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I have about 7 servers and I have for sometime been looking into virtualization, I use VMware ESXi on my personal servers rack. The problem I seem to be unable to get around is how exactly to move physical servers to VMware. I know you can use the VMware converter to make a VM. But the problem I see is how to do stop the server from flipping out when the VM has all of the drivers from the previous install? Is there something I can do to prep the machines for being virtualized?

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I have been using VMware converter for virtualizing probably hundreds of systems so far. There's a simple process to follow:

  1. Stop all unneeded services, like SQL, application specific, etc
  2. Perform conversion either by installing the software locally on the server to convert or using the management station.
  3. Allow appropriate time for conversation, bear in mind that the rate on a 1GB network is about 30MB/sec.
  4. After the P2V is completed, make sure to uninstall all hardware related software and remove previous hardware. To do this go to a CMD prompt and type SET DEVMGR_SHOW_NONPRESENT_DEVICES=1 and then DEVMGMT.MSC and then select Show Hidden Devices. Delete any old grayed out hardware. (c)
  5. Assign 1 vCPU to the system and replace the HAL to indicate it's actually Uni-processor system.
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replace the hal? how? I thought the hal was deep in the system kernel and was off limits. – ianc1215 Mar 21 '11 at 22:35
hal.dll, In the Device Manager, Expand Computer and change the processor from multi to uni processor. – Vick Vega Mar 21 '11 at 22:42
Stupid converter agent won't install, anyhow after taking a look @ our systems I have decided to do a fresh install / consolidation of things manually. I will create the VMs by hand rather than converting the tangled mess I was left with. Thanks for the help anyway I learned something today! – ianc1215 Mar 22 '11 at 0:04
What OS is the server that you want to P2V? – Vick Vega Mar 22 '11 at 0:06
Windows 2003 R2 + SP2, turns out its just that machine, not sure why though. – ianc1215 Mar 22 '11 at 2:09

VMware converter does a fairly decent job of disabling unecessary drivers. You can go into device manager afterwards and completely remove them from the system later, if you so desire.

Windows is also fairly good at not loading drivers for hardware that isn't there.

Link on how to show non-present devices in device manager for removing them after you're in virtual-land:

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Cool its a start – ianc1215 Mar 21 '11 at 20:11
Just give it a shot. VMware Converter is generally a trial-and-error operation anyway. Chances are, as long as the converter actually runs the entire way through, you're good to go. – Hyppy Mar 21 '11 at 20:23

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