Project Description

Project description

To be honest the racks were full of old server that havent been touch in over 10 to 15 years. So there were big HP server G2 and G4 generation among them, wich made it easy to reclaim so much rack space. Non the less its was a fun project and his challenges.

The Lay-out

  • A mix of Windows 2000 and Windows 2003 servers
  • All servers were equipped with 2 network cards for production (100Mbit switches)
  • All servers connected with 1 Network card to the backup segment and tape library
  • A trust relationship between 2 domains, one of them in NL, wich wasnt correctly broken. But the servers had to keep running until december 2013


The reason was simple. The servers became to old to get spare parts and it was getting expensive to keep up the servers. It was also necessary to invest back into the IT structure after 15 years.


Because of the custom software in this sector, it was impossible to upgrade immediately. Services needed to keep operational. We decided to virtualize all the old server onto the new hardware. Bringing the workload onto the new hardware eliminated the time to migrate fast. Production stayed operational on the old environment until the new software was installed by the ERP software supplier.

Hardware usedSoftware usedTools used
  • IBM Bladecenter H chasis
  • IBM HS23 (48GB memory /server)
  • IBM DS 3500 (SFF 9x 900GB)
  • IBM 3650 M4 en IBM tape library voor backup
  • Qnap voor backup datastore
  • VMware vSphere 5.5 essentials plus
  • Microsoft Windows 2012R2 servers
  • Microsoft Windows 2008R server
  • Veeam Backup and Replication v7
  • Vmware Convertor 4.0.1
  • Vmware convertor 5.5


As a Lenovo/IBM partner we made the best use of the BladeCenter H Chasis? We installed 3 HS23 blades and the possibility to expand for a lot more blades. For storage connection we decided to go with fiber connections for maximal throughput. The IBM DS36500 series is a perfect match for this environment and can be expanded in the future. The RAID configuration had 2 parts. RAID 5 for the slower servers that require more disk space and a RAID 10 for servers that need high disk performance like the database server.

If you want to know more about the BladeCenter H Chasis then look at the following link from IBM/Lenovo

The first step we took is make sure the existing domain keeps working, so we virtualised the domain controllers (P2V). A new domain was created to set up all the new servers. This new domain holds the VMware vSphere 5.5 vCenter, all the ESXi hosts and the datastore. Installation procedure for the vCenter server can be found on the VMware site here

Now we could virtualize (P2V) all old servers so they could start running on the new hardware.


the 2 big challenges in this project are.

  • no disruption of the production wich results in migrating outside the working hours
  • Getting the old Windows 2000 server virtualized

The second was the biggest challenge.

First we did the Windows 2003 server, then the Windows 2000 servers. Problem with windows 2000 is that I didn’t support VMware convertor 5.5. The lower version VMware convertor 4.0.1 couldnt connect with vSphere 5.5. Because of this issue we had to make an image first from the physical servers and import them in vSphere environment after.

VDS Systems had the knowledge in-house to finish this project successfully

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Project Details


september, 2013


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