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Felismania

HELP! How to turn a physical Windows 2000 computer into a virtual machine ?

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Here is the problem:

My company has two old computers running on Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional and they have very vital Honeywell industrial control system installed.

 

Recently, the two computers became a little unstable. I want to migrate the two old computers into VirtualBox which runs on a new server.

 

Any ideas ?

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Industrial control system.  Don't.  Seriously.  Don't.  Virtualbox, VMware, etc., they're all fine and dandy, but if it goes down, there's going to be hell to pay.  You may not even be able to 'legally' do it without certification of the engineer who originally designed/installed the hardware/software. 

 

You certainly can buy new(er) hardware and migrate the system to Windows 2000, ECC RAM, enterprise-quality SSDs, RAID, redundant power supplies, etc.  I don't know if you can still run Windows 2000 on the latest/greatest Dell servers, but you certainly should be able to on a couple generations back.  But I would not tinker with the software at all. 

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20 minutes ago, Mark77 said:

Industrial control system.  Don't.  Seriously.  Don't.  Virtualbox, VMware, etc., they're all fine and dandy, but if it goes down, there's going to be hell to pay.  You may not even be able to 'legally' do it without certification of the engineer who originally designed/installed the hardware/software. 

 

You certainly can buy new(er) hardware and migrate the system to Windows 2000, ECC RAM, enterprise-quality SSDs, RAID, redundant power supplies, etc.  I don't know if you can still run Windows 2000 on the latest/greatest Dell servers, but you certainly should be able to on a couple generations back.  But I would not tinker with the software at all. 

I personally disagree, the safest place to put it is on a high availability "array" of two or three ESXi hosts. One entire computer can be crushed and it wouldn't flinch. 

 

No idea on the legality part of it though...

 

 

If you go with ESXi (you'll have to pay for features and commercial use) you can setup hosts, run the converter on the existing computer and half an hour later its running on the ESXi hosts, it is basically magic.

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I would tread very lightly with this for several reasons. Firstly, and easiest to cover is the licensing if it is the original supplied hardware it will most probably have OEM versions of the OS you can get around this if you are licensed for a current version of windows you can legally run older versions.

The application side of licensing is where things get tricky many older control systems software were licensed by a physical component either permanently attached (serial or parallel connection) or required for installation in which case it is either going to be impossible or seriously challenging to get this to run virtually or even to re-platform on new hardware. You can check any documentation to tell you this.

Saying that you do have a system that is out of support from an OS perspective so the ideal place to keep legacy systems (if you can P2V them) is in a virtual environment. In this case I would go for VMware ESXi as oddly enough windows 2000 is still a supported guest from a hypervisor perspective.

Yes you may get resistance from the manufacturer / supplier which is why what I must strongly suggest is you reach out to them to ask what they would advise you to do in this situation.

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There are loads of software packages to perform a P2V (Physical to Virtual) which is what you are attempting here.

 

As above, I would not be recommending VirtualBox as its feature set is poor and it doesn't play well with Windows at the best of times.  I would likely just use a single ESXi HyperVisor on a free ESXi license and use VMWares P2V tools to perform the import of the physical machine to a virtualised environment.  Hyper-V would require you to license a Windows Server so would cost money.  XenServer is another alternative which is free (community driven project via Citrix) and has tools to convert P2V.

 

Here's a walkthrough for you in relation to VMWares ESXi, I didn't write this obviously but it should point you in the right direction;

https://wiseindy.com/it/convert-a-physical-machine-to-a-virtual-machine-p2v-using-vmware-vcenter-converter-standalone-a-step-by-step-guide/

 

Ignore the guy saying you need a VMWare certified professional to assist you here, ESXi servers very rarely explode.  I run a team which manages over 4000 ESXi nodes on all different versions and hardware and you will rarely see an issue with the OS which isn't resolvable.   I don't personally prefer VMWare ESXi over Hyper-V but that's personal preference.


Please quote or tag me if you need a reply

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11 hours ago, Felismania said:

vital Honeywell industrial control system installed

 

56 minutes ago, Falconevo said:

Ignore the guy saying you need a VMWare certified professional to assist you here, ESXi servers very rarely explode.

True however

11 hours ago, Felismania said:

industrial control system

Do so

2 hours ago, Adyn said:

Yes you may get resistance from the manufacturer / supplier which is why what I must strongly suggest is you reach out to them to ask what they would advise you to do in this situation.

Yes there is no issue with the OS and yes you can virtualise any flavour of OS without a problem, but the question is not about the OS its the application that runs off it hence the reason to speak to a

 

11 hours ago, Felismania said:

Honeywell industrial control system

 

1 hour ago, Falconevo said:

certified professional

To ask the question.

 

as your

1 hour ago, Falconevo said:

4000 ESXi nodes

would not work if the power station they are powered from stops because your.

 

11 hours ago, Felismania said:

Honeywell industrial control system

needs a hardware dongle.

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From a Honeywell tech document for one of their windows 2000 based products in this case for CCTV.

 

"The System shall only require a single security key dongle to be present on the database server for the System to operate. Security keys shall not be required at the client workstations. The System shall allow a user to read the information that is programmed on the server security key dongle. The System shall support export of the information using the ‘Export Dongle information’ button, which shall allow the user to forward to the integrator when upgrading new dongle features."

 

So in this case (and it is a random example) you need a security key in order for it to work and you have to export this information to another key which would go back to the supplier if there was a change to the system.

 

So in this case and there is no real way of knowing if the security key could detect a change to the underlying hardware (which would happen both if you re-platformer or virtualised) you may then have to get an Export dongle get it updated (however that happened) and reattach it to the whatever you have moved the machines onto.

 

Then this becomes from a VMware perspective doing either serial or parallel port pass-through and that is the part that is not always straight forward as who knows how they decided the system would talk to the security key they may have created their own method (as I have seen in the past) that just does not play well with others.

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Probably should of mentioned I work in enterprise hosting, our datacenters have enormous UPS systems to hold the fort while the backup diesel generators kick in to keep them online in the event of a power grid outage.  We have way more servers, devices than 4000 in our DC's that I can assure you of.


Please quote or tag me if you need a reply

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5 hours ago, Falconevo said:

Probably should of mentioned I work in enterprise hosting, our datacenters have enormous UPS systems to hold the fort while the backup diesel generators kick in to keep them online in the event of a power grid outage.  We have way more servers, devices than 4000 in our DC's that I can assure you of.

Never doubted that you would not have to be honest as that number of hosts does suggest you would have planned for power, however out of interest when you have grid failure is your contingency to run forever off diesel until the power is resumed. Its just when we modelled it we looked at a significant number of traffic accidents in the region which meant getting a refiling tanker to the locations could not be guaranteed so we would look to move sites after a couple of hours?

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Generators and the backup generators are rated for 7 day continued operation per DC if the fuel tanks aren't refilled.  If we are still on diesel power come the 3rd day, we will invoke DR and start relocating IP ranges and equipment.  Being primarily enterprise related, 90% of customers have offsite DR in alternate DC's which do not reside on the same power grid, soon as we move IP ranges, those individuals are back online in another location.

 

In addition to this, we have scheduled testing of generators and switch from grid to UPS/Generators every quarter.  So we drop ourselves off the grid in a controlled manner throughout a year to make 100% sure everything is working as expected.


Please quote or tag me if you need a reply

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