Friday, September 12, 2014

All about VMware Standalone Converter

As we all know, VMware Standalone Converter is used to convert any Physical Machine to Vmware Virtual Machine on the go.  It gives lot of options during conversion where you can shrink the current hard drive, stop or disable the services after conversion, synchronize and lot more. I will try to cover most of the features in this post. This can be installed on Windows XP or later (32 or 64 bit), Windows 2003/2008 (32 & 64 bit) and Windows 2012 (64-bit). The latest version is Standalone Converter 5.5, first let me start with what all Vmware converter can convert

  1. Physical Machine running Windows, RHEL, SUSE, Ubuntu.
  2. Vmware Virtual Machine (.vmx), Vmware Consolidated Backup (.vmx)
[Vmware Infrastructure VM, Workstation, Fusion, Player or other Vmware Products or image]
  1. Microsoft Virtual PC or Virtual Server Virtual Machine (.vmc)
  2. Symantec LiveState Recovery Image (.sv2i)
  1. Acronis True Image Backup (.tib)
  1. StorageCraft ShadowStor (.spf)
  1. Parallels Virtualization Products (.pvs)
  2. Hyper-V Virtual Machine
  3. Redhat KVM Virtual Machines

The destination can be ESXi host or vCenter, the number of source disks is limited to 27 for ESX and to 23 for ESXi hosts, when destination is selected as vCenter.

Configuration Options During Conversion:

  1. Copy Type:
Shrink Hard Drive volumes, Thin or Thick Disk, Cluster size (4KB Default - Block Level) or even a new Virtual Disk can be added.

  1. Devices:
Memory, CPU and Disk Controller can be edited here.

  1. Networks:
VM networks can be edited here.

  1. Services:
Source machines and destination VM's services can be edited here.

  1. Advanced Options:

  1. Synchronization:
This is an amazing feature where you get the option to synchronize the data changes after conversion. You can keep on synchronizing till you get the time for switch over from physical to virtual. Important point here is to disable the option "Perform Final Synchronization". When you use this feature "synchronization", a snapshot is created to the converted virtual machine on vSphere.

Currently there are some limitation with synchronization as mentioned below but workarounds are always available

  1. You can perform only volume-based cloning on the block level for ReFS-formatted volumes (Windows 2012).
  2. Windows Server 2008 sources with FAT/FAT32 volume file system not supported, requires at least one NTFS formatted volume.
  3. Resizing cluster size or shrinking NTFS not supported.

  1. Post Conversion:
Options are self explanatory.

  1. Throttling:

CPU and Network bandwidth can be throttled for the task for resources.