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Virtual Conversions

By Steve Jones,

I was scanning blogs the other day and found this really interesting blog post about creating a virtual machine from a physical one, which isn't something I've done, but it makes some sense and it's a very handy feature to have around. I know that moving to virtualized environments should be something that's easy to do and shouldn't require me to reinstall a bunch of stuff.

My typical way of working with virtual machines is to build a new image, hopefully keep that around, and then add the software I need. Lately I've been able to download images files, but for the most part I've built them and then migrated software or applications over, just like I would with a physical machine. It's a slow process, but I've learned to keep some base OS images on my disk, which speed up the process.

There are benefits to virtualization and I think that a well designed SQL Server system can be run on a virtual server. You can't move your large installations, the ones heavily stressed, but there are probably plenty of servers that are lightly loaded and would make good virtualization candidates. Cloning the physical server into a virtual one, however, is something that definitely interests me. What might be more interesting, however is being able to go back the other way as well. What if I could transform a virtual server into a physical one? Now that would be handy.

But what about all the hardware migrations we do. How often do we need to migrate a server to new hardware. What if we could migrate a SQL Server installation to a virtual machine, and then move it to a thin, Hyper-V installation on a new server? Once it's converted virtually, then drivers and other hardware wouldn't be a problem and the thin overhead of Hyper-V shouldn't impact the hardware that much.

It's a definitely specialized situation, but it's one that comes about fairly often, and if it worked, it might be easy to even downsize to a smaller server if you realized you had too much hardware. I know that's a case I would have used quite often in the past. It might even be handy for migrating a SQL Server instance to a larger, more powerful server.

Steve Jones

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