My P2V Conversion Guide

Hey all!

I’m on an engagement with a client that includes a dozen or so hard-to-p2v physical servers. I’m sure I’ll have other posts as I work through the issues, but one of the Jr. Administrators on their staff asked if I had a best practices or how to guide for successful P2V’s.

So to add to the web pile of guides on this subject, I bring you my take on virtualizing existing servers!

Prerequisites for this guide:

  • VMware vCenter Converter Standalone application. Available from VMware.com
  • A central server to perform conversions
  • a VMware vSphere cluster with sufficient resources for converted machine(s)

General Recommendations:

  • Virtualizing a Domain Controller with converter is not recommended.
  • If attempting to virtualize a database server, stop all database services prior to conversion.
  • Disable any AV before conversion
  • Remove any unused applications or old, unneeded data
  • Write out all IP information for the source server
  • If a conversion fails, try installing converter directly on the physical machine.
  • Use the physical machines Administrator account to minimize permissions issues
  • If security is not of paramount importance, disable SSL in the converter to greatly increase conversion speed:
    C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware vCenter Converter\converter-client.xml. set useSsl to false
  • On the source machine, disable advanced NIC feature TCP Chimney (One of the TOE settings):
    netsh int tcp set global chimney=disabled

The Act of Converting:

  1. Open the VMware vCenter Converter Standalone application:
    p2v-1

  2. When the window opens, click ‘Convert Machine’:
    p2v-2

  3. On the first page of the Conversion wizard, select you source type and put in the IP/Hostname and admin credentials for the server being P2V’d:
    p2v-3

  4. The converter is agent-based. When it connects to the server, it asks how you want the agent uninstalled. The default is fine:
    p2v-4
  5. Deploying agent…:
    p2v-5
  6. Once complete, you need to enter the information for vCenter:
    p2v-6

  7. This screen determines the name of the final machine and its location:
    p2v-7
  8. The next page determines the host/cluster, datastore and hardware version of the VM:
    p2v-8

  9. I don’t normally modify any of the option on this screen. I’d rather do them to the VM after a successful conversion:
    p2v-9

  10. Last chance to turn back! Click ‘Finish’ on the summary page:
    p2v-10

  11. Monitor progress:
    p2v-11.1
    p2v-11.2

  12. Start up with no networking (Our original machine is still running):
    p2v-12

After the conversion:

  • Start machine with network disconnected
  • Start machine in safe mode
  • Remove any unnecessary programs that were hardware specific (Like Dell OMSA)
  • Restart machine in normal mode (Still with a disconnected NIC)
  • Remove hardware specific Drivers (Such as a Broadcom NIC)
  • Remove non-present devices in Device Manager
  • Install VMware Tools
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