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How To Successfully Virtualize SBS 2003

Posted by Mike Howells on August 29, 2010

A friend and colleague recently went through trials, tribulations, weeping and gnashing of teeth in an attempt to virtualize SBS 2003 to more easily provide an upgrade path to SBS 2008.

His first and subsequent attempts at using Disk2vd were unsuccessful resulting in a black screen at boot. I was surprised at this because I had great success in using Disk2vhd to virtualize every server that I had come across. Disk2vhd is a free utility from Windows Sysinternals.

His attempt then turned to using the P2V utility that comes with System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 (SCVMM). This attempt also failed. VMM requires that the server you want to virtualize be in the same domain that the VMM server is in. In addition, VMM requires you to download the NIC drivers for the server that you want to virtualize, which were unavailable from the server manufacturers website.

At this point his entire weekend was consumed and he had to abandon these approaches and look for another method.

The method that he finally came up with is brilliant and worked flawlessly. Here is the detailed procedure to successfully virtualize SBS 2003:

  1. Download and install Acronis Backup & Recovery 10.  This should be installed on the physical server that is to be virtualized.
  2. Run a full backup of the physical server to your Hyper-V server using the default .tib backup file type.
  3. Install Acronis on the Hyper-V server.
  4. Run Acronis on the Hyper-V server and do a restore job to a VMWare machine using the above .tib file.
  5. On the Hyper-V server download and install the free StarWind V2V Image Converter.
  6. Convert the above VMWare image to a .vhd file.
  7. Load the newly created .vhd file in Hyper-V and you are good to go.

On a 300+ GB system the above processes took approximately 20 hours to complete.

In the now virtualized copy of SBS 2003 you’ll then want to open the services applet and confirm that all of your services are running.

If you are having problems virtualizing a system using any of the myriad of virtualization tools out there this is a free and somewhat efficient method of getting it done.

StarWind free V2V converter



System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2


6 Responses to “How To Successfully Virtualize SBS 2003”

  1. thanks, very useful information, got me out of trouble.

  2. IT_Calgary said

    Does it have to be Acronis that is used for the backup and restore? Would a full backup using ArcServe or Symantec Backup work the same way?

  3. I’m not sure if ArcServe or Symantec will work. But, if either of these backup programs will create a .tib file then you should be ok. The key here is to backup the SBS server into a format whereby the StarWind V2V Image Converter can convert it to a VHD file. That is the ultimate goal.

  4. Morris said

    Hi. Was your friend able to install the integration components after the virtualization and if so how was that accomplished?

  5. wlcking said

    Was this a OEM copy of SBS 2003? I have been reading a OEM copy has licencing issues when you virtual it.

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