Migrate Windows 2003 to Nutanix AHV


My previous post – dated on mid-2016 – about a migration of Windows 2003 from VMware ESXi to Nutanix AHV, was mainly focused on manual migration. Back in 2016, there were no tools out the on the market with Windows 2003 migration support over to Nutanix AHV. Things had changed recently. With Nutanix Xtract you can migrate Windows 2003 from VMware ESXi to Nutanix AHV. The effort is semiautomatic πŸ™‚ . Xtract will copy data disks from VMware ESXi to Nutanix AHV only. The rest ot the work, has to be done manualy.

NOTE: I have tested migration on AOS 5.8.2 and AOS 5.10
NOTE: Below procedure applies only to VM with 3 or fewer disks (IDE BUS architecture limitation )

Windows 2003 migration recommendation
  • Migrate app to newer and supported guest operating system

If you cannot migrate app then:

  • if you are okay with IDE disk performance (and VM has fewer than 3 disks) – leave disks on IDE BUS. The reason is, IDE drivers are Windows generic drivers. Risk that something may go wrong (after hypervisor upgrade) is lower comparing to virtIO drivers.
  • if you need performance (or VM has more then 3 disks), you have to use PCI disk BUS instead of IDE.
  • Nutanix Xtract 2.X
  • VMware vSphere 5.1 or newer
  • virtual machine hardware 7 or newer
Migrate Windows 2003 to Nutanix AHV using Nutanix Xtract.

NOTE: Below procedure is for VMs configured with IDE disk BUS.

Before you start the migration, run this bat-file on source VM. 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 Nutanix AHV. Skipping this step will likely result in blue screen errors and much frustration.

MergeIDE can be downloaded at:

NOTE: restart VM after you ran batch file.

Deploy and configure Nutanix Xtract . When creating a migration plan, make sure to choose Bypass Guest Operations on Source VMs. How to create migration plan with data-only option you can watch on below video.

Check data-only settings

Complete migration plan and start data seeding. Depends on the size of the VM and available bandwidth it may take from minutes to hours. You can monitor data seeding status in Xtract WebUI

Monitor data seeding status in Nutanix Xtract

Cutover VM to Nutanix AHV. VM will power on automatically and most likely start bluescreening. The issue is that VM has been configured with SCSI disk adapter on Nutanix AHV but there are not drivers on the system to support SCSI adapter on Nutanix AHV.

VM is ready for cutover to Nutanix AHV

Next step is to clone existing SCSI disk to IDE and remove SCSI disk from VM configuration. All of that has to be done from acli.

run vm.get <vm_name> and node SCSI.0 vmdiskUUID

<acropolis> vm.get AK-Win2k3x86R2
AK-Win2k3x86R2 {
  config {
    allow_live_migrate: True
    annotation: ""VM migrated to gso-cad-ahv-c04 by Windows 2003 on Wed Jan 23 02:08:34 UTC 2019 by xtract-vm 2.0.2\n\nVM migrated to by Windows 2003 on Tue Jan 22 22:04:06 UTC 2019 by xtract-vm 2.0.2""
    disk_list {
      addr {
        bus: "scsi"
        index: 0
      container_id: 1210
      container_uuid: "19ba8dea-8976-4094-85d7-0e566365e693"
      device_uuid: "1f315111-f2cb-4bfa-8826-e31b1136248e"
      naa_id: "naa.6506b8df495269a4604236c88223f38a"
      source_nfs_path: "/GSO-HQ1-MGMT/xtract-vm//74916a21-5e6f-4127-a79a-4b337ac5d26b/503c3a8b-0555-674b-ae87-12b4267fc297/2000_AK-Win2k3x86R2.vmdk"
      vmdisk_size: 21474836480
      vmdisk_uuid: "ef4cc7b2-0785-489d-bb14-6d77204de0cb"
    disk_list {
      addr {
        bus: "ide"
        index: 0
      cdrom: True
      device_uuid: "a190f832-6cf0-4b5e-a201-4bf63205f61e"
      empty: True
    hwclock_timezone: "America/Los_Angeles"
    machine_type: "pc"
    memory_mb: 2048
    name: "AK-Win2k3x86R2"
    nic_list {
      mac_addr: "50:6b:8d:59:97:0f"
      network_name: "VLAN172"
      network_type: "kNativeNetwork"
      network_uuid: "8285ebf2-b42e-4e20-9c50-6d2a4441276a"
      type: "kNormalNic"
      uuid: "e84e0b7c-7009-42a1-8e27-b2435650fbf6"
      vlan_mode: "kAccess"
    num_cores_per_vcpu: 1
    num_vcpus: 2
    num_vnuma_nodes: 0
    vga_console: True
    vm_type: "kGuestVM"
  logical_timestamp: 3
  state: "kOff"
  uuid: "d88de81e-6cb6-4073-9adb-0c6992f30024"

Clone SCSI.0 disk to IDE disk

<acropolis> vm.disk_create AK-Win2k3x86R2 clone_from_vmdisk=ef4cc7b2-0785-489d-bb14-6d77204de0cb bus=ide
DiskCreate: complete

delete SCSI.0 disk from VM and power VM on

<acropolis> vm.disk_delete AK-Win2k3x86R2 disk_addr=
ide.0   ide.1   scsi.0
<acropolis> vm.disk_delete AK-Win2k3x86R2 disk_addr=scsi.0
Delete existing disk? (yes/no) yes
DiskDelete: complete

Install missing drivers on Windows 2003. Use Fedora virtIO drivers. Mount ISO to VM as CDROM and follow hardware wizard to complete drivers installation.

NOTE: Drivers for first two devices (network adapter and balooning device) will be added automatically. Fedora project does not provide SCSI drivers for Windows 2003 third device (SCSI PassThrough), meaning there will be one device unrecognizable device in hardware manager

Windows 2003 hardware manager

Last thing to do it remove VMware tools from guest VM.

Migrate Windows 2003 to Nutanix AHV with PCI disk BUS.

Coming soon!!

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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).

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Wow – in 2019 – W2K3 the immortal πŸ™‚


Just wondering if there is any inherent issue to run Win2k3 on AOS 5.10 or even 5.10.2 LTS? I do have Win2K3 running on AOS 5.5.4 LTS with no issue now.


04.2022 – W2K3 is still alive as an archive πŸ™‚ This procedure is also valid on the current version of Nutanix Cluster AHV 20201105.2267 and AOS
Thank you, Artur.

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