Using VMware Converter for P2V Migration (Physical to Virtual) |

VMware vCenter Converter Standalone VMware has a free tool that allows you to migrate a physical server (computer) into a virtual machine (p2v, Phissical-To,Virtual) or move the VM from one virtualization software (hypervisor) to another (v2v, VReal-To,VReal). With vCenter Converter, you can convert computers running Windows and Linux. In this article, we will see how to migrate a physical server to a VMware vCenter environment using vCenter Converter.

Recently, the latest release was VMware Converter Standalone 6.2, which was released in 2018. In February 2022, VMware removed this version of Converter from the list of downloads available on its website (previous versions found significant vulnerabilities) and promised to release a new version. After a while. At the same time, no option was offered to perform P2V conversion.

And finally, on October 11, 2022, the new version of vCenter Converter 6.3 became available for download. This version supports the new Windows Server 2019/2022 and Windows 11. However, Windows Server 2012, RHEL/CentOS 6 and earlier versions prior to Ubuntu 14 are no longer supported.

You can download the latest version of the converter here (registration required):

download new vmware vcenter-converter standalone

Let’s take a look at how to migrate a physical Windows Server host to a VMware virtual machine online with virtually no downtime.

Converting a Physical Machine to a VMware Virtual Machine (P2V)

  1. Download and install vCenter Converter on any Windows computer;
  2. Two installation modes are available:
    local installation – Installs all the necessary components for managing the conversion tasks on the local computer (we use this mode) and client-server installation — Allows you to separately install a server, client or agent on a computer; install vcenter converter on windows
  3. Create a new conversion task: file, new, convert machine,
  4. Choose whether you want to convert the Windows machine remotely (On -> Remote Windows Machine) specify the remote computer’s FQDN or IP address and administrator credentials;
    VMware Converter allows you to convert a virtual machine located on a Hyper-V server, VMware Workstation/Player, or VMware vSphere (including the free VMware vSphere Hypervisor). Virtual Machine v2v .  convert[alert]
    1. If you’re converting a remote computer that has a firewall enabled, you need to open multiple ports. On Windows, you need to open the following inbound TCP ports: 139,445,9089 and UDP: 137,138. You can open ports in Windows Defender Firewall via GPO or with these powershell commands
      New-NetFirewallRule -DisplayName "VMConverterAgent" -Direction Inbound -Protocol TCP -LocalPort 9089 -Action Allow  | Enable-NetFirewallRule
    2. vCenter Converter will connect to the remote computer and try to install it VMware vCenter Converter Standalone Agent Service (vmware-converter-agent, Deploy vcenter converter agent remotelyvmware-converter-agent service[alert type=”warning”] In my case an error appeared while remotely installing the converter agent:
      Error 1603: A fatal error occurred during installation.
      Unable to complete Converter agent installation on ''. Error code: 1,603.

      First, I had to use PowerShell to uninstall the program on the Windows host:

      Get-Package -Name "VMware vCenter Converter*" | Uninstall-Package
      And then manually install the agent from the vCenter Converter distribution (Custom Setup -> Converter Agent).Install Converter Agent Manually

  5. VMware Converter connects to the specified server and installs VMware vCenter Converter Standalone Agent ,vmware-converter-agent) On this;
  6. You will then be asked to specify the name of the ESXi server (or vCenter Server) on which the virtual machine will be created, and the credentials to connect to;vcenter connection credentials
  7. Select the datacenter, cluster, ESXi host and VMFS datastore names where you want to place the new virtual machine. Select the VM hardware version;Select vmfs datastore and vm hardware version
  8. You will then need to select the disk, RAM and vCPU settings, etc., of the target system to be copied.

VMware Converter: Synchronize changes while doing P2V or V2V conversion

VMware Converter allows the synchronization of changes between the source computer and the target virtual machine located on the ESXi host. This feature allows you to virtualize a physical server with a large amount of data on physical disks in several steps with minimal downtime.

We are going to convert the physical server to a VM in two steps. In the first step, the converter copies the data from the source computer to the target VM while the source server is running and the data on it can be changed by users. In the second (final) step, the changes that have occurred since the initial data copy are synchronized.

The change synchronization feature allows you to reduce the downtime of the application/service during P2V/V2V conversion as the last application needs to be closed only when the last changes are being transferred.

  1. Control synchronize changes options in advanced section. Choose when the next sync will be done. be sure to unmarked , do final sync Thing;vcenter converter: synchronize changes
  2. Feather post-conversion Tab, select the actions to be performed after the last synchronization. We want to turn on the automatically created VM (Power on Destination Machine), shutdown the source server (Power off the Source Machine), install VMTools, etc.;post conversion job
  3. It remains to start the initial stage of P2V conversion and wait for it to finish.

    Comment. In this case, it took about 15 hours to replace the physical file server with 700 GB of data.

  4. After the initial conversion is complete, you can perform the final synchronization manually. To do this, select your task in VMware Converter and then click synchronized in the context menu; Synchronize changes to source with VM

    Comment: VMware Converter installs a special “bitmap driver” (bmdrvr service), which tracks changes to the source system since the last synchronization.

  5. In the wizard window, select the synchronization to run immediately, and then run the last synchronization after it is finished. To prevent users from modifying files on the source server during the last synchronization, you can temporarily stop the main service in the VM (for example, a file server or an application server);do final sync
  6. The final synchronization took about an hour, during which the changes to the source machine were replicated to the VM. After that, the old server is automatically shut down, and the new VM is started;sync is running
  7. All you have to do is do the final configuration of the VM (remove hidden network interfaces, remove old device drivers, configure new network adapters, and assign IP addresses, and the virtual machine is ready to go.

During synchronization of changes, vSphere Server will create some snapshots on the target machine, which allows rolling back at any stage of synchronization if necessary (in this case the logic of VMware Converter would be broken).

Leave a Comment