Online Dynamic Hard Drive in Failed State

I ran into a new situation. Here’s the setup, I’m at a customer’s location performing a migration of VMs from one SAN array to another (svmotion). Ok, Not that hard – not really. As soon as you let your guard down — even on the simplest of things, that’s when you get bit by something or you discover a new and challenging puzzle.

The migration consisted of converting VMs with Physical mode RDMs to vmdks. (Again, not that hard). The key thing here is that they were physical and so I needed to take the VM offline for the migration. Yeah, I know I could have converted it to virtual mode and did it online — but trust me when I say, it was better to do it offline. After a grueling 24 hour move, the RDMs were now vmdks. YAY! Hoorah!

— Not so fast….

I had the customer boot up the VM for verification. Did the VM survive the move, and does your app perform normally? After a few minutes, his answer was ‘no’. uh-oh. What is wrong?

Apparently, when the RDMs were created, they were added to Windows as a ‘Dynamic Hard Drive’. Who knows if this was something another vendor did, or whether or not it was done originally. But when we opened “Disk Management”, the Dynamic Hard Drives were showing “Online” but in a failed state. What the heck does this mean? In this case, it just meant the drive had become unavailable and needed to be reactivated.

The fix? Believe it or not, right click the drive and select “Reactivate Disk”. The 2TB drive took all of about 2 seconds to reactivate and everything started working EXACTLY as it should have.

Here’s the link that I followed to resolve the issue:

VMconverter Virtual Appliance

Last year, Duncan Epping made a post about building a VMConverter Virtual Appliance using suse studio. It was a complete walk-thru from beginning to end on how to build the virtual app. I built one and it worked flawlessly. I used that little booger to run numerous P2V (Physical to Virtual) and V2V (Virtual to Virtual) conversions. The unfortunate thing is that when I left my former employer, I didn’t keep the VM, and now I have a need to recreate it.

Well never fear…. I fired up Duncan’s page and figured I’d just redo this all over again. Well… a lot has changed in a year. 🙂
I’m going to borrow from Duncan’s page and show the changes that I ran into, and what I did to resolve those challenges.

  • Go to and open an account (Or you can log in with a google or facebook account)
  • Click “Create New Appliance”
  • Select “GNOME Desktop” and click “Create Appliance”
  • Change the name of the appliance to something that makes a bit more sense…
  • Under the “Software Tab,” add “File Roller”, “GCC”, and “libpng12-0”. These files are needed to install VMware tools and VMConverter.
  • Go to the “Configuration Tab” and click on “Appliance”
  • Increase the memory to 1024MB for a better running appliance
  • Download VMware Converter Standalone for Linux and add it as a file in the “Overlay Files” tab
  • When uploading is finished select a folder where the tar.gz file should be extracted, I picked “/vmconverter”
  • Click on the “Build” Tab, select “OVF” (for ESX environments) and wait for it to complete.

I found that if I chose (.vmdk) for the file format, that the file format was built for VMware Workstation and not the virtual infrastructure. I would then have to run vmconverter to import this new virtual app into my vCenter. Using the OVF format, I can just import it directly.

  • Once imported in vCenter, power up the new VM.
  • Install VMware Tools: Right click “VM” from the menu bar, and “Install/Upgrade VMware Tools”
  • Open a Gnome Terminal session within the VM and type:
  • *Stick to the defaults
  • Now install VMware Converter:
  • *Again, stick to the defaults.
  • You can add an icon to the desktop by right clicking the desktop and selecting “Create Launcher”
  • Select “/usr/bin/vmware-converter-client”
  • And add the correct icon! (/usr/share/icons/vmware-converter.png)

By default, the Video displays at “800×600”. That just doesn’t work for me. Here’s what I did to adjust the video settings to 1024×768.
Since Suse 11.3 doesn’t include SAX2 (which is what I used before to edit the resolution), I had to edit the monitor, screen and device sections from the appropriate files located in /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d.

Here’s what my current files look like:

At this point, as Duncan said, “your appliance is good to go.” You can now assign it an IP and hostname and use it everywhere in your virtual infrastructure.

Changing the HAL from Multi processor to Single processor after P2V conversion

1.) Before making any changes to the VM, Create a Snapshot in Virtual Center.
2.) RDP or Console into the Server and go to Device Manager
3.) For Windows Server 2003, install the following hotfix. It does not require a reboot. This hotfix allows you to downgrade to Uniprocessor. WindowsServer2003-KB923425-v2-x86-ENU.exe (updated 08.01.08 – you do not need the hotfix if you have an APIC HAL. If you have an APCI HAL the option to downgrade the HAL described in the next steps is not available and you must apply the hotfix before continuing.)
4.) Expand the Computer tab to see what HAL is loaded
5.) Right click on ACPI Multiprocessor PC and choose Properties
6.) Click the Driver tab
7.) Click Update Driver
8.) Click Next
9.) Choose Display driver [in order to] choose and click Next
10.) Choose “Show all hardware of this device class”
11.) Choose ACPI Uniprocessor PC and click Next
12.) You will be warned about changing this driver, but Click Yes to continue
13.) Click Next
14.) Click Finish
15.) Click Close
16.) You will be asked to reboot the computer.
17.) If the Computer reboots cleanly and everything seems to work, clean up the Snapshot you took.
18.) Verify in Device Manager that the HAL has changed.