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Start with locations within the data center and the P2V candidates that afford the best opportunity for success. This approach will build confidence and proficiency in the virtualization team prior to tackling remote sites; branch offices; and other, more challenging scenarios.

When considering remote sites and branch offices, verify that the required hardware and server roles are in place and functional prior to deploying the virtualization team to that location. Ensure that sufficient time is built into the project plan to allow the team members to travel to the remote sites.

Business Continuity Although P2V migrations are not data-destructive to the source machine, care

must be taken to ensure that the application hosted by the virtualization candidate can be recovered in the event of an issue during migration. Ensure that the virtualization team is well aware of and able to perform any applicable disaster recovery steps that are documented, and that full backups of the source machines are taken prior to attempting the migration.

Keep the migrated physical server in place as a cold spare for a period of time after the migration. Generally, two work weeks is sufficient. A longer period of time may be required if there are specific periods of heavy activity that would expose an unanticipated performance issue.

User Acceptance Testing Prior to placing a migrated virtual machine into production, ensure that

personnel are on hand who can perform user acceptance testing to validate the successful migration. In some cases, it may be necessary to perform a P2V migration and leave the source server in service for a short period of time after migration until user acceptance testing (UAT) can be performed.

For complex, critical, or time sensitive applications, it may be necessary to perform the P2V migration and move the migrated virtual machine to an isolated lab environment to perform the necessary validation.

If the virtualization candidate is a domain controller, be mindful of the risk of USN rollback if the server is not to be immediately placed online.

Communications Planning Where documented, use established maintenance windows to conduct the P2V

migrations. Identify all the users of a particular service or application and communicate the planned migration well in advance. For example:

  • When virtualizing Active Directory domain controllers, communicate to all the users in that site. Where applicable, verify that the alternate Active Directory site is available and functional and that the site to be migrated


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