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driver installation, management and other postconversion issues. Conversion technologies are a great way to start the server consolidation process. Sun VirtualBox, however, lacks many of the options for converting physical servers. Also complicating matters is that VirtualBox does not natively support a P2V conversion tool. Even the cross-hypervisor P2V conversion tools -- such as PlateSpin Migrate, and my underdog favorite Vizioncore Inc.'s vConverter -- do not support VirtualBox as a destination hypervisor. Strangely, while hypervisors typically produce a conversion tool, VirtualBox has not. Despite these obstacles, fear not -- there is a way. It all starts with a Virtual Machine Disk (VMDK)
Last year, I blogged about importing VMDK into VirtualBox -- a key part of converting physical servers to VirtualBox VMs. The process also requires VMware vCenter Converter, but there are a few steps involved. Here I will cover a typical P2V conversion scenario involving a Windows Server 2003 system. First, install vCenter Converter (standalone or local edition) on a Windows system. This can even be installed on the Windows Server 2003 system you're converting. Usually, I designate one system as a "launchpad" for conversions. Once installed, launch the convert virtual machine task. The next screen will ask what server you want converted. For this article, the server I am converting is named Baselinews2k3.
(Note: If you have used vCenter Converter to convert VMs to formats in VMware Infrastructure 3 or vCenter, these steps will differ from what was done previously.)For VirtualBox to use the converted system, it needs direct access to the VMDK files. The easiest way is by selecting a non-ESX or ESXi virtualisation format. In this example, I use the VMware Workstation format.
- You may have to architect a storage solution to meet your needs.
- Operating system storage drivers and devices are your best bet to get a workable storage system in place.
- VirtualBox does not offer a clustered file system, such as VMware's Virtual Machine File System or Microsoft's Clustered Shared Volumes.
- Some advanced options with Sun storage may be available for VirtualBox, such as Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage Systems.
Rick Vanover (firstname.lastname@example.org), VCP, MCITP, MCTS, MCSA, is an IT infrastructure manager at Alliance Data in Columbus, Ohio. He is an IT veteran specialising in virtualisation, server hardware, operating system support and technology management.
This was first published in November 2009