Implementing Citrix XenServer Quickstarter — Save 50%
A practical guide to getting started with the Citrix XenServer Virtualization technology with easy-to-follow instructions with this book and ebook
In this article by Gohar Ahmed, the author of Implementing Citrix XenServer Quickstarter we will learn about XenConvert.
Citrix XenConvert is a tool to convert physical machines to virtual machines; that is, a Physical-to-Virtual (P2V) conversion tool. It converts a Windows-based workload from a server or desktop machine to a virtual machine in a XenServer, virtual appliance, virtual disk, or virtual disk connected to Provisioning Services.
A conversion involves copying the contents of the workload and configuring its operating systems for XenServer. So, the workload can be applications and data besides the base Windows operating system. XenConvert can convert from a single server or desktop (physical machine) running Windows to a provisioned virtual disk or VHD that Provisioning Services can import.
A good scenario would be converting a physical Windows server with all the applications hosted in it to a virtual machine for pre-staging, so that the hosted applications' behavior can be tested after adjustments. This can be the operating system upgrade or application updates/upgrades.
(For more resources related to this topic, see here.)
Since XenConvert can only convert Windows-based hosts and installs on the same host, the requirements are pretty much the same, as follows:
- Operating system: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2003 (SP1 or later), Windows Server 2008 (R2)
- .Net Framework 4.0
- Disk Space: 40 MB free disk space
- XenServer version 6.0 or 6.1
Converting a physical machine to a virtual machine
Let's take a quick look at how to convert a physical machine to a virtual machine. First we need to install XenConvert on the source physical machine.
We can download XenConvert from this link: http://www.citrix.com/downloads/xenserver/tools/conversion.html.
Once the standard Windows installation process is complete, launch the XenConvert tool; but before that we need to prepare the host machine for the conversion.
To know more about XenConvert, refer to the XenConvert guide at http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX135017.
Preparing the host machine
For best results, prepare the host machine as follows:
- Enable Windows Automount on Windows Server operating systems.
- Disable Windows Autoplay.
- Remove any virtualization software before performing a conversion.
- Ensure that adequate free space exists at the destination, which is approximately 101 percent of used space of all source volumes.
- Remove any network interface teams; they are not applicable to a virtual machine.
We need to run the XenConvert tool on the host machine to start the physical-to-virtual conversion.
We can convert the physical machine directly to our XenServer if this host machine is accessible. The other options are to convert to VHD, OVF, or vDisk, which can be imported later on to XenServer using some methods. These options are more useful if we don't have enough disk space or connectivity with XenServer.
I chose XenServer and clicked on Next .
We can select multiple partitions to be included in the conversion, or select none from the drop-down menu in Source Volume and those disks won't be included in the conversion. We can also increase or decrease the size of the new virtual partition to be allocated for this virtual machine. Click on Next .
We'll be asked to provide the details of the XenServer host.
The hostname needs either an IP address or a FQDN of the XenServer; a username and password are standard login requirements. In the Workspace field, enter the path to the folder to store the intermediate OVF package that XenConvert will use during the conversion process. XenConvert will store the OVF package in the path we give.
Click on Next to select the storage repositories found with XenServer and continue to the last step, in which we'll be provided with the summary of the conversion.
Soon after the conversion is completed, we'll be able to have this new machine in our XenCenter. We'll need to have XenServer Tools installed on this new virtual machine.
In this article we covered an advanced topic that explained the process of converting a physical Windows server to a virtual machine using XenConvert.
Resources for Article :
- Citrix XenApp Performance Essentials [Article]
- Defining alerts [Article]
- Publishing applications [Article]
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About the Author :
Gohar Ahmed is an all round expert from Lahore, Pakistan. He works with different technologies related to virtualization, networking, system securities, server-side application development, and on top of all deals with Voice Over IP technologies and unified communication protocols using SIP protocol on both open source and proprietary software and hardware. Aside from keyboard, screen, and servers, he loves to do painting and gardening. Gohar maintains his blog at http://saevolgo.blogspot.com.