Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Hyper-V physical computer to virtual machine p2v rocks

Today I had the pleasure to work with System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008. A Microsoft product to control mixed virtual server and machine environments. It makes it possible to control all virtual servers in a network whether it runs Hyper-V or VMware. But it doesn't stop there. It also has some high availabillity features and conversion tools for virtual 2 virtual (v2v) or VMware to Hyper-V and physical to virtual (p2v). The tool is very easy to use and provides an upgrade path from only VMware environment to a mixed Hyper-V VMware environment.

Today I tested it's p2v capabilities. Every company probably has a few of these old servers that have always worked, but are not mission critical, but the hardware is just outdated and migration to a newer server seems to expensive money and time wise.

This specific server, one of our older development servers that was used for tons of things that people have even forgotten, untill they need it that is. It seemed the perfect candidate for a p2v migration. A p2v migration leaves the original server intact, but creates a virtual machine with the exact disk config and OS/program settings. It's a clone of the same server that becomes a Hyper-V virtual machine.

There are a few reasons to do a p2v conversion:

  • Increased CPU, Memory and disc power (older hardware)
  • Increased bandwith for NICS normally from 100 MB to 1 or even 10 GB
  • Increased flexibility an management
  • Enery and space savings
  • Expand disc space the easy way
  • Backup option (it doesn't have to be on but you have it when you needed)
  • Save time by not having to migrate the applications, data etc to a new physical server.
This specific p2v conversion took about 2 hours and consisted of a server with 50 GB of data copied over a 100 MB LAN (it's a very old machine). A Dell poweredge 4400, Dual P3 933, 1024 RAM, RAID 5 with 4 discs runing Windows 2003 SP2, SQL 2005, IIS 6.0 and sourcesafe. After it was done I shut down the original server and started the virtual machine. You need to do that otherwise you will have IP/DNS issues and so on. The whole process worked without problems. See below pic for the steps it takes.

When I started the virtual machine all worked without issues. Besides the known ping issue with multiple CPU's so I scaled down to 1 CPU avoiding the issue. Except for some memory issues that where related to Dell Openmanage (don't need that anymore...) and a old crystal reports installation. The virtual machine is active now and the old server can be disposed. Faster and fresher then before. Running on my new Dell Poweredge 2950 with Windows 2008 Hyper-V. It was a special moment which should fit in my previous post. So if the developers are happy tomorrow w'll do some more p2v for other old legacy servers.

So convert those old windows servers, save rack space to reduce monthly costs and confince your CFO,CTO or CIO to buy those servers for Hyper-V virtualization.

For more info check This link also provides a list of support OS for p2v.

Hope you like it.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

My birthday and more than 10 years of ICT

So this week was my birthday, 31 now and still fresh, but feeling older sometimes. A good moment to look back at my ICT experiences of the last decade. Yes I was still young when I started with professional ICT. School education was really behind ICT trends. So I learned in the field. My profile is on Linkedin
In those times when I started everybody was doing Internet via dialup connection 56k seemed a lot in those days. Nothing compared to the Gigabit INternet connection we use with Payvision and the 100 Mb Internet in the Office. Already more the 3.5 years old. An amazing growth when I think of it from 14 /28 /56K modems to 1 Gigabit.

10things I have seen changing in 10 years are:
  1. Security became a big deal. I remember working for a company all workstations had their own IP without firewalls.
  2. Servers getting more reliable.
  3. Servers are more powerfull but lighter (a very welcome change)
  4. Multiple CPU's , servers and Load balencing /clustering are standard.
  5. OS and server software became more reliable, scalable and secure
  6. .Net Framework development with Microsoft was the best bet we (Payvision) ever took
  7. SQL mirroring made life a lot easier.
  8. x64 CPU and OS server software gave us scalability
  9. Everything is almost virtual. and in 10 years all will be virtual. Even Firewalls, NLB are virtual now. Hardware virtualization would have been very handy 10 years ago (P2V conversion)
  10. Microsoft became the good guy and created the best security practices/updating mechanism in teh market.

There is much more, but writing that down would make me feel really old.

See you in 9 years when I look back at 20 years. What will I be writing than?

Some predictions...
  • .Net is the most scalable, flexable and powerfull programming language
  • Hyper-V is the best virtualization solution
  • Windows Mobile is the most used Mobile OS
  • Ubuntu obtained a decent market share
  • SQL server and Windows 2000something HPC will rule all TPC benchmarks
  • TCPIP 6 just got started and has decent marketshare
  • Unified communications all the way.
  • Akamai and Google got a lot bigger.
  • Microsoft released an open source OS. Just to show how its done :)
  • I'll have a lot more grey hears... not that I have plenty now :)
Let me know what you think. What have you seen last 10 years and how will the ICT world be in 10 more years.