Vodder
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Migrating VMware Server 1.0.1 VM's to SAN attached ESX 3.5

Hi,

I'm about to undertake a project to migrate a number of VM's running on VMware Server 1.0.1 on a Windows 2003 machine to an ESX host 3.5. Now originally this seemed quite straight forward, however the VM's on the Vmware Server box are huge. Here's the break down of how it is setup as this will explain things clearer.

Windows 2003 host running VMware Server 1.0.1, Windows 2003 is installed to local disk.

This is attached to an HP MSA1000 SAN with 3.6TB of storage. This is spanned across 2 NTFS dynamic disks, one of 2048GB and the other of 1584GB. There is approx 1.4TB free.

There are 9 separate VM's, each allocated a number of virtual disks between 50GB and 200GB each, these are flat VMDK files.

Originally my plan was to import these VM's and their VMDK files to a separate ESX 3.5 setup using VMware Converter Enterprise, rebuild the 2003 server running VMware Server as an ESX 3.5 host, reallocate the MSA1000 SAN Disks as VMFS 3 and then import the old VM's back into the new ESX host and place the VM's disks back onto the MSA1000 SAN.

Now after looking at this with all the information (I only joined the project last week) I have a couple of isses with it that I need help and advice on:

  • Transferring this amount of data across the network surely is going to take an age? Yes it will happen out of hours but everything would have to happen in one weekend. It may be possible to have one weekend doing the transfer one way and then the transfer back the following weekend for arguement sake.

  • I am 200GB short of the space needed on the current ESX host SAN so transferring over the network is going to take some planning!.

  • One way around it would be to try and transfer the individual VMDK files to external disk but this doesn't seem practical for so much data.

  • Is it possible if the local disk, once ESX has been installed on it to be seen by the ESX host and then import the VM's? Would the NTFS partition on the MSA1000 SAN not have to be upgraded to VMFS3? Is that possible without losing the data?

  • I'm going to guess that you couldn't use the free 1.4TB, make that VMFS3 and then transfer the data in bit by bit, shrking the NTFS partition and growing the VMFS one - surely that would just about kill the SAN and probably the data too?

Any help would be greatly appreciated as I'll think you'll agree this isn't quite straight forward and the data that the current VM's on VMware Server are using as been allowed to grow and grow without thinking about the upgrade path.

Thanks,

Tim

@timgleed | VCAP5-DCA/DCD | VCAP4-DCA/DCD | VCP5 | VCP4 | VCP3 | VCP4-DT | VCA4-DT | VTSP4 | MCITP | PRINCE2 | ITIL | BSc Hons
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6 Replies
alanrenouf
VMware Employee
VMware Employee

Wow, id say your going to need some 48 hour days here !

The only way I know of doing this (someone else will probably know more) is as you said, moving all your current VM's over to some diefferent storage, then rebuilding your server, formatiting the MSA1000 as VMFS3 and importing the machines back.

Sorry and good luck - Who needs sleep anyway!?!

Blog: http://virtu-al.net Twitter: http://twitter.com/alanrenouf Co-author of the PowerCLI Book: http://powerclibook.com
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fejf
Expert
Expert

As alanrenouf already said I think you don't have a chance without another external storage because it is not possible to convert a NTFS-FileSystem to VMFS3. Perhaps try to borrow some "test equipment" from you SAN supplier for some weeks to get around this issue. Or use a Linux-Box with an iSCSI target (or NFS Server) and "cheap" sata disks as temporary storage.

--

There are 10 types of people. Those who understand binary and the rest. And those who understand gray-code.

-- There are 10 types of people. Those who understand binary and the rest. And those who understand gray-code.
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khughes
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

The only thing I can think of is trying to either get some side equipment to help ease the transfer or beef out your host box with a ton of local storage to host it on before you rebuild your san. A side left field crazy idea (which I wouldn't exactly recommend) is to convert the less critical VMs them to local storage then off load them to a lets say 1-2TB external drive or tape via a backup program like esxpress or ranger then restore them onto a rebuilt SAN.

Sounds like one of those puzzels where you have one empty space and you have to move all the pieces around in all different directions to make it a complete picture. Wish you the best of luck =/

- Kyle

-- Kyle "RParker wrote: I guess I was wrong, everything CAN be virtualized "
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kjb007
Immortal
Immortal

Do you have an additonal server with some HBA's and 2-300 GB of space on it? You could hook it up to the MSA, load ESX on it, and convert the vm's on the smaller volume to the local disk of the new server. Then re-create the smaller LUN into a VMFS and start porting over your vm's. With the smaller LUN, you'll still need a 3-400 GB's of space, but it may be easier to move that off and back on, as opposed to the entire thing, and moving san to san is much faster than san to lan.

-KjB

vExpert/VCP/VCAP vmwise.com / @vmwise -KjB
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Vodder
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Thanks everyone - will let you know how I get on. Looks like its going to be a ix of migrating some to the other SAN I ahve access to and some to local storage just to give me enough room to do it. Thankfully as it turns out the business involved doesn't want it all doing in one weekend!!

Cheers

Tim

@timgleed | VCAP5-DCA/DCD | VCAP4-DCA/DCD | VCP5 | VCP4 | VCP3 | VCP4-DT | VCA4-DT | VTSP4 | MCITP | PRINCE2 | ITIL | BSc Hons
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admin
Immortal
Immortal

If you expect the BIG VM's to grow ensure you select the correct block size for your VMFS partitions, just that it caught me out a bit back.

It might also be worth engaging with Server/Service owners as many tend to leave lots of "rubbish" on the drives....housekeeping exercise <gives them something to do I guess Smiley Wink >.

you might find this saves you alot of time also.

Good Luck

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