P2V(hd) the easy way

Posted: November 22, 2009 in Virtualization

There are many methods for migrating a physical server to a Hyper-V virtual server but most of them require a management platform or third party software. For those in the market for a free and easy method to migrate physical server onto a virtual Hyper-V platform, life recently got much easier with the introduction of Disk2vhd. Created by Mark Russinovich and Bryce Cogswell (of Sysinternals), the latest version of this tool makes P2V migrations as easy as can be.

Disk2vhd is free and will run on Windows Server 2003 SP1, Windows XP SP2 or later. The utility supports 32 and 64 bit systems. Running the tool is as simple as selecting the disks to be captured and the target location. For performance reasons it is recommended not to save the vhd image to the disk being captured, but capturing across a fast network works very well.

Disk2vhd is available for download here (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/ee656415.aspx).

One seemingly common problem with the capture process occurs when capturing a boot disk that does not include the required disk controller drivers for the IDE controller used by Hyper-V. This situation can be identified when the captured image boots with a blue screen on Hyper-V showing a 0x0000007B error code. Luckily, a simple modification can be made to the system before the migration process is started to correct this issue. This process involves making sure that 4 IDE driver files are available on the server and registered in the registry. This additional process is typically needed only on Windows Server 2003 servers and the required steps are explained in this KB article: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314082. In my experience, on each system only one of the identified files was missing and once it and the associated registry keys were added, the P2V process worked flawlessly.

Now go get rid of those aging physical servers!

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