VMware Converter 3.0

VMware Converter 3.0 was released yesterday. I had played with the tool while it was in Beta – converting VM files from one version to another and a physical machine (just an XP Pro box) to a VM. Everything seemed to work quite well for me during the beta.

The timing for the release was just perfect. I had been planning on converting one of our primary test servers, our ERP test box, to a VM this week. The server in question runs Windows Server 2003, SQL 2000, our ERP software and several other databases. Using the new VMware Converter it took about five and half hours to convert it into a VM. Powering the VM went well, it did some hardware redetection after which I installed the VMware tools and had the server working.

There were several clean-up items I had to do post conversion. First I uninstalled all the HP tools (the physical server was an old DL580). That resolved a couple of start-up errors from the HP stuff looking for devices that were no longer there.

I also noticed the host server was getting hammered processor wise. I suspected this was due from converting from a quad proc server to a single proc, which can cause issues such as this if the OS in the VM is still using a multiprocessor HAL. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like there is a “supported” way to revert back to a Uniprocessor HAL in Windows 2003. Searching the VMware forums a bit I did find this thread:

http://www.vmware.com/community/thread.jspa?messageID=410987

That has a snippet in there that lets you use devcon to switch back to the Uniprocessor HAL for Windows 2003. I tried it and it worked great! Solved the high processor utilization issue and seemed to run fine. Not sure I would do this on any critical production servers, but should be a handy trick for test systems.

I also needed to resize the disk for the server. I had tried reducing the size of the disk during the conversion and it ended up with only 2GB free on my DB partition. I used vmware-vdiskmanager to add another 12GB to the disk. I could have tried using diskpart in Windows to expand the partition, but from looking at it it didn’t appear that it was going to like doing the system drive. So I used the GParted Live CD to resize the partition which worked very well.

With that done, the server was up and running in a VM. So far everything seems to be working well. A very cool tool!

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One Response to VMware Converter 3.0

  1. kappclark says:

    Great to see you post…

    I have a real need for a disk partitioning utility, as the PDC which was upgraded to Server 2003 was done so in place (NT ->2k3)

    This gave me a 4GB system partition, which is already running low on space ! after updates….

    I have 80GB avail to re-allocate to the c: drive –

    I am glad to see you were successful

    I also did not want to spend $500 on the Acronis software !!

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