After posting the other day about my plans to migrate my physical blog server to a virtual server I had a comment asking if I was planning to document the process. Well the migration is all done and it went really smoothly.
I used VMWare's (beta) VMWare Converter to accomplish the task. Before I started I backed up the source server. This took about 5 hours but if I hadn't then I'm sure it would of all gone to hell in a handbasket. After that I stopped some of the services (and set them to manual) on the source server to prevent inbound traffic during the import.
After that I installed VMWare Converter onto a Windows 2003 Server that is alreadly running VMWare Server. After installing I launched VMWare converter. Basically from there I just clicked on Import Machine button and followed my nose.
This kicks off a wizard (of course) to import a machine in to VMWare Server.
I started off by specifying that I wanted to import a Physical computer. As you can see there are also options to import other VMWare formats, Microsoft's VirtualPC and Virtual Server and Backup Exec System Recovery Images. Pretty cool.
To import a Physical Machine the source machine needs to be powered on. In the wizard you specify the machine that you want to import and provide credentials for that machine.
After that you can chose which disks to import and whether or not to resize them. The default is to import all the disks at their current sizes, which is what I did.
You then provide details of the target. The only option I had was to import to a stand alone VM.
After that you specify where to create the machine. This needs to be a UNC path that is accessible to both machines. I shared the "Virtual Machines" folder on my VMWare server box and specified the path to that share. By default it will use the credentials you specified to connect to the source server, but you can change this by clicking the Connect As.. button.
When creating the disks I opted to allocate the space now - having the contiguous disk space prevents fragmentation of the vmdk and gives much better performance from the virtual disk.
From there it is pretty easy - for each NIC in the physical machine a virtual NIC will be created. I skipped the customisation step, so I can't comment on that. The import took about 2 hours to import a machine that was about 30GB in size across a 100Mb switched network. After the copy completed it was simply a matter of opening the machine in VMWare Server, powering on the VM and restarting the services. It was that easy.