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P2V blues: Physical-to-virtual migration mishaps

While researching P2V migrations, I came across some discussions of problems encountered during the process.

Dave Mast, Geek at Large, learned this lesson about P2V migrations and shared it on his blog:

“This Tuesday we attempted a P2V (Physical-to-Virtual) conversion on our domain controller.  It worked, but not as well as I expected.  We wound up losing the SYSVOL share (where all your group policy stuff is kept) during the conversion.  We still had our physical machine present, so we fired it back up and all was well.”

Mast is prepared for his next P2V experience. “I set up a second domain controller and stuck it in one of the IDFs.  Hopefully the domain data will replicate from the new DC to the old, and if not, we can always start from scratch with a new VM.”

Here’s a thread about Exchange problems in P2V migrations. It’s a tale of many crashes.

Another informative P2V migration tale comes from Scott Lowe’s blog. He talks about using VMware Converter. Here’s a tidbit, but you should check out the whole entry:

“The only odd thing we ran into was that Converter refused to log in to VirtualCenter. We tried short hostname, fully qualified hostname, and IP address, and still had zero luck getting Converter to connect to VC. Fortunately, connecting directly to one of the ESX servers using the root account worked without any problems whatsoever, and the overall conversion process took about 1 hour and 20 minutes to move the 12 to 13 gigabytes of data on the source server.”

I’m still looking for P2V migration stories — successes and failures — to help me build a best practices and “beware” guide. Got any tales to tell? Add a comment, please, or send me an email at

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Dan Miller, computer technician with Prairie Valley School Division, tell me he's found a resource that helped him with P2V. Says Dan: "I have a few kinks to work out yet but I did have a lot of success using the methods posted on the link below. I can’t take credit for the knowledge but the guy who created the how to on this link deserves credit for his work when doing a P2V. Works great where VSMT won’t, and if you use Altiris imaging, it’s right up the alley. Once again,it’s not my knowledge or creation; just sharing a link that had a great way to perform this.
As it turns out, the problem with VMware Converter connecting to VirtualCenter turned out to be a strange configuration issue with VirtualCenter not listening on the default TCP port. Once we had that issue straightened out (we discovered this while performing some testing with VMware Consolidated Backup), then VMware Converter worked much more smoothly. Hope this helps someone else out, Scott
I'm glad people are finding the methods I posted useful. I have come across other issues including hangs at "acpitabl.dat" etc. Some of it is related to using SCSI or IDE on the original server versus the Virtual Server. Others are down to hotfixes and figuring out which hal.dll and ntoskrnl works with which level of hotfixing is proving to be very difficult. So perhaps if someone has done a P2V in the last week they could comment on which files they used, where they took them from and how up to date their hotfixing was? Regards John
We have the 2% blues. No mater which physical we use, when attempting to migrate any physical box to the ESX cluster, either by host or through the VMVC, it sits blankly staring at the moon for hours on end, never going past 2%. What's weird is that the host file for the C: drive of the virtual that's created as part of one of the first steps of the migration is constantly updated. Nothing else useful happens. -sf