Methods for migrating VMs to a new host without shared storage. Part 2: vCenter Converter Standalone

If you missed Part 1, check it out here.

VMWare vCenter Converter Standalone

VMWare vCenter Converter Standalone is primarily intended to convert physical servers to virtual servers, but it can be used to go V2V as well.

This method doesn’t require VCenter. It’s also free, but does require a account.

Here are the high-level steps:

  • Download the standalone converter and install on the VM you desire to move.
  • If your VM is moving within a secure environment (on the same LAN, perhaps) I recommend disabling SSL as it will make the conversion faster.
  • When running the tool, don’t forget to right-click ‘Run as Administrator’
  • I typically do a test run for the conversion and let it run for 10-15 minutes during non-peak hours.  This will give me a rough estimate of the time the conversion will take.
  • Schedule downtime for the conversion
  • Stop all relevant services on the server, especially databases.
  • Run the VMWare vCenter Converter Standalone
  • Once complete, power down the source server. I typically edit the properties of the VM to disconnect the NIC. I also turn off auto-start. I also rename the VM, prepending ‘DO_NOT_START’
  • Then, I power up the new server
  • Install VMWare Tools, Reboot
  • Configure static IP
  • Reboot
  • Test application functionality.

A benefit of this method is that you have a failback VM on the original host if absolutely necessary. However, if you have new transactions on a new database, reverting to the old VM would roll these back, which is usually not an option.

The test conversion can give you a pretty good general estimate. So, you can go have dinner and check back in on it after you’re dong eating.

A downside is that some types of servers get a bit cranky when the NIC and IP configuration has changed. Namely, Exchange takes much longer to boot.

Part 3 explores a different type of solution: DoubleTake.


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