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thuwjones
Contributor
Contributor

Unable to run VM's on ESXi but work on Workstation

Hello,

Due to old equipment reliability, I'm trying to convert a physical Windows 2000 machine to run as a VM. There are three machines I need to convert in total. I have managed to get all three machines running as VM's in Workstation 16. I used Converter v4.0.1 to virtualise the machines. VM Tools is installed.

I've recently received a Dell server running ESXi 6.5 that I intend to use to host all three machines. Unfortunately, I'm unable to get any of the converted machines to run on the ESXi server. 

I have seen and read KB1012258 where instructions are supplied on how to export from Workstation to ESXi, however I'm unable to connect the host Workstation to the ESXi server due to IT restrictions. 

I've tried converting to an OVF file from Workstation. When I imported into ESXi it came up with a disk read error.

I tried using the change hardware compatibility wizard in Workstation and made a new clone for use in ESXi6.5. Same problem - disk read error. 

The HDD controller is IDE. I tried converting a VM using SCSI as an option, but that didn't work either. ('Unsupported or invalid disk type 7)

When I convert the physical machines, I get the warning where sysprep files can't be found. Is this the cause of my problems? I have downloaded the sysprep for these machines, but following KB1005593 I can't find any reference to deploy.cab. I've run sysprep on the old machine. I'm hoping that the fact the VM runs on Workstation means that the sysprep isn't so important?

I'd appreciate any pointers! I'm not experienced with this type of work, so please go easy... 🙂 

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3 Replies
NateNateNAte
Hot Shot
Hot Shot

I haven't done a P2V with W2k in a long time, but that worked best with ESX 3.5 last time I really did that work (so it's been a while).  If you're getting things working in Workstation, and these W2k machines are honestly really needed, then you may want to consider containers, versus just VMs.  Containers would also allow you to address the serious security considerations that exist with maintaining that OS. 

The VM calls for OS support libraries likely no longer support W2k (I think it would have been dropped after ESXi 5.x, but it could have been earlier).

Here's a useful starting point for 'why containers', and yes, it will require additional infrastructure to run the container....but again, it depends on how critical those old machines are.

https://tanzu.vmware.com/developer/learningpaths/secure-software-supply-chain/how-can-containers-hel...

 

thuwjones
Contributor
Contributor

Thanks for the reply. Unfortunately, I have to keep these old OS' running for a couple of years yet. The system is going to get upgraded but is a large project, hence the estimated two year timescale!

 

I will have a look at getting an earlier version of ESXi, although I guess I might have issues with compatibility with the Dell server hardware. If that fails, I will look into containers - if I can get my brain around it! 😂 Only just getting used to VM's!

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NateNateNAte
Hot Shot
Hot Shot

Totally understand that challenge on the hardware compatibility, and the need to run older OS's.  VM isolation is helpful there, but think of it this way: a VM abstracts the hardware issues, but provides OS (ESXi) interaction.  Containers are really just another layer of abstraction, where they abstract the host OS as well, so in theory a W2k server/workstation can run in total isolation, not knowing it's running on 2020's HW and OS's.  

At least you have a project time frame to get those hopefully upgraded and migrated off of W2k.  Assuming you can take one of several tracks there: successive migration of the apps from W2k, to Server 2008, 2012, 2016, etc.  Or a wholesale re-write of the apps (to address OS and HW calls in the app services to run.  Or 'containerizing' the W2k stuff, running it in Tanzu (native to VMware) or Docker or RedHat container runtimes (all of which can also run in a vmware infrastructure).  

There are a LOT of good container resources out there.

Good luck!

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