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Here is my challenge: I have a physical production webserver running Ubuntu 10.04 with software raid 5 (mdadm) that I have to virtualize to an VM ESXi5.0 host while minimizing the down time (preferably 0 down time).

I have tried to use VMware's standalone converter but that does not work on a running server with software raid. I can't seem to find any viable option for this P2V.

The tools I have at my disposal that should help:
An recently formatted empty server that has matching specs.
A 1tb external USB HDD.
1 physical ESX5.0 Host
1 physical Microsoft server 2012 with hyper-v

Time is not a problem here, but I need to:
ensure that no data is lost in the move
minimize downtime (it will be hard for me to justify anything over 10 minutes without a running backup in place first.)
minimize risk of losing the server(i.e. corrupting the raid/disk before the move) - no disk backup currently exists.

I have been looking around all day for a solution, DD seems like it should be useful but I can't figure out the proper way to do it and I am not 100% sure I can dd an entire disk from said disk. It also seems that if I could rebuild the raid to raid 1 I could clone one of those disks and get rid of the raid array that way, but most articles are about going from 1 to 5 and not 5 to 1.

Any help pointing me in the right direction would be helpful.

(As a side note, I don't think this is pertinent to my question but just in case, in the end this server is going to be upgraded from 10.04 to 12.04 and moved over to Microsoft Hyper-V.)

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What type of services is this box running? Is it a database, fileserver, something else? – Zoredache Mar 22 '13 at 0:02

A minimal downtime is most likely possible, but not with a simple p2v. Instead treat this more like a bare-metal restore of a backup to new hardware.

  • Perform a backup
  • Restore in the VM, and reconfigure filesystem and settings for the new virtual devices/storage
  • Stop any services / writes on source
  • sync any data remaining changed between initial backup

The difficulty or easy of this completely depends on how hard the final sync will be. If you already have a good backup system in place, this may be very easy. Just perform an incremental backup, then restore it.

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As an added bonus treat this as a test of your backup restore plan. You do have one, right? If not this is a good time to document the restore process. – Grant Mar 22 '13 at 2:33

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