VMWare Converter 4.0 Standalone – converter.agent.internal.fault.PlatformError

I’ve been playing with ESXi 3 v3.5.0 Update 2 (yes, I know update 4 is available for 32bit machines) and VMWare vCenter Converter 4.01 (build 161434) Standalone trying to convert one of a pair of cluster nodes running Windows 2000 Advanced Server (SP4) and it’s collection of local and shared volumes across to a VM.

Without much success.

Every time I try the conversion it fails with the error:

[Task] Caught an exception while waiting on the agent task to complete.
Gathering agent logs before propogating the exception further.
Exception message: converter.agent.internal.fault.PlatformError

VMWare note a “known issue” with Converter 4.0 and Windows 2000 machines here:  http://www.vmware.com/support/converter/doc/releasenotes_conv40.html#knownissues

Unfortunately the issue appears to be slightly different and their suggested workaround of re-trying the conversion task doesn’t work for this problem.  Googling for the problem turned up several fixes one of which sounded a plausable fix for my environment http://blogs.egroup-us.com/?p=692.  Sadly that didn’t work either as all my network cards have their link speed and duplex set manually rather than auto.

Thankfully I came across VMWare’s own knowledgebase article (1004588) on Converter best practices: http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1004588

Due to disk space constraints on my target ESXi box I had elected to convert and resize ALL nine of the source volumes during the conversion.  After re-running the conversion with only two volumes selected (System boot, C: and Quorum, Q:) Converter managed to perform the task successfully.  Of course, this left me with an incomplete set of converted volumes.  Further attempts to convert the cluster node and shrink only one volume resulted in the same issues as before, causing conversion to fail after about 1 minute.

Thinking along the lines that maybe it was the shrink process that was messing me up I tried reconfiguring my MSA1000 array from RAID 1+0 to RAID 5 which gave me just enough disk space to perform the conversion without shrinking disks.  Unfortunately THAT also didn’t work!  I just got the same errors detailed above.

So, I set about trying to convert as many of the 9 volumes as I could (I have ten but only want nine of them on the VM)  slowly decreasing the number of disks to convert from nine to eight, seven, six etc.  Converting nine, eight and seven failed every time.  Once down to converting six drives I started receiving the error:

22/09/2009 16:22:23 Error: Failed to clone volume 'C:'
22/09/2009 16:22:22 Starting block-level cloning for volume 'C:'.

However this was similar in nature to the known error referenced above so I attempted the workaround and, would you believe it, it worked!  Simply right clicking the failed task and re-running started the conversion.