The dangers of virtualizing part 3 (I think)

So we virtualized our exchange 2003 server and let me tell you it has been great! Being able to vmotion that sucker anywhere we want is the greatest thing ever since sliced bread with a cherry on top! During the virtualization though, we had to decide on how much of our very expensive SAN we wanted to dedicate to our lame o email server. We looked at our DB and decided to give it quite a bit of room to grow and then called it good. The moral of the story though… now that I’m trying to restore some accidentally deleted emails I fire up my nifty Recovery Storage Group (Man it is much nicer than trying to restore exchange 5.5) anyways…. yeah you guessed it… we didn’t leave enough space  😦 so now I get to add another virtual harddrive to our exchange server so we can do a restore…

Dangers of virtualizing part 2

We started using the free version of VMware server to create some test systems. These were great and a great way to roll out numerous test servers…. (plus as VMware expected we did turn around and buy ESX server which works great)

Whats the catch, the ease of virtualizing makes it lot easier to lose servers. In the real world you don’t often misplace a server but once a ‘server’ become just a file, especially one that is not really being watched after, then sometimes, just sometimes, it might get deleted during a server migration or for any number of reasons.

Be warned, virtualization makes things really easy. Sometimes too easy….

Time weirdness in ESX 3.5 vmware, how to fix

I originally ran into this post http://www.stefanschuller.com/guides/guide-keeping-time-in-esx.html which looked like a lot of work to get NTP up and running. Well I’m glad to say that with version 3.5 you can set the time in the virtual center GUI 🙂 just click on your ESX host, go to the configuration tab, then time configuration and you can set your ntp servers. Then you can set your VM’s to use the VM time synching and disable the windows time service.

Unknown error returned by VMware Converter Agent, one fix, solved

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This was caused by some bad blocks on the physical computer that was being virtualized. One guy in the vmware forum suggested to upgrade the converter to 3.0.3 and bingo that did the trick. I didn’t get to ‘pull’ it using the ESX server, instead I installed the standalone converter 3.0.3 of course on the physical machine. I see some warnings that the converter is ignoring bad blocks and the virtualization goes smoothly. So there you go

Blue screen after converting from free VMware server to ESX server

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I was getting a blue screen after a V2V conversion with inaccessible boot device. So I read all over that you can fix this using the console of the windows xp cd. So I use a copy of undisker and convert a slipstreamed sp2 xp disc into an .iso. Then I try to sftp the .iso over to the ESX server where it runs into a problem during the rename process. I find on the internet that if you use SCP it will work, so I copy it with SCP. Next I had to figure out how to get a VM to boot off of the CD. If you right click on the properties there is a check box to go into the bios on next boot, in the BIOS you can set the boot order. Finally it boots to the recovery console and I’m informed that it can’t find the OS… grr I wonder if I need to F6 and load some driver.. anyways so after all this in order to get it working I just uninstalled the vmware tools first before running the V2V and then it converts, joy. Actually it still failed if I tried to change the disk image size. If I leave the disk image size alone then it works. Who knows, I’m just happy it boots now.

How to screw up an ESX server

In my monday foggy brain state I kept on doing strangely stupid things to test our VMware ESX 3.5 server.  It allowed me to do things that I don’t think it should for example set ip addresses to the same value on different nics, or set the vmotion ipaddress to the same on two ESX servers. A quick check of Ipaddresses across the entire system might be a useful fail safe.

Because of the free version of VMware server you have no excuse! You can easily turn your crapplication’s into VM’s

Everybody has them, some strange white box hidden under their desk, maybe it’s for development or maybe its even running production software, but none-the-less, it’s a crapplication. You need the application but its not worth buying a ‘real’ server to host it, so what do you do? This is where the free version of VMware server comes to the rescue in crapplication wrangling. First install the VMware server on a decent server somewhere (your ‘stall’ you might say) next get your free VMware converter (your ‘laso’) and start wrangling those crapplications! This way they are moved to newer hardware, thats probably still under a maintence contract. All the crap is centralized. Plus if you ever need to move it to a different box, all you have to do is copy a file! The crapplication can exist eternally… whether thats a good idea or not I don’t know 🙂