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  • NT Backup & Virtual Images

    OK,

    So at work I have been tasked with creating a complete (including system state) backup of an HP DL580 G4 server configured Windows 2003 Standard and restoring it into a virtual server (VMWare) installed on the same server. The aim of the exercise is to prove that said physical server (now the host) can be backed up and that that backup can be restored (into the guest VM).

    First of all let me say I think it wrong on several levels but the main one is that the virtual hardware is different from the physical hardware and restoring the boot/system of the host into the guest VM is going to be problematic at best, I'm assuming it would work on a server with an identical (or near identical) configuration but that virtual hardware is likely to be quite different. This is probably why VMWare provide a VMWare converter utility but that would not suit the aim of the exercise according to its project manager. They don't have a spare server and would be unwilling to test the backup on the current server.

    So I created the backup, built the VM, got the guest to recognise the host Ultrium drive, restored all but the boot/system and it all went swimmingly but, as I expected (and the reason I simply didn't restore the entire machine but left the boot/system until last), the boot/system restore failed leaving me with a VM which won't get anywhere near the GUI, just blue screens and restarts immediately. I don't think this is a virtual machine vs physical machine issue just a driver incompatibility problem brought on by the restore overwriting the VM's proper configuration.

    I have subsequently told the project manager that this is highly unlikely to work but he is insisting the test continues (meaning a rebuild of the VM and a new set of restores) so my question is, am I right to take the stance I am (that installing a full backup of a physical system into a VM is likely to fail pretty much every time because virtual hardware is so different from the physical hardware)?

    A subsequent question is, is there any way round this issue?

    Thanks

    Kyu
    J C Rocks (An Aspiring Author's Journey)
    The Abyssal Void War: Stars, Hide Your Fires

  • #2
    Re: NT Backup & Virtual Images

    what might be causing this issue there is the storage controller driver. if you manage to completely remove it from the system before you backup, the system might pick up the virtual one after the restore.

    another issue is the system kernel. if the server you have is using SMP, you need to assign at least 2 vCPUs to the VM, so that the SMP kernel has something to work with
    ________
    Olivier Gendebien
    Last edited by DYasny; 6th March 2011, 18:10.
    Real stupidity always beats Artificial Intelligence (c) Terry Pratchett

    BA (BM), RHCE, MCSE, DCSE, Linux+, Network+

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    • #3
      Re: NT Backup & Virtual Images

      You're going through a P2V process but you are not using the correct tools to accomplish the job.

      Search the internet on P2V. There are lots of tools that handle the conversion. Personally I use VMware P2V Assistant and VMware Converter. There are 3rd party tools from Platespin (now Novell), Vizioncore, etc. or if you have no budget you can create your own P2V process following some of the steps that others have already gone through.

      Jas
      VCDX3 #34, VCDX4, VCDX5, VCAP4-DCA #14, VCAP4-DCD #35, VCAP5-DCD, VCPx4, vEXPERTx4, MCSEx3, MCSAx2, MCP, CCAx2, A+
      boche.net - VMware Virtualization Evangelist
      My advice has no warranties. Follow at your own risk.

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      • #4
        Re: NT Backup & Virtual Images

        Originally posted by DYasny View Post
        what might be causing this issue there is the storage controller driver. if you manage to completely remove it from the system before you backup, the system might pick up the virtual one after the restore.
        I can't do that because it is their only server and about to go live ...

        Originally posted by DYasny View Post
        another issue is the system kernel. if the server you have is using SMP, you need to assign at least 2 vCPUs to the VM, so that the SMP kernel has something to work with
        ... but that's one thing I hadn't thought of, thanks

        Kyu
        J C Rocks (An Aspiring Author's Journey)
        The Abyssal Void War: Stars, Hide Your Fires

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        • #5
          Re: NT Backup & Virtual Images

          Originally posted by Kyuuketsuki View Post
          I can't do that because it is their only server and about to go live ...
          well, this is the main reason for hardware incompatibility with windows. you can back the system up before you remove the drivers and restore it to it's original state after you're done
          ________
          NO2 VAPORIZER
          Last edited by DYasny; 6th March 2011, 18:12.
          Real stupidity always beats Artificial Intelligence (c) Terry Pratchett

          BA (BM), RHCE, MCSE, DCSE, Linux+, Network+

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          • #6
            Re: NT Backup & Virtual Images

            Originally posted by jasonboche View Post
            You're going through a P2V process but you are not using the correct tools to accomplish the job.

            Search the internet on P2V. There are lots of tools that handle the conversion. Personally I use VMware P2V Assistant and VMware Converter. There are 3rd party tools from Platespin (now Novell), Vizioncore, etc. or if you have no budget you can create your own P2V process following some of the steps that others have already gone through.
            I know I'm not but if I do it "the proper way" then I won't be doing it the way they want ... the point of the exercise is to prove the backup (or the physical system) works without overwriting the live system (hence the use of a VM).

            Thanks anyway

            Kyu
            J C Rocks (An Aspiring Author's Journey)
            The Abyssal Void War: Stars, Hide Your Fires

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: NT Backup & Virtual Images

              Originally posted by DYasny View Post
              another issue is the system kernel. if the server you have is using SMP, you need to assign at least 2 vCPUs to the VM, so that the SMP kernel has something to work with
              Note entirely correct. The system will function with an SMP HAL and only a single CPU. But that scenario is not supported for long term use by Microsoft.

              Here is an example of a Windows Server 2003 SP1 box running an SMP HAL with only 1 processor:

              Last edited by jasonboche; 8th March 2008, 17:20.
              VCDX3 #34, VCDX4, VCDX5, VCAP4-DCA #14, VCAP4-DCD #35, VCAP5-DCD, VCPx4, vEXPERTx4, MCSEx3, MCSAx2, MCP, CCAx2, A+
              boche.net - VMware Virtualization Evangelist
              My advice has no warranties. Follow at your own risk.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: NT Backup & Virtual Images

                it does function, but presents quite a few issues.

                Actually I believe MS have addresses this somehow in sp2, but I'm not so sure.
                ________
                VERMONT MARIJUANA DISPENSARIES
                Last edited by DYasny; 6th March 2011, 18:12.
                Real stupidity always beats Artificial Intelligence (c) Terry Pratchett

                BA (BM), RHCE, MCSE, DCSE, Linux+, Network+

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