Successful server migrations to the virtual environment is an essential part of all virtualization initiatives. In this post I will try to consolidate some experience and information about VMware Converter conversion process problems and possible solutions.
Some consolidated general tips from VMware that could help to solve problems that could occur during migrations to virtual environment:
1. To eliminate permission issues, always use the local Administrator account instead of a Domain Account.
2. To eliminate DNS problems, use IP addresses instead of host names.
3. Ensure that you do not choose partitions that contain any vendor specific Diagnostic Partitions before proceeding with a conversion.
4. To reduce network obstructions, convert directly to an ESX host instead of vCenter Server as the destination. (Note: This is only an option in VMware Converter Standalone)
5. VMware Converter Standalone has many more options available to customize your conversion. If you are having issues using the Converter Plug-in inside vCenter Server, consider trying the Standalone version.
6. If a conversion fails using the exact size of hard disks, decrease the size of the disks by at least 1MB. This forces VMware Converter to do a file level copy instead of a block level copy, which can be more successful if there are errors with the volume or if there are file-locking issues.
7. Make sure there is at least 500MB of free space on the machine being converted. VMware Converter requires this space to copy data.
8. Shut down any unnecessary services, such as SQL, antivirus, and firewall programs. These services can cause issues during conversion. If you cannot stop these services, consider using the Cold Clone method.
9. Run a check disk on the volume before running a conversion as errors on disk volumes can cause VMware Converter to fail.
10. Do not install VMware Tools during the conversion. Install VMware Tools after you confirm that the conversion was successful.
11. Do not customize the new virtual machine before conversion.
12. Ensure that the following services are enabled:
- Workstation Service
- Server Service
- TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper Service
* Volume Shadow Copy Service
13. Check that the appropriate firewall ports are opened. For more information, see TCP and UDP Ports for vCenter Server, ESX hosts, and other network components management access (1012382).
14. Check that boot.ini is not looking for a Diagnostic/Utility Partition that no longer exists.
15. Unplug any USB, serial/parallel port devices from the source system. VMware Converter may interpret these as additional devices, such as external hard drives which may cause the conversion to fail.
16. If the source machine contains multiple drives or partitions and you are having issues failing on certain drives, consider converting one drive or partition at a time.
17. Verify that there are no host NICs or network devices in the your environment that have been statically configured to be at a different speed or duplex. This includes settings on the source operating system, switches and networking devices between the source and destination server. If this is the case, Converter sees the C: drive but not the D: drive.
18. If you are using a security firewall or Stateful Packet Inspecting (SPI) firewall, check firewall alerts and logs to make sure the connection is not being blocked as malicious traffic.
19. If you have static IP addresses assigned, assign the interfaces DHCP addresses prior to conversion.
20. If the source server contains a hard drive or partition larger than 256GB, ensure that the destination data-store block size is 2MB, 4MB, or 8MB, and not the default 1MB size. The 1MB default block size cannot accommodate a file larger than 256 GB.
21. Clear any third party software from the physical machine that could be using the Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS). VMware Converter relies on VSS, and other programs can cause contention.
22. Break mirrored or striped volumes across multiple disks. Mirrored or striped volumes cannot be converted.
23. Verify that the VMware Converter agent is installed on the source machine. It may not be if the conversion fails right away.
24. Verify that DNS and reverse DNS lookups are working. It may be necessary to make entries into the local hosts file on source machine.Â As suggested in step 2, use IP addresses if possible.
25. You can run msconfig on the source server to reduce the number of services and applications running at startup. Only Microsoft Services and VMware Converter Service should be running.
26. Inject VMware SCSI drivers into the machine before conversion. Windows tries to Plug-n-Play the new SCSI Controller, and Windows may fail if the proper drivers are not installed.
27. If you customized permissions in your environment, ensure that local administrator has rights to all files, directories, or registry permissions before conversion.
28. Uninstall any UPS software. This has been known to cause issues after Conversion.
Another interesting issue – while doing physical-to-virtual (P2V) and / or virtual-to-virtual (V2V) migrations with the help of VMware Converter, sometimes a mystical error with the tag “Failed to Clone Volume C:” shows up. This message can come up in the beginning of the server conversion or at some other point. I would say, that the time of the error occurrence has also some meaning, but it is mostly all the time very hard to diagnose the reason for it. Neither the conversion task logs would provide clear signals on what causes such issues… at least there were no direct information for the cases that I had to do with. It often relates to some network connectivity problems (bad NIC configuration, cable, switch setup, etc.) or disk problems (disk check for errors, defragmentation could be useful).
Sometimes a successful idea is to try out different versions of the VMware Converter. If the target virtualization environment is supported by some older version of the Converter, then it could be a wise thing to try it out. Also, the Standalone and vCenter plug-in versions can also return some different results.
If the problem still exist, another option is to try some other tools:
Comments section is open for any other ideas, experiences that could help in the migration to virtual environment process.