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I am currently running Exchange 2010 on a server which is hugely underutilised so am hoping to virtualize Exchange and other servers on this machine.

What is the best way to move/convert Exchange?

I will require this machine to be reinstalled with Server 2008 R2 server core to run only Hyper-V.

I thought of backing up (to multiple locations, just in case!!), reinstalling the server with core + Hyper-V, then restoring the backup to a new VM.

Or should I use the Sysinternals Disk2vhd tool first. Convert to VHD, then reinstall server with core and add the VHD as a new VM?

The Exchange databases and logs are on a separate RAID 5 array which would be left untouched so would making this disk available to the Exchange VM would allow it to continue where it left off after the server was restored from backup to the new VM?

I also read it is not recommended to use P2V tools with Exchange, but since I am required to reinstall the machine what choice do I have? In that case should I install Exchange on another server, move all databases and users to that server, reinstall old server, install Exchange VM, then move all databases and users onto the new VM?

The more I think about this, the more my head spins, so any insight is appreciated.


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up vote 1 down vote accepted

The problem is certainly that you want to virtualize it on the same hardware. I have always heard that P2V tools are a bad idea for Exchange, thus have never tried them or even know anyone who has tried them.

The restore to a new VM might be a viable option. However, my preferred option would be the last that you mentioned - standing up another Exchange server and moving the users to it. Ideally, if you have some spare hardware that you could use to create a VM on, you could create this new Exchange server as a VM, move all of the users to it, setup virtualization on the old Exchange hardware and move the VM to the old hardware. This would mean that you'd only have to move users between Exchange databases/servers once, instead of twice - also only having to install Exchange once.

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Great idea, thanks. Doing so will also give me some much needed practice setting up the Hyper-V server. – scampbell Feb 13 '12 at 11:29

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