If you are a SysAdmin using VMware or work with customers in a virtual environment, you have more than likely performed a Physical-to-Virtual (P2V) migration. In most cases, the free VMware Converter will perform nicely here by imaging the physical server, adjusting components such as CPUs, memory, or drive sizes, and substituting virtual hardware for the physical components. This is a very straightforward piece of ‘magic’ that has been the mainstay of virtualizing datacenters for years.
However, there is a piece of the puzzle that has been left out of the SysAdmin’s virtual toolkit for a few years. If you go back several years, to the VMware Converter v3.03, there was a bootable iso version of the Converter available. This utility allowed a SysAdmin to boot to the CD, load the Converter into memory, configure the local network, and image the server directly into a VM.
The greatest advantage to this utility was the fact that the server was shut down and offline. It allowed you to capture the server with the OS completely quiesced, with no open files, or application conflicts. If the server was on a different network segment than the vSphere hosts, simply connect it to the correct network with the server down and set the IP from the boot image without changing the server OS settings. There was great advantages to having this CD in your laptop bag.
Alas, all good things come to an end. VMware stopped supporting and updating the ColdClone image, and eventually dropped it from their website for download. There is a rumor that it can still be found in the archives and copies are on shelves in the VMware ‘SkunkWorks’ labs.
Fortunately for me, I still have a copy or two stashed away on portable hard drives, burned to CDs, and such. Sometimes it pays to be a software ‘PackRat’.
Additionally, I have taken other steps, like putting it up on my GoogleDrive so I can access it from anywhere.