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Migrating from physiclal drive to a virtual drive and then converting back to a physical drive


DOS76
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Hello everyone I am having a sort of dilema I have been running a free eval. of 2012 Essentials for the last year and it has now expired I just rearmed it for the third time but I think that it is time that I try out 2012R2 Essentials instead. My problem is I don't have any free computers lying around at the moment. I have been setting up this server for about a year and I have it configured where it would seriously be a hassel for me to have to set up a whole new server so I would like to migrate but as I mentioned no physical box. Today I installed R2 in a VM on a underpowered Windows 8.1 pro laptop that I am using as a dual monitor htpc with a 50'' Samsung and a 24'' monitor that is mounted next to my bed video signal is sent from the monitor back across the room with a Asus Wicast (its pretty sweet). What I hope to do is migrate from the physical server to the virtual server and then install the virtual server onto the original server. That or maybe use one of the Windows 8 Pro upgrade licenses that I have and just import the virtual disk over to run in hyper-v there. Anway I am pretty new to running Hyper-V (just started this weekend) and I am not even sure if it is possible to migrate from a physical server to a virtual one if anyone can give me some advice or let me know if they think that this will work let me know.     

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Physical to virtual conversion

 

http://www.serverwatch.com/server-tutorials/how-to-convert-a-physical-computer-to-a-virtual-machine.html

 

Forget the first method listed, System Center Virtual Machine Manager does make a very good job of doing it but costs a small fortune, needs a separate box to run it on, a copy of SQL Server and about three weeks of your life getting it working properly.

 

The second method (DIsk2VHD Tool) is free and the article does give quite a good tutorial on using it. 

 

Now going the other way is a bit tricky and I must admit I've never tried doing it or found a need to. Personally I'd just install the free Hyper-V server software on the box and run your VMs on that - there is however a bit of a learning curve in managing it. If you really want to try a virtual to physical conversion, then I did find this.

 

http://www.altaro.com/hyper-v/virtual-to-physical-conversions-v2p/

 

Does seem a bit more trouble than it's worth.

 

John

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Thanks I downloaded Disk2Vhd over the weekend but the first VM I tried to run with it reported that there was no OS when I checked again when I create this disk it doesn't offer me a choice to create the boot partition only C: D: and F: (computer is a triple boot) I also can opt to select my storage drives but none of the smaller OEM or recovery drives are listed. Instead I created a new vm using R2 eval. from technet but when I installed it I didn't see the option to install it in migration mode. So if I configure it it will replace my original server as the networks first server. I would like to perform the migration but I am not sure how to and all the documentation I can find involves migrating from older server versions (2003 SMB 2008R2)

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Last time I was trying to upgrade the same computer, I ran disk2vhd on the old OS install (while it was running actually).  Then I copied that to a Hyper-V machine and ran it as a virtual server.  Then I did the new install on the original hardware, and migrated from the virtual machine.

 

That said, if you already have the virual machine up and running with the upgrade and migration complete, you could just put hyper-v on the old hardware and copy the VM to it.  Then you'd have an environment that can be upgraded somewhat eaiser next time most likely.  Just spin up a new VM next to the current one and migrate from one VM to the other.

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I can't figure out how to migrate I have seen some screen shots that show the option to migrate come up but I haven't been able to get that to happen. I even started a new VM and ran the iso. install again and didn't see the option while the OS was installing (which from the screenshot Iis where I guess this is supposed to happen) then when the computer loads the new system I configured it hoping that there would be an option during the configuration but no luck there either I would like to migrate still but I am not sure how. I have another issue also my current server has 11 hdd's connected to it two are connected internally while the others are connected to USB 3.0 card that I added to the computer 8 out of 9 of these drives are installed in 2 4 bay enclousers  and the final one is in a dual hdd dock from what I was reading I am not sure how I would go about adding these there was mention of passthrough and turning them into vhd's I would have to read more but it sounds like this is all going to be a pain in the ass. I may just configure this new server the way that I want and then try to turn it into a physical disk. I have 180 days on the VM (with how ever many rearms that includes) and 177 days on the original that gives me plenty of time to keep running my server how it is now while implementing all the necessary changes to the R2 VM. Thanks for the assist and if you or anyone else can tell me where I can find the option to migrate the server I am very curious still. Now I have to get back to my finacncial accounting text book instead of playing around on computer forums. (which I enjoy unlike accounting)

Edited by DOS76
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When you say 'migrate' what exactly are you trying to do? There is no means of taking an existing 2012 Essentials server and converting it into a 2012 R2 Essentials box with all the user names, shares and data intact.

