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When you implement a virtual infrastructure, you may want to convert your physical servers to virtual to improve your datacenter consolidation. In this topic, we will see how to convert a physical Linux server to a VMware VM. To make this conversion, I used VMware vCenter Converter Standalone.

Install VMware vCenter Converter Standalone

To host VMware vCenter Converter Standalone, you need a physical or virtual machine based on Windows Server. Usually, when I run this tool, I use a virtual machine. Then run the executable to process the product installation. On the first window, just click Next.

VMware vCenter Converter Standalone

Next, accept the End-User Patent agreement and click Next.

VMware vCenter Converter Standalone end-user patent agreement

Then accept the license agreement and click Next.

VMware vCenter Converter Standalone end-user license agreement

Next, choose a destination folder for VMware vCenter Converter Standalone and click Next.

VMware vCenter Converter Standalone destination folder

Then choose a setup-type: local installation to deploy only VMware vCenter Converter Standalone or Client-Server installation if you want additionally install agent and client. I choose local installation because I don’t want to convert the server where I deploy VMware vCenter Converter Standalone.

VMware vCenter Converter Standalone setup type

Next, choose if you want to join or not the VMware CEIP and click Next.

VMware vCenter Converter Standalone User experience settings

To run the installation, click Install.

VMware vCenter Converter Standalone ready to install window

When the installation is finished, you can run the Converter Standalone Client.

VMware vCenter Converter Standalone installation completed window

Migrate a physical server to virtual

In the VMware vCenter Converter Standalone client, click Convert machine.

VMware vCenter Converter Standalone convert machine

Then choose if your source is power on or off. Be careful if you choose Power Off, you can’t convert physical server. When you select Powered on, you can choose Windows or Linux remote server or local machine. I choose Remote Linux machine.

VMware vCenter Converter Standalone conversion source system

Then specify the IP address or name and the root credentials.

VMware vCenter Converter Standalone conversion source system view

Next, specify the destination. If the destination ESXi is managed by a vCenter, specify the vCenter name or IP. Otherwise, specify the ESXi name or IP address. In the below example, I’m connecting to a vCenter with administrator credentials.

VMware vCenter Converter Standalone destination system

Then choose the destination VM folder or datacenter and click Next.

 VMware vCenter Converter Standalone conversion destination virtual machine

Then choose the destination ESXi (or cluster) and the datastore. You can also choose the VM version.

VMware vCenter Converter Standalone conversion destination location

In the next screen, you can manage the VM configuration. First, you can choose which data to copy and you can have information about partition on the source server.

VMware vCenter Converter Standalone conversion options

Then you can edit the CPU and memory information of the virtual machine. You can also change the disk controller.

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VMware vCenter Converter Standalone conversion options devices

When you convert a physical server with many network adapters, you may want to not convert all of them to virtual network adapters. To do so, select the number of network adapters to connect. You can also select the controller type (like VMXNET 3).

VMware vCenter Converter Standalone conversion options networks

In the next screen, you can enable some post-processing settings such as power off source machine and power on destination machine.

VMware vCenter Converter Standalone conversion advanced options

Next, you can set the IP address in the destination machine. If you choose to make a conversion from a powered-on machine, do not specify the same IP address as the source to avoid conflict IP address.

VMware vCenter Converter Standalone conversion options helper VM network

In the next screen, a conversion summary is shown. Review the settings and click on finish to run the conversion.

VMware vCenter Converter Standalone conversion summary view

When you have clicked on finished, the migration is running.

VMware vCenter Converter Standalone task progress view

When the conversion is finished, you can check the VM version, VMware tools and configure the IP address in destination VM.

Conclusion

VMware vCenter Converter Standalone is an easy tool that enables to convert physical server (Windows or Linux) and virtual machines. If you have a few number of machine to convert, you can use this tool because it’s free. If you need to convert thousands of VMs, you should use another tool which brings more automation (such as Double-Take Move).

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Romain Serre
Romain Serre
Senior consultant at Exakis
Romain Serre works in Lyon as a Senior Consultant. He is focused on Microsoft Technology, especially on Hyper-V, System Center, Storage, networking and Cloud OS technology as Microsoft Azure or Azure Stack. He is a MVP and he is certified Microsoft Certified Solution Expert (MCSE Server Infrastructure & Private Cloud), on Hyper-V and on Microsoft Azure (Implementing a Microsoft Azure Solution).