I have an existing Windows 2008 R2 (64 bit) machine chugging along. I want to create a VM image of this physical machine so that I can upload it to Azure for scalability purposes.

I've found ways to convert a W2k8 box to VMWare, but not to the VHD format (which is I assume is what Azure requires).

So my questions:

  1. How to create a VHD for uploading to Azure?
  2. Additionally, my box contains 2 hard drives. Is there a way to package both of them into a single VHD?


  1. Microsoft has some literature on how to do a physical-to-virtual conversion in an Azure-compatible format (aka Hyper-V).
  2. Each VHD represents one physical volume in Windows. If your requirements demand that you have exactly one VHD, expand the VHD representing your C: drive to include the capacity of your second drive. You will then have two options. The first option is to create a new partition on the first VHD for your other drive, and image the second VHD onto the new free space in the first VHD (using third-party partitioning tools). The second option is to grow the filesystem on C: to fill the new space on the VHD, and copy the content from the second VHD into the newly-expanded C: drive.
  3. You didn't ask this, but I will: Why is Azure your platform of choice? Moving "to the cloud" will not magically resolve your performance issues (if "scalability" is your goal).
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  • It doesn't necessarily need to be Azure. I am open to Amazon, RackSpace or anyone else that can host Win2k8 boxes. And as to why scaling out will solve performance issues - each box is self-contained and performs a bunch of calculations. Throwing more CPUs at the problem has solved the problem in-house. I am thinking that it might be cheaper to do it in the cloud. – AngryHacker Feb 6 '12 at 21:06
  • In my experience, cloud services are useful for scaling up (or down) quickly, especially if you don't know how much load to expect and you need a rapid response. If you know exactly how much processing muscle you need, it will probably be much cheaper in the long run to just buy another box. In our case, it came to about $25K/annum (Rackspace) versus a one-time expense of $23K (Dell R510). – Joel E Salas Feb 6 '12 at 23:15

The Azure Site Recovery tools can also be used for one-way migrations from on-prem to Azure. http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/site-recovery/

Each disk would be it's own VHD.

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