In today’s IT industry, virtualization is very common due to high efficiency and reliable resource utilization. Virtualization is the key component of cloud computing. There are many Virtualization products available in market Like VMware Vsphere, Hyper -V, XenServer, KVM etc.. These all products have its own advantages and drawbacks. So let’s get started on Hyper v to VMware And Physical to VMware Migration.

Here I am discussing the most usable and common Virtualization product “VMware Vsphere 6.7”. VMware Vsphere 6.7 is a great Virtualization product. Vsphere with operation manager takes Virtualization to the next level by adding intelligent operation management and automation which provide better performance and availability.

  • Vsphere 6.7 Vcenter appliance deliver 2 times faster than Vsphere 6.5 and 3 times lower memory usage.
  • Compared to other products, Vsphere 6.7 offers built-in comprehensive security through policy-driven security model and it provides enhanced security for the hypervisor and the guest operating system through support Trusted Platform Module 2.0 and introduced the virtual TPM 2.0.
  • This Vsphere 6.7 platform delivers the seamless hybrid cloud experience through “vCenter Server Hybrid Linked Mode”, which enables users to have unified visibility and manageability of an on-premise vSphere environment and public cloud environment (eg: aws, softlayer etc) from a single point.

How move to VMware ?

Migrating your existing physical / any other virtual servers to Vsphere is a bit of a challenge if you don’t have some decent virtual machine converter at hand. Different hypervisors have their own proprietary VM formats like : VMDK, VHD and VHDX, you name it. The problem is that one VM file format will not be supported on other platforms. In this case, a converter is a must-have.

There are two type of server migration:

Live migration – Hot migration

Migrating live running physical or virtual servers without downtime on the source machine and services. During the migration, processes or services continue to run on the source machine, so the resulting virtual machine is not an exact copy of the source machine, until you synchronize the latest changes.

Offline migration – Cold migration
Migrating offline virtual machine as VMware Infrastructure Virtual machine.

VMware have vCenter Converter Standalone version 6, which will support cold and hot migration from physical to virtual (P2V) as well as virtual to virtual (V2V).

It helps in,

  • Converting live remote physical / virtual machines as virtual machines to standalone ESXi hosts or to ESXi hosts that vCenter Server manages.
  • Converting virtual machines hosted by VMware Workstation or Microsoft Hyper-V Server to ESXi hosts that vCenter Server manages.
  • Customize guest operating systems of virtual machines in the vCenter Server inventory (for example, change the hostname or network settings).

In this article we will take a look at how to migrate Hyper-v Virtual machines to VMware virtual machines and live running Physical servers(Windows / Linux) to VMware virtual machines. You can download the vCenter Converter from here. You can download and install vCenter Converter only on Windows operating systems. Before starting conversion process please go through the System Requirements and verify the supported operating systems, source type, destination type, Required TCP/UDP ports to open the ports in firewalls etc.

Converter Standalone Components

Converter Standalone server:- Performs the import and export of virtual machines.The Converter Standalone server have two services, Converter Standalone server and Converter Standalone worker.

Converter Standalone agent:-The Converter Standalone server will install an agent on Windows source machines to push them as virtual machines. You can choose to remove this agent from the source machine automatically or manually after complete the process.

Converter Standalone client:- The client component provide the Converter Standalone user interface to create a conversion job.

When you convert a machine, Converter Standalone will clone the source machine and re-configure it . The migration process does not delete or modify any data and configuration in source machine and you can continue to use the original source machine even after completing the conversion.

Cloning is a process of copying the source machine disks or volumes for the destination virtual machine. Cloning involves copying the data from the source machine’s hard disk and transferring that to a destination virtual disk. The destination virtual disk may be have different size, file layout, HDD id and other characteristics, and therefore might not be an exact copy of the source disk.

If you plan to run the converted virtual machine on the same network as the source machine is running, you must modify the network name and IP address on any one of the machines, so that the source and destination machines can coexist.You must make sure that the Windows source machine and the destination machine have different computer names.

Note: Before converting a Windows based machines, please verify that you have necessary Windows license.

With Converter Standalone 6.2, you can convert source Windows machines which don’t have direct access to the destination ESXi / vCenter server by using the proxy mode feature. The feature is only for conversion of ‘Powered On’ Windows source machines to managed destinations

Remote Hot Cloning of Powered On Windows virtual/physical machines

Let’s have a look how Vcenter converter works while it convert a windows based machine to a VMware infrastructure virtual machines.

    • Converter prepares the windows source machine for the conversion by installing an agent service on the source machine and the agent takes a snapshot of the source machine HDD volumes.
    • Next, Converter will create a virtual machine on destination server and the agent will copy the volumes from source machine to destination virtual machine.
    • Once the copying starts, the data will be copied from source machine to destination virtual machine directly without the help of the standalone server service, like shown in the below picture.

  • The proxy mode option will help you to convert the source machine from one network to another network. If the proxy mode is on, then all data traffic will go through Vcenter Converter standalone machine.
  • Once the data/volumes are copied, the agent service will install the necessary drivers to boot up the virtual machine and reconfigure the virtual machine.

