23 November 2009

Virtually Unmigratable

It's come to my attention that some of you are actually reading my posts. I never expected it, this blog is really to help me record tech problems at work in case I need to remember what I did to fix something. Occasionally I rant if the problems seem more difficult to solve than they really need to be. Which leads me nicely into todays rant (due to the fact I havn't fixed the problem yet).

Once again it's Microsoft and specifically Technet, which is our equivalent of Hermione Granger, just not as good looking or useful. Yes I am currently engaged in some research into migrating a physical win 2k3 server into a virtual server. It's been a long process that's far from over (I think).

What surprises me about Technet is the absurd mixture of holding your hand (up the mountain) and then when you need it the most they let go (or push you off). Today I'm looking through this article:How to Perform a P2V Conversion. It's a great example of this aspect of not really explaining the important bits. I refer of course to the Before You Begin section. Would I really be reading this if I hadn't already started the process?
Anyway it says that the first phase is to survey the hardware configuration and make sure the patch cache contains all necessary drivers and system files. If any are missing it will supposedly generate error messages indicating where to get the necessary drivers. All very well and good; but WHAT DO I USE to do this survey and tell me where to get drivers? Is it ESP?
Ok the next bits are fairly simple:
Do a chkdsk because you can't transfer bad sectors (right click the C drive, properties -> tools -> error checking; yes basic stuff use it frequently).
Do a disk defrag to reduce the transfer time (same place, lower down the tools, again nothing too complex).
Use dynamic VHD's to conserve drive space followed by a brief explanation of why use dynamic VHD's instead of fixed (yes I have already used virtual PC so this is not really necessary to explain).
For offline P2V, install WAIK - the windows automated installation kit. Ok I'm all for saving time so I switch to my test server (win2k3 SP2) and attempt to download this. Which is when I hit the first snag. Yes this file requires windows genuine advantage validation. You see it's an advantage to have a genuine version of windows, so much so that the validation tool doesn't actually install on win2k3 server SP2. Not only that, I switch over to my XP box which validates and then downloads a .img file(?) At this point I'm very tempted to burn it but don't know if I should use Nero or petrol (that's Gasoline for any US visitors who don't watch Top Gear).
Now I've lost the plot again. It goes on to say that now I can use the "Convert Physical Server Wizard" to create a new virtual machine. Come back Hermione!!!
I'll let you know what happens...