Quick recap: I created a Virtual Disk File (luckily 3 days before the hard drive of the server died) containing my web application plus all related data. This will turn to be a management challenge later on given the size of the VM (120GB).
- Options 1 – VMware Server (vistualization server hosted on Windows) or
- Options 2 – VMware ESXi, the bare metal hypervisor
I am not going to buy a new server. I am using a HP desktop that I have had for 6 years (an interesting compatibility challenge for ESXi).
- Hard Drive: First of all I had to fix my hardware. My hard drive failed, so I went to Fry’s and bought a 500 Gbyte EIDE drive.
- I also found some 512 Mb or Ram laying around in my hardware drawer, so I brought the total memory of my server to 2GB
- I ended up with HP Pentium 4 280Mhz, 500GB EIDE drive, 2Gb memory
Next I had to install ESXi and deploy the VM file that I created with VMware Converter earlier on (before the hard drive failure).
Here are the steps I followed:
- Download VMware ESXi, the free hypervisor from VMware. It is a ISO CD image
- Create a boot CD with ESXi on it
- Install ESXi on the target machine
Here I ran into my first trouble. The ESXi installer gave the following error:
EIDE Support Problem
- Press F2 to customize the server
- Configure the network.
Network Card Compatibility problem
- Access http://192.168.1.2 from another desktop
- The web page at this address has links to download location for VMware management tools
- Download Vmware Infrastructure Client
- Connect to the ESXi server
Uploading a Virtual Machine file
- Run VMware Converter
- Load the load VM wizard
- Select my new ESXi server as target
- Log in the running virtual machine
- Change the network configuration from DHCP to 192.168.1.2 so that the VM would be put in the DMZ by my DSL router
http://Viarengo.com is back online just like it was before my hard drive failure
It is fun to (pretend to) be a Geek
If you factor out the two hardware compatibility problems I encountered due to the need to reuse old and unsupported hardware, the process was *very* smooth overall.
- Turn a physical server into a VM file using VMware Converter
- Install ESXi on the target server
- Install VMWare Infrastructure Client to manage and configure VMs on the server
- Deploy the VM file onto ESXi using VMware Converter
In my case the server to be virtualized was also the server that I use to run ESXi. If this was not the case, I could have combined step 1 and 4.
I am now officially virtualized.
- Separate storage from my virtual machine and shrink the size of it.
- Learn how to back up my VM regularly and without service interruptions
- create another virtual machine from scratch on the same server and see how the process works and what is the impact on the existing viarengo.com VM
- learn what kind of management and monitoring tools are included in the VMware Infrastructure client by looking at the running instances on my server.
- create a second ESXi server and start playing with Vmotion and other VMWare Infrastructure capabilities
- see how I can make my web site highly available using virtualization capabilities.