We’ve recently had to migrate a few Microsoft Hyper-V Virtual Servers from one host server to another. This is useful if you have purchased new server hardware, but want to keep your current virtual servers as they are. Another purpose is in the event of a partial hardware failure – for example you have lost more than one hard drive. The ability to move virtual machines (VM) from one host server to another is a built-in feature of Microsoft Hyper-V, but requires several steps.
Here are a few tips:
- Take a full backup of each VM before you do anything else.
- I use the term ‘migrate’ loosely. What we are actually doing is exporting a VM from one host to another. You cannot simply copy and paste virtual servers.
- Make sure you do not have any snapshots. Otherwise you won’t be able to export your VMs. I STRONGLY urge my customers not to use snapshots – but if you have them, they must be merged before a migration can begin.
- Your virtual network settings need to match on both your old and new host servers.
- We have had issues losing the Server Identification Number (SID) when moving virtual database servers. It can be sort of hit-or-miss. This is why backups are so important.
- If possible, export your virtual servers from your old server directly to the new storage location. There is no need to move them twice and by doing so, you are eliminating possible failure points.
- After you have imported your virtual servers onto your new hardware, test each server before deleting the old copies. Use caution not to have both the old VMs and new VMs running at the same time.
- Although I suggest migrating Hyper-V 2008 servers to another 2008 server, it is possible to migrate from a Hyper-V 2008 server to a Hyper-V 2012 server. We will cover that in another article. (Read as: after I have a chance to try it!)
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