Creating a Portable P2V VMware Converter Machine


You are tasked with going to a remote office location to carry out P2V conversions of a client's servers. There is no access to a VMware Virtual Centre from site, and the tools you can take are a laptop and removable storage device(s.) It is desired to get the customer up and running as quickly as possible in the hosting infrastructure after the P2Vs have been done, and original servers shut down.

A solution

With the following hardware:

64bit VT-enabled laptop (the Toshiba Tecra R10 will do the job)
4GB USB key
1TB eSATA external drive
*The Toshiba Tecra R10 also has an Intel 82567LM Gigabit Network Adapter - Gigabit Networking is a necessity (transfer rates over fast ethernet of max 750MB per minute or more realistically 250MB per minute, is far too slow for most purposes - better to plug a USB drive into the server being P2Vd)

It is possible to:

1) Install ESXi onto a 4GB USB stick, and run ESXi on the laptop
*Recommend keep ESXi on the evaluation license so can add to a vCenter on the eval license and storage vMotion imported servers across

2) The eSATA external drive can be presented as storage to the ESXi host running on the laptop
*Advantage of eSATA is that the performance is similar to a local SATA drive

3) Then the P2V is pointed to the ESXi host running on the laptop

The advantage of doing the P2V to the portable ESXi host as opposed to using the VMware Workstation option to do the P2V to a network share on removable storage, is that the images don't then need to be converted to work with vSphere when they have been uploaded to the hosting infrastructure, thus considerably saving time.

P2Vs to a locally connected USB drive or network share, not done to a VMware ESX(i) host / vCenter, either need their sparse disks converted using vmkfstools ( ) or - if the provision thick option is used - need to be V2Vd to avoid getting file system corruption when later snapshot-ing the imported VM guest.

For google: Tips for VMware P2V to laptop usb network share