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P2V Converter Evaluation

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P2V Converter Evaluation - 29.Sep.2010 10:33:11 AM   


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Joined: 29.Sep.2010
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I just wanted share some recent experience with some trial and error with several P2V tools that I used to aid in the migration of of physical servers in one location to a Hyper-V multiple host environment in another.  

Scenario - Primary Objective - Data Center Centralization effort in which systems from 3 data centers in 3 different cities are to be consolidated into one data center without ample rack and environment space to accommodate all physical systems. 

Secondary Objective - Relocate and establish new D/R environment for primary data center to different physical location/city

OK 1st thing to denote is this was HUGE operation with lots of people involved.  I won't spend too much time on the logistics but I will draw attention to best practices and alternative implementation methods that proved successful.

1. Microsoft SysInternals - Disk2VHD

Pros - Online Conversion, Free, non resource intensive
Cons - poor HAL translation (e.g. I received a lot of blue screens and had to revert to safe mode to repair the VMs)

2.  Citrix XenConverter

Pros - Online Conversion, Free, non resource intensive
Cons - Few options to modify the operation

This proved to be by far the most reliable tool we used.  Especially when performing a V2V or conversion from .vmdk to .vhd


Pros - Free, Easy to use
Cons - VM has to be offline - slow conversion process

We had a few VMWARE servers that needed to be converted to Hyper-V and this tool was lifesaver in thos situations.

4.  Hyper-V Live Migration

Pros - Native to Hyper-V
Cons - requires SCVMM trial or licensed version

I am still not a fan of this method because unlike Vmotion from VMWare you will experience network interruptions to the VM especially if you have not configured your networking to use a different network path for migration from the management LAN.  In Clustered Shared Volume environments this method is great but if you have stand alone hosts with non shared storage it is not 100% reliable.

The biggest challenge we faced was storage space for all those converted VMs and bandwidth for moving them from one site to the other.   A trip to Fry's for some SATA and USB hard drives solved the issue along with some next day shipping and late nights.  I have plenty of other stories to tell about this project as it is starting to wind down and move into another phase but this should help you out if you are looking at some P2V tools and have to try them out in the wild yet.

Post #: 1
RE: P2V Converter Evaluation - 29.Sep.2010 7:46:23 PM   
Scott Lowe


Posts: 444
Joined: 13.May2010
Status: offline
Wayne -

This is great information! Thank you for sharing it.

You mentioned that you're not a big fan of this method because of the necessary downtime and potential network issues that can arise.

For large-scale P2V operations like the one you outlined, what would you do to achieve the primary consolidation goal? Is there some other method you would have rather used?


(in reply to thehutch)
Post #: 2
RE: P2V Converter Evaluation - 31.Dec.2010 11:00:20 PM   
Scott Lowe


Posts: 444
Joined: 13.May2010
Status: offline

Have you used any P2V tools for this purpose: Every so often, creating an "image" of critical infrastructure in order to keep a lab/dev/test environment running as similar to production as possible?

i.e. P2V (or V2V) production domain controllers, SharePoint servers, etc into a sandbox.


(in reply to thehutch)
Post #: 3

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