The new Hyper-V features introduced by Windows Server 2012 were game changing for the IT industry, and the impact has been so positive that, just about every customer I speak with is conducting their own tests on Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V as their hypervisor.
This is so common that I’ve gotten a lot of questions about how to streamline not just the testing process, but the actual migration process from VMware to Hyper-V. I’ll outline a great option for how to do that in this post. Ultimately, it’s about converting the VMs from the VMware VMDK format to the Hyper-V VHD format.
There are great tools from a number of partners to do this migration (companies like Vision Solutions, Embotics, Racemi, 5Nine, Quest, and NetApp), and last year, Microsoft also released the Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter (MVMC) – a free tool that provides a simple and easy conversion experience from VMware to Hyper-V.
MVMC makes converting a few virtual machines from VMware very easy and has been very successful for people testing out the capabilities of Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012.
Once you are ready to migrate your enterprise from VMware to Hyper-V, you may find the MVMC’s wizard-driven approach is limiting since it can only convert a single machine at a time and it doesn’t support batched jobs. This means using the wizard to perform a migration of the entire virtual infrastructure – and that requires a fair bit of manual effort. Luckily, the MVMC does contain a command line executable that can be run within a PowerShell script or an Orchestrator runbook.
So how do you get started? The first step would be to start writing scripts to automate MVMC, but, as it turns out, we already did this for you. Better yet, we’re releasing it free! Let me introduce you to MAT…
The MVMC Automation Toolkit (MAT) provides a series of sample PowerShell scripts which automate the migration of large numbers of virtual machines using the MVMC.exe as the conversion engine. Since the MVMC.exe doesn’t provide a method for collecting virtual machines from the VMware environment, the MAT will collect all the machines that meet the criteria for conversion.
MAT was designed to be easy to use. Point it at your VMware environment and it will provide you a list of all the machines that can be converted. Next step: Pick a handful to convert and grab some lunch.
When you come back your brand new Hyper-V virtual machines will be waiting.
MAT takes the stress out of the conversion by removing VMware tools, handling the disk geometry conversions, and quickly getting your virtual machines up and running on Hyper-V. And if you have hundreds (or even thousands) of machines to convert, that’s no problem – you can run several MAT servers at once. The multiple MAT servers will automatically coordinate with one another and speed you through the conversion.
MAT uses SQL Express to store the conversion information for each virtual machine so that you can have consistent data during your conversion – whether that takes days, weeks or months. On top of all this, the MAT is written in PowerShell, so it’s easy to understand, and incredibly easy to customize and extend.
The MAT was created by the same team that built the PowerShell Deployment Toolkit (PDT), and the two share much of the same framework. The MAT also borrows from some of the concepts used in the runbooks by another project from that team: Orchestrating Hyper-V Replica with System Center for Planned Failover. (The PDT, by the way, is a great tool that will let you deploy all the System Center 2012 SP1 components quickly and easily.)
If you are preparing to migrate a large number of VMware virtual machines, take a look at MAT first. The Building Clouds Blog is home to several posts about the MAT (specifically the VM Migration track) and will be a continuing source of information about it.
You can download the MAT here.