Migrate Windows XP to a Win7 Virtual Machine

Upgrading your computers from Windows XP or Windows Vista to the latest Windows 7 operating system was not something Microsoft made very easy to accomplish.

Network World wrote an article about the Seven tips to migrate and manage Windows 7 and make the point that there will be software application issues and migrating to a virtual machine may be a better option.

5. Consider client virtualization.

The release of Windows 7 has companies considering another new technology: virtual desktops. The promise of ease of management and increased security that virtual desktop technology offers could drive customers to consider the technology when they have budget dollars for a PC refresh.

For its part, Microsoft offers two products that take advantage of virtualization and could be considered a means to managing a migration to or ongoing deployment of Windows 7. Microsoft Application Virtualization, the company says, helps reduce downtime for customers by turning Windows applications into “centrally managing virtual services that are delivered to any licensed Windows desktop or laptop.” And Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization allows desktop administrators to create, deliver and centrally manage a virtual Windows XP or 2000 environment (based on Microsoft Virtual PC 2007) and run legacy applications on Windows Vista desktops, the vendor says.

But Microsoft isn’t the only vendor touting virtualization as an option. VMware and Citrix also boast virtual desktop infrastructure and could provide viable alternatives to a full-blown Windows 7 migration, industry watchers say.

“IT managers would be able to go with a virtualization solution as well. If you are doing desktop virtualization, you can deploy your virtual container for the new desktop environment down to each one of the client endpoints. It would be as simple as setting one up and deploying it out to many,” Brasen says. “Microsoft, VMware and Citrix would all have options for customers here.”

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Two of the more useful features are the ability to convert a Paragon image to the .vhd format (which you can mount or run under Windows 7 natively), and the boot manager (which allows you to boot to both your old operating system and Windows 7). Microsoft does provide a free downloadable utility–Disk2vhd–that can copy a partition to .vhd. If you install Window 7 to partition other than the one your current OS resides on, Disk2vhd creates a dual-boot menu for you automatically. Paragon’s versions, however, are a bit slicker.

Paragon Software also has a Virtual Migration software that can simplify the process of moving a server or desktop into a virtual drive on your Windows 7 PC.

From the feedback from our partners, this is the best option when having to migrate applications and data. The alternative of starting from scratch and reinstalling all of your applications.

Disk Imaging for Physical and Virtual Machines

Paragon’s Drive Backup 10 Server software leverages disk imaging tools to simplify storage management issues, from consolidation to disaster recovery protection, in both physical and virtual environments.

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By Jack Fegreus, openBench Labs

Entrenched at the top of the list of storage challenges is data protection, which includes the perennial problem of data backup. IT groups at large enterprises continue to struggle with meeting Service Level Agreements (SLAs) that continue to tighten both the Recovery Point Objective (RPO)—the maximum amount of data measured in time prior to the disruption that could be lost in the recovery process—and the Recovery Time Objective (RTO)—the maximum period of time that it could take to recover. Meanwhile, IT administrators at SMBs, who often have less storage expertise and tighter budgets than their peers at larger enterprises, struggle with more prosaic issues, such as choosing technologies to simplify backup processing within shrinking backup windows.

To help IT deal with data protection issues at all types of sites, Paragon Software Group’s Drive Backup 10 Server creates exact image copies of live disk drives on physical and virtual systems running a Windows-based OS. With a technology foundation featuring synthetic backups, along with full support for both VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V, Drive Backup 10 extends standard data protection constructs with wizards that employ the same menus for backup and system migration processes to support physical-to-virtual (P2V) consolidation.

