Experiences in a Virtual World

Archive for April 2007

WinImage to speed up VSMT Migrations.

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I purchased WinImage, from Gilles Vollant Software, a while back in the versions 6 or 7 days do make self-extracting executables of some of our boot floppies when we were doing automated installs of server hardware. In version 8 however, they came out with an excellent feature that works in 2 different ways for us here at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. The first use was to provide a way to do individual file restores from .VHD files that had been committed to tape or disk as part of our nightly backup routine. It was very nice with the ability view and extract individual files from a remote, non-mounted .VHD file over the network and to restore individual files instead of large .VHD files. The sweeter feature that we have used a few times during P2V migrations is the "Create Virtual Hard Disk image from physical drive" option. For those systems that have a second C: and D: drive, where the D: drive is just data, we have installed WinImage on the physical server to be migrated and then used the "Create Virtual Hard Disk image from physical drive" option and had it dump the file to a virtual host system. This left me with a nice .VHD file of my data drive waiting for the rest of the server to go through the P2V process. Then within the XML file created from the gatherHW.exe command I just change the line (SERVERNAME.XML):

<Data item="Type"><![CDATA[Installable File System]]></Data>


<Data item="Type"><![CDATA[Unknown]]></Data>

For the D: drive reference. This tells the Hardware Validate option in the P2V step to not try to capture the D: drive during the capture phase of the migration. This works pretty slick, and once the C: drive has been Captured and Deployed to its new virtual home, adding the D: drive .VHD file to the guest configuration is all you have to do before you boot the new guest up for the first time. It save me quite a bit of time on P2V migrations since the file copy is only happening once and not twice as the normal Capture and Deploy of VSMT. I will give the full list of VSMT speed tweaks I have found in an upcoming blog. Until then, give WinImage a try and feel free to post any questions.

Written by VirtuallyAware

April 25, 2007 at 12:57 PM

Hey here I am

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Welcome. This is my first Blog post. I thought this would be a good thing to start since I needed a place to stream out the experience I have been having with the virtual server project I have been involved with at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, NH. Mostly this blog will be about Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 and its various number and letter combinations (R2, Beta 2, SP1 etc….). Also, I will be discussing the many adventures with Automated Deployment Services in conjunction with the Virtual Server Migration Tool Kit. I will also touch on some of my experiences with VMware, ZEN, a few other server virtualization providers. We are also working out the final details (financial details) to be part of the Longhorn RDP program focusing on the new virtualization features that will be part of Server 2007 or 2008. Of what I am allowed, I would be happy to share. Other topics could range from terminal services experiences to Active Directory management or anything else that seems mildly interesting that would normally be trapped in my head. So hope you enjoy the blog, tell a friend and subscribe to my RSS.

Written by VirtuallyAware

April 14, 2007 at 3:31 PM

Posted in General


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