Migrate Windows Server 2003 to Nutanix AHV



Follow the new migration method for Windows 2003 – using Nutanix Move will help streamline migration

Migrate Windows Server 2003 to Nutanix AHV from VMware vSphere esxi.

Today’s migration topic is migrate Windows Server 2003 R2 to Nutanix AHV from VMware vSphere ESXi to Nutanix AHV.

NOTE: Windows 2003 (any version) server is not on the list of supported Guest Operating Systems for Nutanix AHV. To get latest list of supported Guest OS, log in to portal.nutanix.com


  • AOS 4.6.1 or newer
  • AHV 20160217.2 or newer
  • network connection between legacy VMware vSphere and Nutanix Acropolis
  • mounted container from Nutanix Acropolis on legacy VMware ESXi farm
  • basic knowledge about Nutanix Acropolis and VMware vSphere
  • Images with VirtIO drivers in two versions:
    • lastest – for virtIO drivers – you can download it from Fedora project
  • VM local administrator password
  • Remove all snapshots from VM

Step #1 – Storage migrate virtual machine VMDK files to Nutanix container

Use vSphere client and migrate VM disks to Nutanix AHV container.

Step #2 – Install  MergeIDE.bat

MergeIDE.bat. This is a really important step that will prepare the system to boot using an IDE driver when we bring it up in KVM. Skipping this step will likely result in blue screen errors and much frustration.

MergeIDE can be downloaded at:

NOTE: restart VM after installation and shut server down.

Step #3 – Create image from -flat.vmdk  file

From acli, run image.create command to create disk image from -flat.vmdk file

<acropolis> image.create win2k3r2vmw source_url=nfs:// wait=true image_type=kDiskImage container=GSO-MGT-NFS01
win2k3r2vmw: complete

List images, as you can see image is available on the list.

<acropolis> image.list
Image name                  Image UUID
virtIO-0.1.117              f1915cc6-6d48-4008-89d0-5847d770254b
virtio-win-0.1-81           71e54211-cf57-40a7-85bb-b452b5072aaf
win2k3r2vmw                 88d6495a-9797-40ec-b968-0f048814f9b1

Step #4 – Create  new VM

Create new VM from Prism Element and make sure you VM boot disk is on IDE BUS and use image created in Step #3. Mount ISO with latest VirtIO drivers to CDROM, attach network card and add small (1GB) disk on PCI bus.

Take VM snapshot and Power VM on.

Step #5 – install drivers

Follow Add new hardware wizard and install on drivers. Make sure you choose drivers for Windows 2003.

Reboot VM

Step #6 -change boot disk bus to PCI

Shutdown VM first. Clone the IDE hard disks as PCI hard disks now that the VirtIO PCI drivers are installed in the Windows OS. The “vmdisk_uuid” of the IDE hard disk must be known to perform the cloning. To get the vmdisk_uuid run the following command. Detailed disk information is listed for each disk attached to the VM.

From acli run vm.get command to get details and find boot disk vmdisk_uuid

<acropolis> vm.get Win2k3x64
Win2k3x64 {
  config {
    annotation: ""
    disk_list {
      addr {
        bus: "ide"
        index: 0
      cdrom: True
      container_id: 10343366
      container_uuid: "2cfc19fa-10d7-40db-8815-ba10baf86cb5"
      source_vmdisk_uuid: "9533db88-f642-4c36-af88-22eeb91e3b5b"
      vmdisk_size: 155856896
      vmdisk_uuid: "0f0e1f75-fe86-4cb2-b86c-847f3d8d33e6"
    disk_list {
      addr {
        bus: "ide"
        index: 1
      container_id: 10343366
      container_uuid: "2cfc19fa-10d7-40db-8815-ba10baf86cb5"
      source_nfs_path: "/ctr01/Win2k3x64/Win2k3x64-flat.vmdk"
      vmdisk_size: 21474836480
      vmdisk_uuid: "c9fe9ced-2fb2-4e8a-bb19-e1cdd8c07cb5"
    max_hotplug_memory_mb: 262144
    memory_mb: 2048
    name: "Win2k3x64"
    nic_list {
      mac_addr: "52:54:00:13:ce:18"
      network_name: "VLAN88"
      network_uuid: "10793af9-0fcf-4fa7-b1e0-ad3622b2bb18"
    num_cores_per_vcpu: 1
    num_vcpus: 2
  logical_timestamp: 10
  state: "kOff"
  uuid: "3f614d53-ffac-4111-896b-231fc09063c6"

Note down vmdisk_uuid and run vm.disk_create command. By default new disk is created on PCI bus and with source disk size.

<acropolis> vm.disk_create Win2k3x64 clone_from_vmdisk=c9fe9ced-2fb2-4e8a-bb19-e1cdd8c07cb5 bus=pci
DiskCreate: complete

Step #6 – Remove IDE drive

Get VM details and check if new disk is in the configuration. In my example, old boot disk is on ide.1 BUS.

<acropolis> vm.disk_list Win2k3x64
Device bus Device index
ide 0
ide 1
pci 0

You can remove IDE.1 disk form either Prism Element or via acli. Power VM on. and … DONE

After migration clean up VM from unnecessary software, like VMware tools, and verify hardware in device manager

Acropolis devices in guest VM

Acropolis devices in guest VM



14’th Nov 2016 : updated procedure to mach as many Widows 2003 flavors as possible

0 0 votes
Article Rating

Artur Krzywdzinski

Artur is Consulting Architect at Nutanix. He has been using, designing and deploying VMware based solutions since 2005 and Microsoft since 2012. He specialize in designing and implementing private and hybrid cloud solution based on VMware and Microsoft software stacks, datacenter migrations and transformation, disaster avoidance. Artur holds VMware Certified Design Expert certification (VCDX #077).

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Naveed Ashraf

Hi Arthur, I followed the above article to the tee for two of my Win 2003 servers and was able to successfully convert from Vmware to Nutanix. The two converted servers are running fine on Nutanix. I have a third server that has multiple hard disks and it is also running SQL Server 2000. I need to preserve this server for few more years. For this particular server the above process does not work. As soon as I convert the IDE disks to SCSI, the server gets blue screen of death and goes in to a loop. However, if I… Read more »

John Estep

Hey Artur, what about NGT? Won’t install in Win2003, any thoughts?

Emmanuel Latour

Hi Artur, I just get Error loading operating system after Step 4. Single flat VMDK running Windows Server Enterprise R2 2003 SP2. Any ideas?


Hey Artur,

This initially worked but now when i reboot the server it blue screens, and when trying to do the migration of another i get the error “\SYSTEM32\NTOSKRNL.EXE IS CORRUPT OR MISSING”

Did this happen due to my upgrade to AOS 5.6.1 I am confused as to how to move forward, and could use your assistance…..


Would love your thoughts, please comment.x

FOR FREE. Download Nutanix port diagrams

Join our mailing list to receive an email with instructions on how to download 19 port diagrams in MS Visio format.

NOTE: if you do not get an email within 1h, check your SPAM filters

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Don't miss any posts. Subscribe To Our Newsletter!!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from www.vmwaremine.com.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest