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Using PlateSpin 7.0 for server discovery during P2V conversion

Physical-to-virtual (P2V) conversion options are limited in most virtualization technologies. PlateSpin 7.0, with PowerConvert 7.0, offers a product that is specializes in this very task. Before starting the P2V migration though, you have to do some preparation first. Part of this preparation involves discovering servers in your network, and this article will deal with that.

PlateSpin PowerConvert 7.0 and your servers
It should be noted that this article assumes that you have a PowerConvert environment up and running. This environment includes the PowerConvert server as well as the client. In an earlier

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article, you learned how to set up such an environment.

PowerConvert offers different options for what is called a peer-to-peer conversion job. You can convert any workload, virtual as well as physical, to any target workload. To perform any of these conversions, it is assumed that PowerConvert knows your servers through a discovery feature. PowerConvert can discover any kind of server, physical source machine, virtual source machine or virtual target machine. Thorough planning for the discovery process is essential for a successful migration though.

Configuring the discovery options
One option for discovery can be performed via the Network Neighborhood where Windows servers advertise themselves. This method is convenient, but rather limited at the same time. Since the standard Windows browser functionality is used for this, Linux and other types of servers will be not be found. You will also see that this type of discovery is limited for Windows servers that are not in your default domain or workgroup. The Network Neighborhood method of discovery is the default in PowerConvert 7.0, as you can see in the bottom-right corner of the PowerConvert client window.


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A more powerful option than Network Neighborhood based discovery is the server discovery feature. Using this feature, you can populate the PowerConvert database with detailed inventory information for the server. This information helps you understand what the server is doing, which is important in determining the best type of job for the server. To use server discovery, the servers must meet the following prerequisites:

  • On Windows servers, Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) must be installed. On Windows Servers since 2003, this is installed by default, on older versions of the operating system you need to install it via the Microsoft website.

  • On Linux servers, you'll need the Secure Shell daemon (sshd).

  • On VMware ESX servers, you also need sshd. By default, on VMware ESX, sshd doesn't allow root access. Change this so that root can access the service.

Once you've verified the prerequisites, you can begin the discovery process. The following procedure shows how you can find individual servers.

  1. In the toolbar of the PowerConvert client, you'll find the Discover Server Details button. Click this button.

  2. Next, enter the host name and IP address of the machine you want to track down and click the Discover button to perform the automatic discovery. Next, wait a few moments until the discovery process is completed. You'll see that your server is now added to the list of servers. Repeat this procedure for all servers that you need to find.


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The procedure described above explains how to discover a physical machine. PowerConvert can discover several other kinds of machines as well. For instance, it can locate virtual machines that are hosted by a virtualization platform such as Citrix Xen Server. Discovering the details of these is not all that difficult. Simply open the virtualization host view so that you can see all available virtual machines (VMs), and then right-click on the virtual machine that you wish to locate.


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Discovering physical targets with PowerConvert 7.0
Up to this point, I have discussed the process of discovery for physical source machines. PowerConvert also allows you to discover physical target machines. As is common on a physical target, no operating system is installed. If you plan to migrate Windows to the physical server, you have to download the WINPE.ISO file first from Platespin.com. After downloading the file, burn it on a CD. Before booting from this CD, make sure that the network card of the server is set to Auto Negotiate Full Duplex. Next, boot from the CD. Once the operating system has booted, enter the following information:

  1. When asked if you want to prepare for block transfer, enter Y.

  2. Next enter the URL for your PowerConvert server, using the syntax http://ip_address_of_powre_convert_server/PowerConvert.

  3. Enter the administration credentials to connect to the PowerConvert server and provide the password as well.

  4. At this point, available network cards are detected and displayed with their MAC address. If required, enter the IP address information necessary to connect to the network board.

  5. Enter a hostname for the physical server and then specify whether or not you need SSL to connect to the PowerConvert server. At the end of this procedure, PowerConvert will automatically add the physical target to the servers view.

The procedure to add physical target servers to where you want to run Linux as the operating system is similar. The only difference is the ISO file that you have to use. Instead of the WINPE.ISO, you would download and install the ISO RAM disk image.

Summary
In this article you have learned how to perform the process of server discovery in your network. Based on this discovery, you can begin the workload conversion you want to perform. Before doing so, however, it may be a good idea to analyze the servers involved first. We will go over the process of analysis in future articles.

About the author: Sander van Vugt is an author and independent technical trainer, specializing in Linux. van Vugt is also a technical consultant for high-availability clustering and performance optimization and an expert on SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 (SLED 10) administration.

This was first published in September 2008

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