Hyper-V experiences: Physical to Virtual

Hyper-V is cool. It’s simple to install and manage yet it has quite a few interesting quirks
that need to be worked out, an example of such a quirk is installing it on HP servers that
have teaming enabled:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/950792

An additional interesting point that is worth mentioning is that if you would like to manage
a Hyper-V server, and access the consoles of the guest operating systems, you should
do so by installing RSAT on your desktop or by working at the console of the Hyper-V
server itself. If you try connecting by using RDP, you will not be able to use your mouse
inside the guest OS.

A few weeks ago, I completed the migration of an old physical server to a virtual environment
(Hyper-V based on Windows 2008). The following is a distilled version of my experiences:

Before starting, I decided to test the process. I made the mistake of not using the exact same
hardware that the original system was built upon. Basically I installed Windows 2003, installed
a few applications, mapped a drive and shut down the test system. I took an image of the
test system, built a virtual machine and applied the image to it.

I took a snapshot after applying the image (if something goes wrong) and started the test
virtual machine. The system started without any major issues:

  1. The system had to be re-activated.
  2. Missing drivers.
  3. And (obviously), integration services had to be installed to enable access to the network.

Happy with the results, I was ready to proceed with the live system. I went through the same
process, yet when I started the virtual machine a blue screen welcomed me and the system
simply looped(restart,bluescreen a.k.a. happy happy joy joy).

At this stage, I started kicking myself for not using the exact same hardware for the test but
it was too late. Luckily I requested a large enough change window so having the production
system wasn’t a problem(yet).

There is a very useful post (actually step-by-step) for doing such a migration and avoiding
the blue screen but in my case it simply didn’t help…

After several unsuccessful attempts to manually fix the issue, I decided to reinstall the OS
over the current installation. I used a pre-SP2 CD to install the OS (later on this turned out
to be a mistake). The installation took quite some time yet when it was finished I was able to
boot into the guest OS with several problems:

  1. Activation-Since I had no networking I ended up calling the activation hotline (loved
    the voice activated system).
  2. Installing integration services- since I used a pre-SP OS to reinstall, Hyper-V would
    not install the integration services. I downloaded SP2, added it to a mounted
    hard drive and installed it…once done the integration services were installed.
    [Take a look at a similar yet different post on this issue.]

In summary, the process was relatively simple yet you have to know what to expect. I haven’t
tried it, yet I am sure that with Windows 2008 and Vista the process is simpler since they are
hardware independent yet my advice to you(specifically if you are looking at production systems):
test before you proceed!

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