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Converting old Win2k3 server to a VM on an N40L


wizzbang
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Hi All,

 

So I now have a spare N40L I'd like to use to replace a file server for a small business. Specs as follows:

  • N40L, 8GB RAM (non ECC)
  • RAID1 - 80GB HDD (boot drive)
  • RAID1 - 256gb Crucial M4 SSD's (VM storage drive)
  • 2TB Drive (temporary backup destination before copying to more secure location)

The plan is to whip up a script to manually shut their Win2003 server VM down once a week and do a complete, full copy of the VM which holds their OS and data (about 140gb)

There will also be routine backups performed nightly, I want to be extra careful.

 

 

So the issue here is which OS to host the VM, I'd like host machine to be something I know fairly well and easy to work with like Windows 7, but I'm not convinced Windows 7 hosting a server VM in VMWorkstation 8 or 9 is a smart long term move.

BEFORE anyone suggests alternatives, I want to be able to understand what I'm doing on the host OS fairly easily. It's all fine and dandy if VMWare ESX is fast and reliable but once the 2k3 Srv VM is shut down, - scripting a weekly copy of the VM from D: (well disk #2?) to E: (disk #3) may not be simple, as well as accessing disk#3 from a remote Windows PC (which handles the backups)

I'd like to be able to 'see' the 2TB HDD from within the VM in a standard, native NTFS format (in order to the do the backup).

 

 

The plan was to my backups from within the VM to the 2TB daily (and big snapshot weekly) then via the 'proper' backup PC - take a copy of that 2TB drive over the network regularly (again "smb\\host\e$\VM-Backups\Weekly VM copy")

 

Does this all make sense? What would you all do?

P.S please no one tell me the crucial M4 is bad in RAID1 either, with some kind of bad TRIM code. I didn't research that purchase sadly.

Edited by wizzbang
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Hi All,

 

So I now have a spare N40L I'd like to use to replace a file server for a small business. Specs as follows:

  • N40L, 8GB RAM (non ECC)
  • RAID1 - 80GB HDD (boot drive)
  • RAID1 - 256gb Crucial M4 SSD's (VM storage drive)
  • 2TB Drive (temporary backup destination before copying to more secure location)

The plan is to whip up a script to manually shut their Win2003 server VM down once a week and do a complete, full copy of the VM which holds their OS and data (about 140gb)

There will also be routine backups performed nightly, I want to be extra careful.

 

 

So the issue here is which OS to host the VM, I'd like host machine to be something I know fairly well and easy to work with like Windows 7, but I'm not convinced Windows 7 hosting a server VM in VMWorkstation 8 or 9 is a smart long term move.

BEFORE anyone suggests alternatives, I want to be able to understand what I'm doing on the host OS fairly easily. It's all fine and dandy if VMWare ESX is fast and reliable but once the 2k3 Srv VM is shut down, - scripting a weekly copy of the VM from D: (well disk #2?) to E: (disk #3) may not be simple, as well as accessing disk#3 from a remote Windows PC (which handles the backups)

I'd like to be able to 'see' the 2TB HDD from within the VM in a standard, native NTFS format (in order to the do the backup).

 

 

The plan was to my backups from within the VM to the 2TB daily (and big snapshot weekly) then via the 'proper' backup PC - take a copy of that 2TB drive over the network regularly (again "smb\\host\e$\VM-Backups\Weekly VM copy")

 

Does this all make sense? What would you all do?

P.S please no one tell me the crucial M4 is bad in RAID1 either, with some kind of bad TRIM code. I didn't research that purchase sadly.

 

It seems overly complicated but my experience is very limited to some messing with VM in Win 7, Virtual Box, and Hyper-V.

 

My first choice would be to run S2003 bare metal on the MicroServer and set the backups within S2003 Server Backup.

 

Second Choice: Now for Something Completely Different. Windows 8 Pro with Hyper-V feature turned on – delete most of the Apps and tighten down IE10 – and essentially make a Server out of it – the Hyper-V is the same as S2012 and is great to work with – the only thing it doesn’t have is Server Backup from S2012 that can backup Clients in Hyper-V on the fly – but you don’t need that.

