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  • 1.  Domain Controller Virtual Hardware Upgrade

    Posted Mar 25, 2010 06:30 PM

    Hello,

    I've read that I shouldn't P2V a Windows domain controller because they are hardware dependent on their configurations. So I guess that makes me wonder if it's ok to do a virtual hardware upgrade from v4 to v7 on a Win 2003 R2 server that's also a domain controller.

    If it is ok to do a virtual hardware upgrade on a DC then I have to ask: what's the difference between upgrade the virtual hardware and doing a P2V when it comes to a DC?

    Thanks,

    Nick



  • 2.  RE: Domain Controller Virtual Hardware Upgrade

    Posted Mar 25, 2010 07:58 PM

    Nick,

    there are certainly some things to consider when virtualizing an AD controller, however it is possible. Take a look into Virtualizing a Windows Active Directory Domain Infrastructure.

    As for P2V you shouldn't hot migrate a domain controller! This will most likely result in a corrupted AD!

    The hardware upgrade should not harm your system. I didn't do this on a domain controller, yet, however I don't see any problems with this.

    André



  • 3.  RE: Domain Controller Virtual Hardware Upgrade

    Posted Mar 25, 2010 08:01 PM

    Hi,

    I have only seen issues P2Ving domain controllers when there are multiple DCs in the domain. In this case the event log starts to fill with file replication service errors, because the disk signiture has changed.

    When P2Ving a single DC I have never seen an issue because it doesn't need to replicate. I would suggest that doing the upgrade, providing it isn't changing the disk signiture shouldn't be an issue. With it being an upgrade I wouldn't have though it would.

    I would use something like volumeid.exe from sysinternals to make a note of the id and then snapshot the VM. Once upgraded, check to see if there is a change in ID. Once its up again just confirm replication is working and if your happy delete the snapshot, otherwise revert back to the pre snapshot state.

    Hope this helps,



  • 4.  RE: Domain Controller Virtual Hardware Upgrade

    Posted Mar 25, 2010 08:37 PM

    I would say that the virtual hardware upgrade from v4 to v7 won't cause any issues. To be safe, though, take a snapshot prior to performing the upgrade. If you're really paranoid/cautious then also perform a full backup before moving forward with the change. I've performed the virtual hardware upgrades on many different kinds of servers without issue. I can't recall, exactly, when I created the AD controller in my lab, so I'm not sure what hardware version it was on at the start. I have gone through at least the 4.0 u1 process on it. I jst don't think I had it online/built when I was still on ESXi 3.5.

    When in doubt, have a backup in place to CYA. That usually eliminates the potential RGE from happening.

    VCP4



  • 5.  RE: Domain Controller Virtual Hardware Upgrade

    Posted Mar 25, 2010 09:40 PM

    Thanks for the replies! Much appreciated!



  • 6.  RE: Domain Controller Virtual Hardware Upgrade

    Posted Mar 25, 2010 10:40 PM

    Not sure if this helps any. We had a small domain here with 6 physical servers, of which 2 were DCs. The PDC was running Windows Server 2003 64-bit and the secondary DC was running Windows Server 2003 32-bit.

    We converted 4 servers P2V. One of the machines we converted was the secondary DC (the 64-bit PDC has remained, for the time being, a physical server).

    We didn't experience any problems with the P2V of the DC. We ran the Converter program, shut down the old physical DC, then booted up the virtual and it all just seemed to work. Didn't notice any replication errors in the logs.

    The domain has been running quite reliably since then with the PDC as a physical server and the secondary DC as a VM guest.

    EDIT: we will run like this for a few more months, then plan the migration of the remaining PDC. Unfortunately that machine is also an Exchange server, so I will need migrate all the Exchange stuff off it first.



  • 7.  RE: Domain Controller Virtual Hardware Upgrade

    Posted Mar 26, 2010 02:36 PM

    The only thing that I would take note of. There have been a number of occasions that the Network settings were reset after the Virtual Hardware Upgrade One of the reasons to upgrade the Virtual Hardware version would be because of the VMXNET3 Network card - which in the case that you change it you will need to reapply the network settings.

    Scott Lowe's blog post

    And as always of course - Take a snapshot of the VM before the upgrade process.


    Maish

    Virtualization Architect & Systems Administrator



  • 8.  RE: Domain Controller Virtual Hardware Upgrade

    Posted Mar 26, 2010 04:05 PM

    Just came across this KB article, which describes possible issues when P2V domain controllers.

    Virtualizing existing domain controllers

    André