to the community in advance! Dan Lee
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12 Replies
ThompsG
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

Wow, sounds like you had some fun. Obviously mileage will vary but we P2V'd 390 servers resizing the drive on all of them with very little issue. The only problem we had was with the changing SCSI controller which would cause the server to BSOD, mainly Windows 2000 servers. To resolve this issue we used a CD that injected the SCSI drivers into the server after conversion to virtual and continued on. I'll try to find a link to this if you want?

Kind regards,

Glen

ThompsG
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

We had a number of physical servers, each with 100+ GB primary drives and at leaste one 100+ GB secondary drive, that we needed to P2V over the weekend. The conversion process for servers with that much capacity was well over two hours. Then downloading them off the SAN to local destination was a little over an hour. Finally, moving them and uploading them again to their new SAN on the new network and new environment took another couple of hours each.


Sorry to do this to you but why the extra steps? i.e. why the need to download to local and then upload to new array?

Just wondering why you cannot simply P2V directly to the new array?

Kind regards,

Glen

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DSTAVERT
Immortal
Immortal

The disk resize option basically does a file by file copy from the source to a blank vmdk in the destination.

-- David -- VMware Communities Moderator
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SyApps
Contributor
Contributor

Thanks for the quick reply and the link Glen,

I can look at the logs and the links that I had from a few weeks ago and see if I can find anything that gives a more specific reason for the BSOD. We were thinking it might be a SCSI issue but found that taking the time to repair Windows was a big help and didn't give SCSI much thought after that. We tried a number of things, but even though repairs fixed some of the servers, they did not fix them all and I wouldn't let production servers go live unless they were converted without error.

Let me run through my documentation and see if I can get specifics on the errors we were running into, but this thread was really just a mini poll to see how much frustration people have using the Converter tool in general. Thanks for your additions.

Always a big thanks to the community in advance! Dan Lee
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SyApps
Contributor
Contributor

Glen wrote:

We had a number of physical servers, each with 100+ GB primary drives and at leaste one 100+ GB secondary drive, that we needed to P2V over the weekend. The conversion process for servers with that much capacity was well over two hours. Then downloading them off the SAN to local destination was a little over an hour. Finally, moving them and uploading them again to their new SAN on the new network and new environment took another couple of hours each.


Sorry to do this to you but why the extra steps? i.e. why the need to download to local and then upload to new array?

Just wondering why you cannot simply P2V directly to the new array?

Kind regards,

Glen

Distance.

The physical servers were in one datacenter in one city. We P2V'd them, brought them up to check and see if they were working in the vmware environment local to the physical servers. If they were OK then we moved them off the SAN and sent them across the intertubes to their new datacenter in a new city and brought them up there. I will say, if they came up OK in their source environemnt, they came up OK in their destination environment. That was a relief. Moving that much data via FTP on a weekend and not knowing if it was going to come up OK when it got there wasn't something we had to worry about.

Sorry to confuse some of you with the last few steps there. I should have explained better.

Always a big thanks to the community in advance! Dan Lee
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DSTAVERT
Immortal
Immortal

Are you removing old physical device drivers and any software specific to hardware devices? Those can be a real pain.

you need to run the following at the command line.

set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1

devmgmt.msc

In device manager select View and "Show Hidden devices".

-- David -- VMware Communities Moderator
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SyApps
Contributor
Contributor

David Stavert wrote:

Are you removing old physical device drivers and any software specific to hardware devices? Those can be a real pain.

you need to reun the following at the command line.

set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1

devmgmt.msc

In device manager selece View and "Show Hidden devices.

Which command line are you speaking of? I can't get into the command line using ESXi 4. Can I? I've always just used the vCenter tools to do things like browse the datastore and whatnot. Never knew command line on ESXi 4 was accessible.

Always a big thanks to the community in advance! Dan Lee
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ThompsG
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

Hi,

David is referring to removing the old hardware devices from the converted machine, i.e. inside the guest. This improves the stability and speed of the virtual machines after conversion in our experience.

Thanks,

Glen

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ThompsG
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

Sweet. Totally understand the reasons now.

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DSTAVERT
Immortal
Immortal

Windows command line. You may need to disable some drivers from the Windows recovery console first before you can boot. Also during the P2V conversion did you change the controller type to buslogic at the last step (edit settings)?

-- David -- VMware Communities Moderator
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continuum
Immortal
Immortal

> but this thread was really just a mini poll to see how much frustration  people have using the Converter tool in general

Hi - I hang around a lot in the converter section and I can tell you that many folks share your experience.

The trick with Converter is to know what not to try as it will fail very probably ...
It is also very time saving if you know which Converter to use for which task

If you still think "latest is the greatest" you will have some frustration soon 😉

In my experience the most frustration reducing factor is to understand that P2V is a two steps process.
Once you understood that you can safe time as then you will be ready to use ghost for example for the imaging part and Converter 3.0.3 for the patching part.s

Users that think "this must work in one step as it is advertised like that" will have the most problems 😉

Also most bluescreen problems of a "failed" imports can be fixed if you have some basic knowhow with a good coldclone CD and a win7 rescue CD.

When I do a P2V nowadays and the VM does not boot  and shows a BSOD instead I am not worried at all - and usually do not have to repeat the imaging.

------------------------------edit-----------------------
interesting ... when I posted this the last 5 answers where not visible ?

Do you need support with a recovery problem ? - send a message via skype "sanbarrow"
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ThompsG
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

Hi,

Here are the promised links:

This one allows you to remove the nonpresent hardware and does a bunch of other cool stuff:

http://www.kendrickcoleman.com/index.php?/Tech-Blog/vm-advanced-iso-v02.html

And this one allows you to fix the virtual machine if it cannot boot due to the SCSI driver missing. I have used the Fix-VMSCSI with great success:

http://www.rtfm-ed.co.uk/vmware-content/ultimate-p2v/

Let me know if you have any trouble with this and I could always upload the ISO. Size is ~200MB

Kind regard.