Remote Hot Cloning of Powered On Linux virtual/physical machine

Conversion process of Powered On Linux Virtual / Physical machines is entirely different from windows. In windows, Vcenter converter agent will be installed on source machine and the agent service will push the data from the source machine to destination.

In Linux conversion process, no agent will be deployed in source machine. Instead of that, a helper virtual machine will be created in destination ESXi host and the source data will be copied to the helper virtual machine. Once the conversion process complete, helper virtual machine will reboot and become the destination virtual machine. Let’s have a look on the workflow.

  • Converter standalone server will open ssh session to the source machine and collect the source machine information.
  • Then converter will create a helper virtual machine. This helper VM serves as a container for new virtual machine during conversion process. Converter deploy this helper VM to destination ESXi host.
  • This helper VM will be powered on and boot from *.iso file that is located on converter standalone server (C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware vCenter Converter Standalone) and the ssh to the source machine, and starts copying the selected data from the source machine.
  • Optionally, after copying the data, the virtual machine will be reconfigured as per the conversion task you setup.
  • The destination VM will be reconfigured and will start the operating system.
    Conversion process complete.

System Settings Affected by Conversion

The following source computer’s settings / values remain unchanged:

  • Operating system configuration (computer name, security ID, user accounts, profiles, preferences, and so on)
  • Applications and data files
  • Volume serial number for each disk partition will be same as in source.

Note : Because the destination VM have same name/IP/SID etc, running them on same network will caused to conflicts.

Converting Hyper -v VMs to VMware Vsphere infrastructure.

Let’s start converting!

Power off all / required VMs in Hyper-v server which you want to convert.

1.Open Vcenter converter and click on “convert machine” Select source system option as powered off and select Hyper -v server from dropdown menu.
2.Then enter the Hyper -v server IP / hostname and administrator username and password. Click next.

3.It will ask if we need to uninstall Vcenter converter agent after import, automatically or manually. Automatic option is recommended.

4.Now select the source VM from the list to convert and click next

5.Select destination type as “Vmware infrastructure virtual machine ” and enter the vcenter IP address or ESXi server IP and credentials.

6.Give a name for new virtual machine on destination server (esxi or vcenter)

7.Once the converter is connected to the vCenter or ESXi it will display the available hosts,clusters and Datastores. Select the required host and datastore and click next, please ensure that selected datastore have enough free space to hold the source machine HDD space.

8.Here you can reconfigure the destination VM, like resize the HDD,RAM CPU etc (Make sure the destination host and the guest operating system support the number of processor cores you assign to the destination virtual machine). You can select the required VM network port group by editing the Network option. You can configure to install VMware tools to the guest OS and OS customization is also possible.

9.Once you complete the configuration, review the summary carefully and click finish, Converter will start the process and it will create new virtual machine to VMware host which include all configuration and data from Hyper -v VM.

10.You can check Task progress and Logs from Log highlights box.

You can see that the Hyper-V Virtual machine has been converted as VMware Vsphere Virtual machine with name “Centos 7-Vmware” and that it is running fine in ESXi server.

Hot Migration – Migrate running Windows Physical server to Virtual server

Before start conversion process, let’s have a look into the prerequisites.

  • Make sure source Operating system supports live migration, See Supported Operating Systems
  • Turn off firewall applications / make sure necessary TCP/UDP port are accessible from Standalone server and destination server. See TCP/IP and UDP Port Requirements for Conversion
  • Disable simple file sharing and antivirus
  • Turn off User Account Control (UAC). If you are using a member of local administrator group instead of built in Administrator account, you must disable the User Account Control: Use Admin Approval Mode for the built-in Administrator account policy in the Security Options folder of the Local Group Policy Editor and reboot .
  • If you are using built in Administrator account, you must disable the User Account Control: Turn on Admin Approval Mode policy in the Security Options folder of the Local Group Policy Editor. You don’t need to reboot for the changes to take effect.

Let’s start conversion process:

1.Open Vcenter converter and click on “convert machine”. Select source system option as ‘powered on’ and select remote windows machine from dropdown menu

2.Then enter the IP/hostname of the windows server and administrator username and password. Click next

3.Allow converter to install agent to the server and select manual/automatic uninstall option.

4.Enter the destination Vcenter/ESXi host’s hostname/IP and root/admin credentials. If your destination server is running on different network from the source machine network, enable proxy mode.

5.Enter a name for New virtual server machine.

6.Then Select the host and datastore and click next, (please ensure that selected datastore have enough free space to hold the source machine HDD space.)

7.This wizard will display the current configuration.You can re-configure the VM like CPU, Memory, HDD size, hostname etc. by clicking edit button. You can select the VM port group by editing network NIC properties, Also, you can set the service startup mode for the destination virtual machine by editing the services. Here, I have changed Memory size, HDD, and enabled synchronization. “Customize guest preference for virtual machine” is also enabled, which will provide next screen to customize the guest operating system.

8.In my case, the source machine and destination machine will be run on same network, so to avoid the SID conflit I have changed the computer name , owner name, etc.

Then click Next, and review the summary screen and click finish.The converter will start the process and on successful completion VM will run fine.

That’s it, I hope this article is informative for you, thanks.

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Author : Vineesh
Written on : 10 Dec, 2018

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