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VMware P2V Assistant 2.1


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Clones for ESX Server

The process for creating clones compatible with ESX Server virtual machines differs in various aspects from the process for creating clones compatible with GSX Server, VMware Server, or Workstation virtual machines. The primary difference is that for ESX Server machines, the P2V Assistant must be run inside a helper machine that is a virtual machine in order to properly work with virtual disks. This process can be used with GSX Server, VMware Server, and Workstation virtual machines, but must be used with ESX Server virtual machines.

This section introduces the some of the options available for creating clones for ESX Server virtual machines. Some of these options use the P2V Assistant, and other options use a third-party disk imaging or backup/restore tool running in an ESX Server virtual machine. These options are described in the following sections:

Create an ESX Server Cloned Disk Using the Direct to Disk Device Mode

When you create a cloned disk directly to a disk device, the P2V Assistant populates an existing target disk with the source disk data. This is a useful mechanism for creating an ESX Server-compatible, .dsk formatted target disk from a physical source disk using the P2V Assistant.

In order to populate this the target disk, you must attach it as a secondary disk to an existing ESX Server virtual machine. The helper virtual machine must have both a functional Windows operating system and the P2V Assistant installed on its primary disk.

When directed to use the Direct to Disk Device option, the P2V Assistant searches for local disks. You select which disk to use, and the P2V Assistant uses the designated disk as the cloned disk. If any data is stored on this target disk, it is overwritten.

Link to directtodisk.png

Cloning Direct to Disk in a VMware ESX Server Helper Virtual Machine

If the source disk contains a supported operating system, the P2V Assistant displays the option to perform a system reconfiguration on the new cloned disk. The cloned disk produced, with or without the system reconfiguration, is in ESX Server, .dsk, format.

If you do not opt to convert the virtual cloned disk into a bootable disk at this time, you can convert it later using the P2V Assistant. Refer to Reconfigure an Existing ESX Server Cloned Disk into a Bootable Disk.

To actually use the .dsk, power off the helper virtual machine running the P2V Assistant, then detach the .dsk and attach it to the new virtual machine where it is to be used.

Link to directtodiskboot.png

Cloning and Reconfiguring Direct to Disk in a VMware ESX Server Helper Virtual Machine

Reconfigure an Existing ESX Server Cloned Disk into a Bootable Disk

The P2V Assistant provides an option to perform a system reconfiguration on an existing cloned disk. The existing cloned disk can have been created either by the P2V Assistant or a third-party disk imaging or backup/restore tool. It must be in .dsk format to be reconfigured as a bootable disk in an ESX Server virtual machine.

Reconfiguring an ESX Server cloned disk for use as a bootable disk involves several steps:

  • Start with a helper virtual machine running a supported version of a guest operating system. The P2V Assistant must be installed in it. This helper virtual machine must be in ESX Server format.
  • Note: If you are cloning a Windows NT Server 4.0 disk, use a Windows NT Server 4.0 helper machine.

  • Then, use the ESX Server Management Interface's configuration editor to attach the .dsk cloned disk as an additional virtual disk to the helper virtual machine and power on the helper virtual machine.
  • Finally, run the P2V Assistant from within the helper virtual machine and select both the System Reconfiguration and the Direct to Disk Device options.
  • For this activity, since the cloned disk is already created, you do not need the P2V Assistant boot CD, source computer, or source disk device. The target disk, which is the cloned disk, is both the source file and the target file.

    Link to esxreconfig.png

    Reconfiguring an Existing ESX Server Cloned Disk

    Convert a Third-Party Image to an ESX Server Formatted Cloned Disk

    Running a third-party disk imaging or backup/restore tool within an ESX Server helper virtual machine, you can create a virtual disk that is compatible with VMware ESX Server virtual machines. This process does not use the P2V Assistant, but does create a virtual disk that then can be reconfigured by the P2V Assistant.

    This process is the same as the process outlined in Creating a Cloned Disk Using a Third-Party Image, except that the virtual machine is running on an ESX Server system. The resulting virtual disk is in ESX Server-compatible format, a .dsk file.

    The process requires a helper virtual machine with a target virtual disk attached to it, and the third-party tool with its associated third-party image. The target virtual disk must be an additional disk attached to the helper virtual machine and is not the helper virtual machine's booting system disk.

    Use the third-party tool to create an image of the physical disk you want to use as a virtual disk. If the tool requires it, copy that image - the helper virtual machine. From the helper virtual machine, run the third-party tool and direct the tool to use the image it created to populate the target virtual disk. Depending upon the tool, this process could be called expand, deploy, restore, and so on. When you run the tool from within a virtual machine, the tool behaves as it would in a physical environment, except that it populates a virtual disk rather than a physical disk. If any data existed on the target virtual disk, it is overwritten.

    Link to esxthirdparty.png

    Creating a VMware ESX Server Cloned Disk from a Third-Party Tool

    After the cloned disk is created through the third-party tool, perform a system reconfiguration using the (advanced) direct to disk P2V Assistant option to convert the virtual disk into a bootable disk. Refer to Create an ESX Server Cloned Disk Using the Direct to Disk Device Mode.

    Convert a .vmdk Disk File to VMware ESX Server Format

    If you have a cloned disk in .vmdk format and wish to use it in a VMware ESX Server virtual machine, convert it to .dsk format.

    VMware ESX Server provides two tools that can perform this conversion: the graphical Management Interface and a vmkfstools command line interface.

    If the .vmdk disk was already converted for use as a bootable disk (had a system reconfiguration applied), then the converted .dsk disk is also ready for use as a bootable disk.

    If the .vmdk disk was not reconfigured, then use the P2V Assistant to perform a system reconfiguration to convert the .dsk into a bootable disk. Refer to Reconfiguring an Existing Cloned Disk into a Bootable Disk.

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