VMware 2.0 to 5.0 Migration

The things you find in old closets. Sometimes they might be better left in the closet, hidden from view, but when it is an old server and I’m trying to secure your network, it has to be dragged into light and exorcised.

One of my favorite discoveries has been an old 2008 server (I was worried is was going to be Windows NT!) that was running VMWare Server 2.0. Now, I’ve been doing IT for 20 years, but I had never actually seen VMWare Server 2.0 before. So this was quite an exciting discover. I felt like an archaeologist unearthing an ancient Roman artifact.

After the initial laughter and sending screenshots to everyone I know I decided to migrate the one VM (a Debian 4 distro) that was running on the server to the production environment so it could be backed up and decommissioned properly. But, the big question was, would I be able to successfully migrate it from VMWare 2.0 to VMWare 5.0?

Since you can’t convert an VM that is running, and nobody had the password for the old VM, I just powered it off. Then I loaded up VMWare Converter, told it to convert an “other” image type, and pointed it at the old-vm-servere$ and browsed to the vmdk file. It took an hour to migrate it and convert it to an ESX 5.0 host with hardware level 8. I went ahead and added a VMXNET3 network card instead of the old VMWare 2.0 “Flexible” network card. Then I powered the guest on and rooted the password (edit startup command and add init=/bin/bash, then run mount -rw -o remount /, change the root password, and reboot). Once I logged in with my new root password I modified /etc/network/interfaces to use the new network card and restarted the server again just to make sure everything worked. And it did!

Needless to say, I am very impressed that VMWare has made it so easy to migrate from a 2.0 guest to their latest 5.0 environment. So often big companies will leave no migration paths. This just shows that VMWare is a good company with a great product!



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *