Thursday, September 23, 2010

P2V – Part One

Everybody knows that the ideal machine, is a clean machine where the workload are newly installed and configured.
But sometimes you need to do a conversion of a physical server to a virtual server (P2V).
It`s supposed to be a simple process, but it can result in late nights and a lot of coffee if you skip the planning process.

Conversion tip 1:

Prepare for downtime since the conversion is making a copy of your Physical machine.
Even though you could run an Online conversion, you should not let the source be ‘online’ for connections during the conversion. In practical, you are running an online backup of your physical machine, so if its accessible for your users, the data you convert will be outdated.
If you convert a machine running SQL server in your network, you might want to stop your SQL server engine during conversion, or simply deny the traffic with the firewall.

Conversion tip 2:

Have you checked your network and storage requirements ?
If you don’t have enough storage for your vm, you will have a problem. Check the disk size on the source before conversion.
The conversion brings a heavy load to your network, even though it`s using BITS. Do not run a conversion during peak performance. Consider performing the conversion on a dedicated network.
Also consider if you can convert your physical machine to a virtual machine with dynamic disks, and convert the disks to Fixed afterwards. This will result in a quicker conversion. (But the conversion from dynamic to fixed can only be performed when the vm is off. Again: prepare for some downtime)

Conversion tip 3:

Select your migration candidates in order of importance. Test the conversion on your non-business-critical workloads before your LOB server. You will get the experience, and clear some ‘gotchas’ before the ‘real’ conversions starts.

Conversion tip 4:

Assign more resources to your vm. The great benefit of virtualization, is that you can assign extra ‘hw’ to your vms more easily.  

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