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we have two debian Lenny production machines, both running larger commercial websites. Now these machines need to be moved, and in the process, they need to be virtualized to VMWare ESX.

If you believe the internet information, there are several ways to accomplish this. The easiest for us would be to use our weekly dd backup where the whole disk, however, I have no experience with this kind of technology and if it is really possible.

The second best way would be via an application on the source machine virtualizing it and generating an ESX compatible VM. However, the software is beta and unsupported, and after installation, nothing really works (the /etc/init.d/vmware-converter script doesn't actually do anything, start and stop reply with success messages, yet ps shows that there are no new processes).

The worst way with the most work would be to install a new machine and set it up manually, copying files and databases as needed. This part is clear in it's execution, and my question(s) do not touch this.

Is my 1st way possible? Has anyone done this yet, or better, has a page with instructions? Or is there a help page that explains how to correctly install, run and use the vmware-converter tool using a Debian installation (it's possible that I dod something wrong during installation already)?

Thank you.

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If you have a Windows machine on the same network you could use the Windows version of VMware Converter which can convert a Linux install directly to a virtual machine on ESX, you would need an ESX box on the same network to use as the target.

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Well, as I said, an installed version of the vmware converter on the box to be converted does not start, and this would be one requirement of the remote conversion process. – Dabu Jun 30 '11 at 8:42
No Dabu, you misunderstood. He's saying you don't need to install any software on the Linux machine, which is correct, you only need SSH access for both vCenter Converter and ESX server, the latter two needing to be on the same LAN. – deed02392 Apr 27 '12 at 13:16

Try systemimager. I have used this for redhat/centos and debian boxes. It will create an rsync copy of your linux installation. It also updates your network and fstab and various other configurations on a system. Then install debian on a vm. Or you could pxe boot and update from a pxe boot that was more more work than I wanted to do.

Then update your debian vm with your systemimager copy. You will also need to run initrd with your new storage driver.

You can you use systemimager to do an ONLINE migration between even different versions of linux. With that said vmware converter is easier, see above for requirements.

I use this approach to move back and forth between physical and virtual machines.

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