Moving to Hyper-V

I am being asked more and more often about how to move virtual machines onto Hyper-V and so I wanted to do a definitive post on the tools and techniques to do this.  Whatever your reasons for doing this you’ll want to ensure your users have a good experience post migration and the secret to this is to prepare and plan.  So step one is to understand what is to be migrated such as the spec of the physical servers and for each virtual machine:

  • The resources it “thinks” has such as networks, RAM, CPU, storage etc.
  • The software it’s running
  • An understanding of how well it is currently performing

These kinds of things can all be discovered by using the Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit(MAP), a free download designed to accelerate your migrations and deployments of any Microsoft technology. It crawls your datacentre with credentials you supply so that it can access such things as what’s running on your Vmware servers, ,the specs of the servers (both physical and virtual) and precisely what OS and software is running on each VM to help you plan migrations and upgrades or just to keep on top of what you have as part of an audit. Note that MAP is continuously updated and already supports migrations to Windows Server 2012 so make sure you pull down the latest version.

However there are things that even MAP doesn’t tell you, for example VMs are often combined to provide n-tier services like SharePoint and it is the overall performance of that service that you’ll want to capture as well as how high availability, disaster recovery and backup are managed.  It’s also important to understand who is responsible for each of these services and the business impact of these

Actually the easy bit of the process is the actual conversion of virtual /physical machines and, there are several tools out to convert virtual machines to Hyper-V.

  • There are a couple of VMDK convertors out there from StarWind  and  VMToolkit  that will make a copy of a Vmware hard disk (vmdk) and convert that to a VHD (so the original vmdk is still there)
  • The Microsoft Virtual Machine Convertor  will migrate Vmware VMs with all their settings to Hyper-V
  • If your running VMs on Citrix Xen server then the hard disk of the VM is already a VHD file so you just need to copy it to Hyper-V and replace the integration components for Xen with those for Hyper-V
  • System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) also has the ability to migrate VMs from Xen server and Vmware to Hyper-V. You’ll need to license System Center to get this, so it might seem like a lot of expense, just to do migrations.   I would agree so the real reason you’ll need it later is to manage all those VMs you found with MAP from the host to the services that each VM makes up.
  • Of course you may already be running an older version of Hyper-V and if you are there’s a wizard in Windows Server 2012 to move clustered VMs from 200R2 to 2012 (details are here) and I’ll post about this separately.

Being ready for Hyper-v is also about the IT guys understanding it. This should just be a conversion process - understanding that the job is the same but is just achieved in a different way using different tools. My top three training tips for getting started with Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012:

| would also recommend getting certified and MCSE Windows Infrastructure  or  MCSE Private Cloud are the two to consider (the latter includes exams on System Center 2012)