This is the concept that been buzzing around the IT world. Convert your physical machine to Virtual.(Not exactly the correct meaning as it is, but we’re talking about converting the OS and the apps in the physical to virtual OS that can be run on any platform. VMware company goes extra mile to introduce this method and really keep on their word on it. They are so keen about this concept and released out a free tool to people to test this method. This software can be downloaded here (http://www.vmware.com/download/converter/)
Actually they have come with 2 version and more details can be found from the VMware web site itself.
So I took the liberty of testing this out in our office Exchange server!!!!! (People don’t try this out in your office unless you got a another job) I have given a task of cleaning out the mess in our exchange server and remove the unnecessary mail boxes. Knowing this clean is not the best method than a fresh installation I thought of trying this out. So my first task is downloading the software and then install it to the Exchange server itself. After that I make sure we have a spare server or a hard disk with enough free disk capacity for the migration. Armed with all the necessary tools and the brains start the process. Cannot recall the whole time it took for the conversation but I assume it was around 6 hours. (I start the process in a weekend and found it was completed when I arrived to office on Monday)
So what I found is a 30GB vmdk file! Start the Virtual server in a dual core machine and start the vhdk file assigning 1GB ram. The process went smoothly and after the bootup I had to install the VMware tools get the connectivity with the actual network. After assigning the IP connectivity I brough down the physical PC down. I ran the company Exchange server in a virtual environment for 2 weeks time. The only problem I found is network card stop sending packets and loosing the connectivity once in a while. I assume I have not done a proper house work for the virtual file. (Assuming I have to boot the virtual OS in safe mode and remove the existing network cards and then let the VMware tools to install its emulated network drivers.) But apart from that whole project is a success.
I really like to hear from others who have done a process like this. My next plan is to host a SharePoint portal server and our anti virus server (Symantec Endpoint Security) in virtual appliances and host in one physical server.
Virtualization is a cool concept and sooner or later it will crawl into you office too. So be prepared!!!