 

What you may have seen is the process of building a new R2 server alongside an existing 2012E server and going through the migration process (what we used to refer to as a swing-migration in the old SBS days). The process for doing this is details in the following technet article.

 

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn408633.aspx

 

It does look a bit daunting with many, many steps to go through and if you fancy a go my main bit of advice is to read the whole article completely at least twice, then work out how it can apply to your server, then read the articles through again a few more times just to make sure and unless you are really sure of what you are doing then follow them to the letter and don't be tempted to take short-cuts.

 

I may well have misread or misunderstood your earlier post but it sounds like you were a bit confused about what disk2vhd actually does. You install it on the existing 2012E server while it is running and it creates a set of VHD files from the physical disks it finds which you can then copy onto a Hyper-V server and fire them up from there.

 

Now I think you are right and this really is going to be a bit of a major pain to do, but a really good learning experience!

 

Now if it were me, I'd approach it something like this.

 

On the 2012E box, work out what needs to be virtualised and what actually you need to migrate - this will probably just be the 'C' drive, the 2012E OS. Realistically you are not going to be able to virtualise the data drives

 

Make a note of the shares and permissions and where all of your data is. How are your data drives configured? Are they raided in some way or just as individual disks?

 

Run disk2vhd on the existing box. Create a vhd of the 'C' partition and when it is done copy it across to your Windows 8.1 laptop and spin it up in Hyper-V. Does it boot up ok? Can you log into it? Yes it will complain to high heaven about the shares and disks being missing - I know! 

 

If you are happy that it all seems ok, disconnect all of your data disks from the old server, rebuild it with a clean copy of Hyper-V Server 2012 R2. Copy your 2012E VHD file onto it and spin it up. Reconnect the data disks and configure them as pass-through disks in Hyper-V manager so that the virtual 2012E instance can see them and fix any issues with drive-letters and shares and basically tweak it so that it is working the same way as it is now.

 

Create a new VM using the 2012 R2 Essentials ISO but install it in migration mode as per the above Technet article.

 

And that's it.

 

You'll need to make sure that you are happy with working with Hyper-V. The big problem here is that once you blow away the existing 2012E setup and install Hyper-V on the hardware then there is no going back.

 

John

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No I have one on a physical machine(2012E) and one on the vm(2012R2E) I wanted to migrate so I could keep my domain name which isn't possible while the other server is online unless I could choose the migration and then I believe I would have 21 days to shut down the original box. After shutting down the original box I would like to make the vm a physical drive and transfer it to the old box.

For the Disk2VHD that is exactly what I did but when I start it in Hyper-V it tells me there is no OS based on a response I got on WeGotServed I think that my boot partition is missing. I have partitions on that drive that aren't listed to be checked from the Disk2VHD interface. When I ran Disk2VHD on my WHS2011 machine there was a small 100Mb partition that I could install and when that finished it definitely works in Hyper-V. The first time I used D2VHD I attempted to copy all three OS partitions(Triple Boot 2012 Win7 Ultimate and 2012R2E preview) on the main hard drive but the vhd file was to big for both my other computer's hard drive and Hyper-V so I tried again only copying the 2012 OS this is where I ran into the problem.

Data drives are part of a StableBit Drivepool all files are duplicated.

When I make the R2 vm from the iso. I am not getting the option to choose migration I have created like 3 vm's from the iso. just to be sure.

 

 

I think I see part of my migration issue I haven't prepared my source server or network for the migration.

Edited by DOS76
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