Using BartPE for system cloning

I have come across the need image sevaral servers in preparation for migrating them to new “hardware”. (The actual situation is that I have several systems running on VMWare Server Beta (formerly GSX Server), and I want to migrate them to ESX server. Since the two virtual servers use different disk formats, I cannot simply copy the virtual disks, I need to clone them using some other third-party tool. Further complicating the matter is that I plan to install ESX server on the SAME HOST that is currently running GSX, and ESX wants to take control of the ENTIRE local hard drive.)

After exploring the options, I decided to take advantage of our existing license pool for Symantec Ghost 8.0 (I had considered using MS XImage, but I am still seeing this as a beta product, and more trouble than it is worth on this particular project). Now the question is HOW to use Ghost.

I came across this excellent resource for “P2V” migrations, which also should work well for V2V (Virtual to Virtual):
http://www.rtfm-ed.co.uk/docs/vmwdocs/whitepaper-ultimateP2V-QuickStart.pdf
This manual comes from the following page:
http://www.rtfm-ed.co.uk/?cat=10

So, “all I had to do” was download pebuilder (which I had already done), drop the vmxnet and vmscsi drivers into the appropriate pebuilder drivers directory (already done), then activate the additional plug-ins that they provide for the vmware tools. I then needed to switch my pebuilder sources from the windowx XP i386 directory to a server 2003 i386 directory.

Ghost configuration was really easy, as pebuilder already has a ghost 8 plug in. I jest needed to extract the ghost files documented in the plugin help file into the pebuilder directory structure. Voila!

A few minutes later I had an .iSO which I mounted on VMWare and successfully booted! I am able to use “net use” to map a network drive, and then run ghost32.exe to dump an image to a separate workstation on the network.

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