VoxMedica
Contributor
Contributor

Best practices for moving a large virtual disk from one Windows Server VM to another?

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Environment
3 HP BL460 G1 blades using an EMC NX4 for shared storage in a vSphere ESXi 4.1 cluster

Description
We currently have two file servers running Windows Server 2003 thatwe want to upgrade to Windows server 2008 R2. Both have a thick provisioned secondary virtual disk that is used exclusively for file serving. The first server’s secondary virtual disk is 500GB and the second is 1.4TB. I currently do not have the space on our SAN to bring up two new VM’s with the same storage requirements. What I was thinking of doing is bringing up the two new W2K8R2 VM’s and then disconnecting the secondary drives from the W2K3 VM’s and reconnecting them to the W2K82 VM’s. I assume the process would go like this:

  1. Un-share all shared folders and remove the secondary hard drives in Windows on both W2K3 VM’s
  2. Shut both W2K3 VM’s down and remove the secondary hard drives in vSphere
  3. Move the secondary vmdk file from each W2k3 VM folder to the folder of the W2k8R2 VM that will replace it
  4. Attach the respective secondary virtual disk to each W2K8R2 VM. Verify that it shows up in the VM OS and that file and permission data is intact
  5. Turn on the W2K3 VM’s, rename and remove them from the domain. Once finished, power both down
  6. Rename both W2K8R2 VM’s to match the name of the W2K3 VM’s they replaced, restart so the name change takes
  7. After restarting recreate and test access to shared folders

Does this sound like the proper way to go about this type of upgrade? Is there an easier way or a step I’m missing? Thanks in advanced!  

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s1xth
VMware Employee
VMware Employee

The process looks good. I am assuming that these separate VMDK data disks are NOT stored with the current VM correct? It seems like from what you are saying these are just located on separate volumes, if that is the case then yes, this process will work.

The only piece that MAY be helpful to you, I am not sure how many windows shares you have on this data volume (by the sounds of the size probably quite a few) you can just export the lanman shares registry settings from the original host and import this registry key on the new VM. Just make sure you MERGE them, and that the drive locations are the same. Done this many times this way and has worked perfectly. A lot easier then recreating shares/permissions and all that.

Hope thats some help.

Jonathan

http://www.virtualizationimpact.com http://www.handsonvirtualization.com Twitter: @jfranconi

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s1xth
VMware Employee
VMware Employee

Hello...

Well not sure if you have done this yet or not.... I see its a post from back on the Nov 23rd. If you havent I have a few ideas that you should watch out for.

Jonathan

http://www.virtualizationimpact.com http://www.handsonvirtualization.com Twitter: @jfranconi
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VoxMedica
Contributor
Contributor

I did a test move by creating a 8GB harddrive with various shares attached to a W2K3 VM and moved it to a W2K8R2 VM. The short hand notes I made are as follows:

  1. Remove all snapshots
  2. Uninstall HD and restart VM
  3. Move to proper DataStore folder
  4. Rename the VMDK via the CLIS
    1. Login to the correct blade
    2. Turn on SSH access and login
    3. Browse to the data store, eg.
      1. cd "/vmfs/volumes/NX4-SATA-RAID5-01/Intranet/"
    1. Find the VMDK in question and rename it by
      1. Vmkstools -E mail2_2.vmdk intranet_2.vmdk
      2. The Flat file will get renamed once the vmdk is renamed
    1. Verify the file was renamed by running ls- l
  5. Log out and turn off SSH mode
  6. In Vcenter add the moved disk to the new VM
  7. Goto Disk management and bring the disk online.
  8. Verify file data is intact
  9. Recreate shares

I plan to move my smaller file server (500GB) this weekend so any additional info would be greatly appreciated!

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s1xth
VMware Employee
VMware Employee

The process looks good. I am assuming that these separate VMDK data disks are NOT stored with the current VM correct? It seems like from what you are saying these are just located on separate volumes, if that is the case then yes, this process will work.

The only piece that MAY be helpful to you, I am not sure how many windows shares you have on this data volume (by the sounds of the size probably quite a few) you can just export the lanman shares registry settings from the original host and import this registry key on the new VM. Just make sure you MERGE them, and that the drive locations are the same. Done this many times this way and has worked perfectly. A lot easier then recreating shares/permissions and all that.

Hope thats some help.

Jonathan

http://www.virtualizationimpact.com http://www.handsonvirtualization.com Twitter: @jfranconi
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VoxMedica
Contributor
Contributor

Never thought to export the shares via the registry, thanks for the tip! Also these are separate VMDK's that are purely data drives and do not have any programs or OS files on them.

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s1xth
VMware Employee
VMware Employee

Awesome. You shouldn't have any issues, the registry method really makes the process go even faster. Just make sure to do a NET STOP and NET START on the Windows "server" service from the cli to get the shares/permissions to populate on the new box without rebooting etc. Should limit your downtime too.

Jonathan

http://www.virtualizationimpact.com http://www.handsonvirtualization.com Twitter: @jfranconi
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