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Windows Server Migration

Converting Physical Machines to Virtual in SCVMM

System Center Virtual Machine Manager offers an easy, wizard-driven process for virtualizing server workloads.

    IT departments are reducing their costs as well as their physical and carbon footprints by virtualizing server workloads.  In many cases, this calls for the conversion from physical machines to virtual machines. This can be accomplished very easily using the Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM), but there are several considerations and planning steps that you have to take before you start.

    The first is to determine whether you’ll need to perform your migration online or offine.  Offline can be the most reliable way to ensure consistency of data transfer, but if you can’t afford to bring your source computer down while transitioning, you’ll have to consider an online migration. SCVMM can accomplish this by creating a copy of the local NTFS volumes. It uses the Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) to handle data backup while the server remains online and available.

    Offline is the only option if you’re migrating from Windows 2000 Server.  If you’re migrating from FAT volumes, or converting domain controllers, you’ll also want to do it offline.

    Analysis and Planning

    The Virtual Machine Manager R2 Configuration Analyzer (VMMCA) will evaluate configuration settings for your selected migration candidates by scanning the hardware and software and evaluating them against a set of predefined rules.  Once that’s done, you need to make sure that all the required drivers can be found in the patch cache.

    You’ll also want to do consistency checks and defragmentation on all storage devices involved in the migration.

    You’ll then use the Convert Physical Server Wizard to invoke the New-P2V cmdlet.  The process looks something like this:

    More information on P2V migration is available from Microsoft Technet.

    Share your insights and best practices in our comments section!

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