How to Virtualize Red Hat and CentOS Linux Physical Server Into VMware VSphere ESX Servers

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Converting Red Hat and CentOS Linux physical server into VMware VSphere ESX servers is not an easy task as compare to MS Windows. It is even harder is you have older version of Red Hat such as 7.2 or Linux box with software raid.

I had successfully converted a few unit of Red Hat 7.2. and software-raid Linux box for past few years. The process of P2V migration needs some extra efforts and its challenging process. You might faced all sorts of issues after P2V migration such as Kernel Panic or even worst is the Linux OS cannot be booted up due to no virtual hard disk is found.

Hot Cloning using VMware tools to be used for the conversion task:

  • VMware ESXi 4.0.0 or ESX 4.0.0
  • VMware Converter Standalone 4.0.1

From experience this are the best tool to be used for P2V migration. I faced lots of issue using ESX 4.1.x and force to downgraded for the migration process. Worst case scenario if hot cloning is not working then the only method- cold cloning method using Clonzilla will help you in most of the Linux-disto cloning. Let’s assume that you had perform the migration successfully completed without error. The next challenge is to get Red Hat or CentOS Linux to boot up.

  1. You have to choose the correct Disk Controller either is BusLogic Parallel or LSI Logic Parallel from Vmware Image setting. This is important process, else your Linux will never find your virtual hardisk.
  2. Boot from System Rescue and chroot to your /mnt/sysimage.
  3. Add in disk controller into /etc/modules.conf and remove any raid setting.
  4. Recompile kernel and Reinstall grub
  5. Edit the /etc/fstab and /etc/grub.conf to change all the hda to sda so that it can be mounted properly when system boot
  6. Once system booted correctly, run Kudzu to re-initialization
  7. install vmware tools

The steps above all the necessary steps for migrating physical server into VMware VSphere ESX servers. There are however, plenty of codes and extra configuration needs to be done.

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