 

Drive 1 (SATA Port 0): Host OS (Win 8 Pro) – I’d go with an SSD – doesn’t have to be very big.

Drive 2 – 3 (SATA Ports 1-2): Create a Storage Space Drive Pool in Win 8 Pro using very fast 7200, 10,000, or even your M4’s – set it with Thin provisioning with 2 disks – 1 simple and 1 mirrored. Install the OS of the S2003 onto the Simple and use the mirrored disk for your data. (or if you want a little more resiliency make it two mirrored disks and put your VM OS’s on a mirrored disk – I was going simple for more speed and I assumed the S2003 OS isn’t critical – i.e. it can be easily reloaded from backup.

 

Drive 4 (SATA Port 3): insert your 2 TB backup drive but pass it thru Hyper-V so that your S2003 sees it and pick it up on your S2003 and then set S2003’s Server Backup to backup to that drive (or use a 3rd part Backup package, robo copy, allways sync, etc.).

 

Install crashplan on S2003 and on your computer in an off-site location that you want to backup the Server too and have crashplan handle your offsite backup automatically.

 

You still have 2 SATA Ports (Ports 4 & 5) that you could pass thru Hyper-V to S2003 – you could also use those ports, plus your USB ports, and any ports from Add-on cards to add drives to your Storage Space Pool.

 

Plus if you really want a script to backup the Host OS and all the VM drives you could write a script in Powershell to shut-down the VM’s – back everything up – then restart the VM’s. You’re going to want a script anyway to shut-down the VM’s if there is a power interruption and your USP is approaching failure. See: http://homeservershow.com/forums/index.php?/topic/4836-battery-backupups-for-hyper-v-server/#entry51991

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Going from a physical to a virtual on either ESXi or Hyper-V is not that complicated as long as you do your planning up front. For the host I would suggest either 2008R2 or Server 2012. Both will work just fine but if you have access to either, I'd go with 2012 as it seems to be a little faster than 2008R2, just my experience.

 

Stand up the new server with a dedicated OS drive for the host, another for the VM's, and have your data reside on a third drive and pass it through to the appropriate VM. This is how my server is setup and it works for me.

 

I would not get too deep into all of the backups up front other than capacity planning and get the host and VM's setup. The migration is seamless and there are several tools to accomplish the task.

 

Some initial reading: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc764232.aspx

 

http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/winserverhyperv/thread/56657794-59bb-47d1-9b6d-daec65cf7013/

http://www.interactivewebs.com/blog/index.php/server-tips/converting-a-physical-windows-machine-to-a-hyper-v-virtual-machine-p2v-problem/

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Going from a physical to a virtual on either ESXi or Hyper-V is not that complicated as long as you do your planning up front. For the host I would suggest either 2008R2 or Server 2012. Both will work just fine but if you have access to either, I'd go with 2012 as it seems to be a little faster than 2008R2, just my experience.

 

Stand up the new server with a dedicated OS drive for the host, another for the VM's, and have your data reside on a third drive and pass it through to the appropriate VM. This is how my server is setup and it works for me.

 

I would not get too deep into all of the backups up front other than capacity planning and get the host and VM's setup. The migration is seamless and there are several tools to accomplish the task.

 

Some initial reading: http://technet.micro...y/cc764232.aspx

 

http://social.techne...d-daec65cf7013/

http://www.interacti...ne-p2v-problem/

 

For sure S2012 and 2008R2 would make much better Hosts -- I was thinking Win8pro mostly for cost reasons -- $40 for the W8 upgrade is quite a deal and you have the Hyper-V GUI -- Of course there's the free version of Hyper-V that a lot of people in the Forums are using and No-Control has posted Instructions on how to load but I didn't thing Wizzbang was looking for a Command Line OS. Just a thought too -- if S2012 or 2008R2 are available why even mess around with S2003? Appreciate the links!

Edited by Joe_Miner
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In my opinion, you need a true server platform in order to do the heavy lifting. However, if Server OS's are not within the budget, go ESXi for the host.

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