This last weekend I decided to P2V or Physical to Virtual a Ubuntu x64 machine and wanted to share a little bit of information about that experience.  I found a lot of  tutorials online about cloning Ubuntu machines, but they all seemed a little to involved for what I was trying to do.  After a bit of searching I reached the conclusion that I just wanted some software that would handle most of the process for me.  Having previous experience with Norton Ghost and Symantec Backup Exec, I began searching for the Linux equivalent to those programs.

There were three things that I kept in mind while making my software selection.

1.  It had to support Ubuntu 64-bit Version 8.10.

2.  I wanted an official support channel that I could lean on if I ran into problems.

3.  It had to be inexpensive.

I found a number of $300+ solutions, but I don’t consider that cheap… To me, cheap is $50 or less.  Then as luck would have it I found a great solution for a mere $29.99.  The program is called “Image For Linux” and it is available at:

http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/image-for-linux.htm

I followed the setup directions provided with the download and within an hour I had successfully cloned my server over to a VM.  The only bump in the road was easy to overcome and I think the problem may have been caused by me choosing an incorrect setting before the clone process.  Because of that, I had to reinstall Grub on the VM which was no big deal.  I just loaded the Ubuntu disc, fired up the VM and had it boot from the Live-CD.  Then I went to the command line and typed (be sure to hit the enter key after each command):

sudo grub
find /boot/grub/stage1
root (hd0,4)
setup (hd0)
quit

The first line loads grub.  The second finds your boot partition and displays that information back out on the command line for you to read.  The output varies based on your install of course.  In my case hd0,4 is the only thing the second command displayed on screen after running so my choice was pretty easy.  Using that input, lines three and four tell grub where to install and the fifth line of course kicked me back out of grub.  I then removed the Live-CD, rebooted the VM and that was it!  The whole process was very painless and the software proved to be very capable.  If you have a need to clone or P2V a Ubuntu Linux machine then I recommend this software.

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  1. I’ve been looking for a way to do this! Thanks for posting about it. One question that isn’t clear from the Image for Linux documentation: How do you actually go about getting image into a virtual machine? If you don’t mind posting your steps, that would be great.

  2. Hello Richard,

    The process to restore the image to a virtual machine is not bad at all. If you are using VMWare Player, I recommend going to this site: http://www.easyvmx.com/

    Use that website to create a blank VM image that you can boot into. Then open up VMWare player, boot into the blank VMWare image that you created at that website, aim the CD drive that the VM is using at the Image For Linux CD, plug in the USB drive that you used to save the server image to and then reboot the VM. The VM will then boot from the Image for Linux CD. Then all you have to do is run the restore procedure, selecting the P2V image you created and restore it to the blank VMWware image that you created. If you get hung up on any step feel free to post back and I will provide more directions if need be. It sounds complicated until you pull it off once, then you will be a pro at it!

    It really is a great program.