Depending on the scope of your virtual environment, it is likely that physical-to-virtual (P2V) conversions have taken place. The P2V process truly enables VMware administrators to put physical systems into virtual environments. However, you may have come across a system that for some reason will not go through the normal conversion. In such cases the VMware Converter bootable CD may be an option. It provides a zero-transaction state that may be a favorable environment to perform P2V conversions.
Good candidates for using the VMware Converter bootable CD include:
- Systems that run a database engine,
- have real-time systems that may not convert correctly,
- or systems where the VMware Converter agent otherwise fails.
The bootable CD is licensed to enterprise customers, so the download requires advance purchase. The VMware Converter bootable CD is a Windows XP Pre Installation (PE) environment. The initial screen loads as follows:
The behavior is very similar to that of the full installation version once the VMware Converter interface loads. The only difference is that you can only convert the local system instead of being able to convert a remote system. This is to be expected, as the bootable environment should only be used when the traditional mechanisms fail. Once in the application, you can push the conversion to a VMware ESX server or to a flat .vmdk file for use in VMware Server or VMware Workstation:
I had a chance to use the VMware Converter bootable CD for a Windows 2000 system conversion that would not complete correctly in the installed, online environment. The bootable environment is also referred to as a cold clone environment, and with no transactions occurring on the file system a clean backup environment is available. The unfortunate circumstance is that this functionality can transport a poorly configured system to your virtual environment – so you may be able to keep it and its issues running forever.