Creating Stand-alone Media to Deploy Windows Server 2008 that Captures Physical Host

The entire goal of the Configuration Manager Physical-to-Virtual Migration Toolkit is to, as I outlined in my previous post, is to “flip” the physical server with no need for additional hardware.  I outlined in “Using ConfigMgr Physical-to-Virtual (P2V) Migration Toolkit’s “Action Pad” to build Task Sequence” post I shared how to effectively build a task sequence that orchestrates the creation of a Task Sequence in ConfigMgr that is deployable via an advertisement (or deployment) or stand-alone media.

The primary scenario for P2V Migration Toolkit is to build stand-alone media that will write the task sequence to USB flash drive or to a DVD – whichever you prefer.  I will walk you through doing this in today’s post.

It really is that simple. This process orchestrates the process of doing the following:

  • Creating a bootable media capable of loading a Windows boot loader
  • Providing you an easy-to-use wizard to select the drives to virtualize, and other key deployment questions
  • Capturing the physical drives into individual VHDs
  • Installing Windows 2008/R2
  • Enable Hyper-V
  • Create a virtual network for use in Hyper-V
  • Create a VM that points to the VHDs created

This is all done *offline* meaning that your server is self-contained and doesn’t use any volume snapshots using the Windows VSS provider. The VSS provider is super useful but doesn’t work well for server OS’s typically as the copy process is much too long and the snapshot is out dated before the copy is even complete.

Using Action Pad to build Stand-Alone Media

The steps to take you through creation of stand-alone media is very simple and straightforward.  To do this, do the following -

  1. Open Configuration Manager P2V Migration Toolkit on your workstation
  2. Select the Create Stand-alone Task Sequence Media option, which is the second optionimage
  3. When prompted, select the Site Server name and site code to connect to as show in Figure 2image
  4. This launches the stand-alone Media wizard that will allow you to select a USB flash drive or to create an ISO file that can later be used to burn to a DVD as seen in Figure 3image
  5. For this example, we will choose a USB Flash drive that isn’t protected by a password, and when doing this, you are warned that it will format the flash drive as shown in Figure 4image
  6. Click Yes to continue
  7. Click Next
  8. Select the USB flash drive radio buttonimage
  9. Select the Task Sequence to use for the stand-alone media by clicking Browse and choosing a TS (created earlier in this post)image
  10. Select the distribution point to utilize when pulling the contentimage
  11. Click Next
  12. Click Create on the Summary screen

Automation:  Using Stand-alone Media to do the P2V & Upgrade

After you’ve created the stand-alone media, you now just use the USB (or CD/DVD) to boot your server.  This is an offline virtualization process and one that comes using a base Windows 7 boot image.  The task sequence utilized includes all the tools to complete the process utilizing a person on-site.  This is key – there is no zero touch aspect to P2V nor the stand-alone media.  This solution is assuming you are present and available at the time that we will “flip” the server.

The boot process will start by asking if  you would like to boot from CD/DVD/USB – say yes.  (hit any key).  This will cause it to boot to the Windows 7 splash screen as shown belowimage

The first screen you should see is the Configuration Manager OSD splash. 



If you will need network access for activities such as creating, and copying, your P2V bits to a network share, ensure you have a DHCP or static address inputted in the ConfigMgr network settings dialog as shown below.image


Lastly, click  next and this will start the task sequence.  The first option you will see come up is a Wizard that will ask you a set of questions required to build this server from scratch.  We will walk through this next.

Using Rehost Wizard to Define Settings used during OSD Process

For those of you familiar with Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2010 Update 1’s User-Driven Installation (UDI), you will find this wizard to look very similar.  This should be the case as they are in fact the same code base and the same basic task sequence engine.  It is obviously a custom built task sequence that includes the custom tools for virtualizing your system disk (and others).

imageThe introductory screen telling you what is about to happen.  This screen is purely for informational purposes and only shares the upcoming plans.






This wizard screen is important as it will share with you our ability to successfully check whether or not your hardware meets the requirements for Hyper-V.  Ideally, you should already know this but as a safety precaution we will block if we do not see a CPU/Bios that supports the minimal requirements for Hyper-V.





This screen allows you to define the new, physical Hyper-V servers computer name and the appropriate domain to join (or workgroup).  If you select a domain, you must provide credentials to successfully join that domain which is highlighted in the bottom portion of the wizard.






In this screen, you input the administrator password to set during the setup of Windows Server 2008 on the physical host.  Lastly, you can provide additional local users or domain credentials to add to the administrators group.






This screen selects the target drive for the new, Hyper-V Operating System to be installed.







This is the step where you select the disk(s) you would like to virtualize. The minimal is the system volume as you can always attach other physical disks to the VM if you choose. The other option is to select all. For the purposes of this demo, I’ve chosen to only use the system volume.





imageIn this screen, you must provide the wizard the correct path to save the virtual disks selected in the previous screen.  The disks are created in order, one disk per volume, in the form disk0.vhd, disk1.vhd, etc. in the path you specify here.  If necessary, and utilizing a network share, you can provide secure credentials for the task sequence to use to access the VHDs when created.





The final screen in the Rehost Wizard process is the collection of information needed to correctly enable the Hyper-V role. The hyper-V role requires a virtual network, a virtual machine name, and the correct memory size to create the VM. After creating the VM, we will attach the VHD(s) created in earlier steps within the task sequence.




This is the final, summary screen. It is your last opportunity prior to starting the “flip” and should be reviewed one last time prior to clicking Finish. This starts the actual process of installing Windows Server 2008/R2 and the virtualization process.






In today’s post, I outlined how you take your custom built task sequence like I outlined in my last post and turn this into a actual bootable media that can “flip” your server that is currently running ConfigMgr 2007.  The key is that it doesn’t have to be just a ConfigMgr 2007 instance, but instead, can be any server or desktop operating system you choose.

The steps outlined included choosing the right media creation step, selecting the task sequence, and lastly creating the media.  I finalized to explain the experience one feels when using the bootable media at the server console.  After inputting data into the wizard, you can safely walk away and know that the end result will be a Hyper-V capable server with a newly created virtual network, virtual machine, pointed to a VHD created directly from the physical drives you selected.

As we’ve mentioned, the goal of the P2V Migration Toolkit was to orchestrated, automate, and optimize the migration process where no additional hardware is available for servers.