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VMware P2V Assistant 2.1


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Introducing VMware P2V Assistant

Introducing VMware P2V Assistant

This chapter provides an introduction to the concepts and processes of the P2V Assistant. This includes the following sections:

This manual describes how to install and use the VMware P2V Assistant to migrate disk data from a physical source machine to a target virtual machine, without making any changes to the source machine. The method is similar to backing up a physical machine and restoring it on another machine with different hardware — virtual hardware.

The conversion of the physical machine into a virtual machine includes all the identifying elements of the physical machine. That means the virtual machine has the same name, identification, and network connectivity as the physical machine.

P2V provides a smooth migration path for existing systems:

  • Avoid reinstalling operating systems and applications
  • Scale legacy migration barrier — certain legacy systems may be impossible to recreate through reinstallation

P2V enables:

  • Expedient server consolidation
  • Migration of legacy servers
  • Testing of existing systems in a virtual machine environment
  • Potential disaster recovery solution

The basic P2V Assistant processes are:

Cloning — The process of creating a cloned disk, where the cloned disk is a virtual disk that is an exact copy of the source physical disk. This involves copying the data on a physical source machine's hard disk and transferring that data to a target virtual disk (the new cloned disk). This process can be performed using the P2V Assistant installed on a helper machine (physical or virtual) or using a third-party disk imaging or backup/restore tool running in a helper virtual machine. The helper machine is an intermediary machine that allows the P2V Assistant to interact with the target machine's virtual disks.

The following table lists the differences between using the P2V Assistant or a third party tool for cloning.

 P2V Assistant Cloning
 Third-Party Imaging
 Limited dynamic disk support
 Typically can read dynamic disks
 Cloned Disk images synchronously
 Typically images asynchronously
 Limited SCSI and NIC driver support in the P2V Assistant Boot CD. No method to add additional drivers
 Typically requires creation of a special boot disk. Can build the boot disk to suit specific needs
 Preserved driver letter mapping
 May not preserve drive letter mapping
 Relatively fast imaging
 Imaging may not be fast if the tool is DOS-based
 Not licensed per cloned disk
 Typically licensed per image created
 Simplest approach; try this first, if convenient
 Fallback method

System Reconfiguration — The process of adjusting the migrated operating system to enable it to function on virtual hardware. This adjustment is performed on the target virtual disk after the cloning and enables the target virtual disk to function as a bootable system disk in a virtual machine. System reconfiguration is not required if the target virtual disk will not be used as a bootable system disk. This process is performed using the P2V Assistant installed on a helper machine (physical or virtual). A system reconfiguration does not change the identity of the new virtual machine.

Creating the Virtual Machine — Using the new virtual disks in a new virtual machine. If the new virtual machine disk had an operating system and you performed a system reconfiguration on it, the new virtual machine retains the identity and settings of the original physical machine. These include: machine name, SID, hard disks (partitions), data files, application and user settings. This process does not require the P2V Assistant or a helper machine (physical or virtual). It does require that the cloned disk be detached from the helper virtual machine, if that was used.

If you plan to run the new virtual machine on the same network as the original source machine, you need to modify the identity (name, IP address, and networking) of the virtual machine so the machines can co-exist on the same network.

Note: While the P2V Assistant simplifies the physical-to-virtual migration process by automating several steps, it is not intended to serve as an unattended migration tool for casual use. Migration is complex — and whether using the P2V Assistant or not, only technical system administrators with a good understanding of and familiarity with operating systems, drivers, imaging tools, and VMware products should attempt the physical-to-virtual migration process.

Note: We strongly recommend attending VMware server training and P2V training before employing this tool on a large-scale or mission-critical basis.

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