Migrating to VMware - Part I: Setup

So after a long time of not wrriting I am going to try to get back at it yet again. This time the post is about something else than programming. So here it goes:

A main server at my clients work has crashed and there is little I can do to bring it back to life. It seems to come back for a while, just to crash again. I am sick of it. So, I went and got a new server and I am getting ready to move my client into the fun world of VMware. My experience so far with virtualization was very limited. I have Virtual Box on my Macbook I use every now, but I have never tried to do anything serious with it. This should be quite an adventure.

Let me run you be the setup my client currently has before we begin. They have 2 servers, a main and a secondary, and about 20 workstations. The two servers are HP ProLiant 350 towers. One is running Windows Server 2003 and the other is running Windows Server 2008. The main one is the 2003 one. It runs the DHCP, AD and stores the roaming profiles. Nothing more and nothing less. The hardware configuration has a RAID5 configuration with 8 hard drives 3.5 GB of RAM (32 bit system). I went on craigslis and found a “new” server for $300 that is similar to what we have. It is a HP ProLiant 380 Rack server with 8 cores and 16GB of RAM that has been rebuilt. This is an overkill for my client needs.

Before we can actually begin setting you will need to get a copy of VMware ESXi and VMware vCenter Converter. Both of these are free. All you need to do is register for a free account with VMware. The version I will be using are VMWare ESXI 5.1.0. Here are the links to both products:

VMware ESXI: http://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere-hypervisor/overview.html
VMware vCenter Converter: http://www.vmware.com/products/converter/

VMware ESXI needs to be installed on the server that is going to run the virtual machines. In this case, I am going to install it on the HP ProLiant 380. The download is an ISO that you can either create a bootable cd or usb drive with. I am using a CD because that is what I grabbed first, but you can also use a USB drive. If you want to use a USB drive, I recommend UNetbootin to create bootable drives. It is a cross platform program that is distributed under GNU General Public License. After you have your bootable device ready, pop it in and hit the power button. If you have managed to boot up correctly you should arrive at this screen:

wpid-vmware_boot_selection-2013-04-25-18-49.png

Loading up:

wpid-vmware_loading-2013-04-25-18-49.png

If everything goes well, After a while, you will arrive to the setup screen. Depending on the hardware you are running, it might be fast or slow. Just be patient. You will end up in a gray - yellowish screen. That is just another loading screen. It will test your hardware to see if you can install VMware ESXI. The screen will look like this:

wpid-vmware_load_yellow-2013-04-25-18-49.png

If there are any errors, google is your friend. Thankfully I did not run into any errors. Just follow the prompts and make sure you set a root password. Here are some screen shots from the installation:

wpid-vmware_welcome-2013-04-25-18-49.png

VMware EULA agreement:

wpid-vmware_eula-2013-04-25-18-49.png

Set a root password:

wpid-vmware_password-2013-04-25-18-49.png

More scanning...

wpid-vmware_scanning-2013-04-25-18-49.png

Yet another progress bar...

wpid-vmware_install_progress-2013-04-25-18-49.png

This will be a nice time to get up and walk around or grab a cup of coffee or something.

A while late, I came back and so the following screen:

wpid-vmware_install_complete-2013-04-25-18-49.png

Success! After hitting ‘Enter’ as promoted, the machine reboots and reaches the following screen:

wpid-vmware_running_screen-2013-04-25-18-49.png

From this screen you can hit <F2> and configure network settings. After that you can unplug the monitor to the VMware because it will be useless from now on. If you point any web browser to the address on the screen you will see the following information:

wpid-vmware_web_interface-2013-04-25-18-49.png

If you want to, you can also download a client from VMware’s website.

That is it for now. I have VMware setup and configured. Now for the hard part, the migration. That will be another post all by itself.

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