What’s more, IT can use the Paragon Script Language (PSL) to customize the synthetic and differential backup wizards in Drive Backup 10 Server. Using PSL, IT administrators can create scripts to automate end-to-end data protection processes, which can implement Paragon Hot Backup and Microsoft VSS snapshot technologies to maintain transactional integrity. In particular, the Paragon synthetic backup scheme by default supports differential backup, which on multiple VM backup jobs can reduce storage capacity requirements on the order of 30-to-1 without the extra processing incurred with inline data deduplication. As a result, administrators can leverage PSL to invoke fast differential backups to support near-CDP levels of replication for VMs, and then match that aggressive RPO with an equally aggressive RTO using synthetic backup images that can be restored in minutes. Continue reading Disk Imaging for Physical and Virtual Machines

White Paper: Maximize Data Protection for Physical and Virtual Systems

For IT organizations of all sizes, storage continues to be the primary resource driving operating costs. Entrenched at the top of the list of storage problems is data protection, which includes the perennial problem of data backup. IT groups at large enterprises continue to struggle with meeting Service Level Agreements (SLAs) that continue to tighten both the Recovery Point Objective (RPO)—the maximum amount of data measured in time prior to the disruption that could be lost in the recovery process—and the Recovery Time Objective (RTO)—the maximum period of time that it could take to recover. Meanwhile, IT administrators at small to medium sized business (SMBs), who often have less storage expertise and tighter budgets, struggle with more prosaic issues, such as choosing technologies to simplify backup processing in shrinking backup windows.

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To help IT at all types of sites deal with data protection issues, Paragon Drive Backup 10 Server creates an exact image copy of a live disk drive on physical and virtual servers and workstations running a Windows-based operating system. Using multiple snapshot technologies, Drive Backup 10 Server is able to maintain transactional integrity of the file system structures on the disk, including all Windows OS files, configuration files, and databases.

More importantly, IT does not have to purchase extra-cost options to leverage Drive Backup 10 Server in a virtual environment, such as VMware® vSphere or Microsoft Hyper-V™. Running Drive Backup Server, an IT administrator can go beyond simply restoring a backup image as a virtual machine application or as a collection of Windows OS files. By applying Paragon’s 3rd generation of Adaptive Restore technology, an IT administrator is able to insert new drivers into an image and create a bootable volume for an entirely different physical or virtual environment.

Of particular importance for IT at SMB sites, Paragon Drive Backup 10 Server is very easy to deploy and use. In addition, the optional Paragon Remote Management (PRM) application provides a single management point for launching and running scripts developed with Paragon Drive Backup on systems across in a distributed enterprise environment. As a result, PRM is especially useful when running multiple VMs in a virtual environment, as IT administrators can rapidly backup and restore systems in minutes to garner an immediate return on investment.

More importantly, as CIOs focus on the virtualization of systems and storage as the magic philter to extract higher resource utilization and lower management costs, IT administrators are now working with limited numbers of abstract device pools rather than multiple instances of proprietary devices. VMware® vSphere™ 4 typifies such an environment with multiple heterogeneous servers running ESX® or ESXi™ hosting multiple virtual machines (VMs) running a variety of server and desktop operating systems. In the process of simplification, however, multiple levels of logical abstraction and resource redirection can also obscure and complicate important IT operations.

Among the hardest hit IT operations are those associated with file-level data protection. That has the potential to turn IT’s magic philter for gaining operating efficiency into a poison pill for compliance with regulatory mandates to secure and maintain critical business data. Fortunately, a key characteristic of a virtual environment is the encapsulation of VM logical disk volume as a single physical disk files. This representation makes image-level backups faster than traditional file-level backups and enhances restoration as virtual disks can be restored as either a whole image or individual files. That’s why, many general purpose backup packages integrate with VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB) to provide imaging-based backup.

Nonetheless, VCB assumes a shared-disk storage infrastructure via a Fibre Channel or iSCSI SAN. For SMB sites functioning well with direct attached storage (DAS) and simple file sharing via networked attached storage (NAS) or FTP storage servers, the need to introduce a SAN in order to protect data in a virtual operating environment presents a prodigious stumbling block.

Paragon Backup 10 Server, however, provides IT with dedicated image-level data protection for VMs running a Windows OS on either a VMware hypervisor without VCB integration or a Microsoft Hyper-V environment. SMB sites can use Paragon Drive Backup 10 Server to provide VMs with full data protection without a major storage infrastructure change from DAS to SAN. What’s more, Paragon enhances the value of Drive Backup 10 and PRM for SMB sites with support for the ESXi hypervisor under the free public license as well as with a full paid license. With more servers featuring ESXi firmware bundles, the ability to work with Windows-based VMs hosted on this hypervisor with the public license is particularly important for IT at SMB sites.

Download the free White Paper.