The P2V (Physical to Virtual) conversation option is no longer available on SCVMM 2012 R2 and later versions. Then how can we convert (Export) a physical server to Hyper-V or Azure Cloud? Even if you are migrating VMs from VMware to Hyper-V hypervisor, which tool can be used to convert them? We will discuss 3 products that will be helpful for this conversion.
Usually, P2V tools will convert the existing physical servers to the virtual hard disk format of the destination server virtualization software like VMware or Hyper-V. Later, we need to create a new VM and attach the converted VHD/VHDX.
3 Methods Convert Physical to Virtual for Hyper-V & Azure
1) Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter (MVMC) 3.0
Unfortunately, this tool is no longer available from Microsoft or is under development. It can still do the job well if you can download it from other places. You can use this tool to convert a physical machine running with Windows Server 2008 or above server operating systems or Windows Vista or client operating systems to a Windows Hyper-V host.
You must provide administrative privilege access to the target physical computer. Also, MVMC should be running on a different computer with network connectivity among source and destination Hyper-V.
The tool will install a client package on the source physical computer to get the inventory details and proceed with the conversion. You can choose the volume/disk from the physical computer and VM configuration (on the Hyper-V host) and select the Hyper-V host (you must provide valid credentials for the Hyper-V host) to export the newly converted virtual machine to Hyper-V 3 host.
This method will work mostly if the Operating System of the target computer/server is supported by Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter 3.0 and you have enough disk space and valid credentials on the target/destinations.
2) Use Disk2vhd
This small tool will convert the physical computer OS to the virtual hard disk (VHD) format. Then we can create a new virtual machine on the Hyper-V host and attach the converted VHD.
You can follow this guide to learn how to use Disk2VHD and convert a physical machine to a VHD disk format.
Remember, we need to use Disk2VHD on the same computer we intend to perform P2V. Suppose you are doing P2V by this method in a production environment. In that case, it’s recommended to shut down the main applications, disconnect the network clients, and do other activities that could change the system files and folders.
Once the P2V is completed successfully, shut down the physical computer. Create a new virtual machine with the appropriate configuration in Hyper-V. Instead of creating a new virtual hard disk, select the existing hard disk option and browse the VHD file you have converted.
3) VMware Standalone Converter
In some cases, the above both methods may fail due to compatibility issues. The next option would be to use VMware stand-alone converter.
The procedure may look long, but we do not have any other choice but to do P2V with free products. You can install the VMware stand-alone converter on a network computer or target physical computer (I prefer on the target physical computer) and start the P2V conversion.
Unfortunately, the VMware converter will convert and give the virtual hard disk format as a VMDK file, which is not supported in SCVMM, Hyper-V, or Azure.
Here we need to use another free tool called StarWind V2V to convert the VMDK file to VHD/VHDX format.
You can follow this guide to learn how to convert VMDK to VHD by StarWind free V2V.
As said in method 2, converted VHD or VHDX can be used on Microsoft Hypervisors products such as on-premise Hyper-V and Azure cloud to create a new virtual machine.
Convert Existing VMs from VMware vSpeher/ESXi to Hyper-V
- If you have SCVMM and vCenter connected, then the migration can be done in the SCVMM (System Center Virtual Machine Manager) console. We can quickly convert a virtual machine running on VMware t Hyper-V.
- When you have an environment that doesn’t have vCenter, you need to follow one of the above 3 steps we mentioned. Once you get the virtual machine’s exported VHD, it can be uploaded to Hyper-V or Azure storage to create a VirtualMachine.
Other Methods to do Hyper-V P2V without SCVMM?
1) Microsoft suggests installing SCVMM 2012 (or SP1, earlier versions) with the P2V option to do the conversion. In my opinion that is not a good idea. It is not the best practice to install the older version of the SCVMM in the production environment and re-associate the Hyper-V hosts while R2 works fine.
2) Create a new virtual machine, install OS and restore the applications and system settings (of a physical computer) to the new virtual machines by backup/restore. This could be a good solution if it works in your environment.
3) Use other third-party conversion tools. Plenty of paid and free tools can convert a physical machine to the desired virtual machine (virtual hard disk) format. Also, few backup software can back up a physical machine to a virtual hard disk format, including VHD.
I hope this post will be helpful. In my experience, I have successfully used all three methods to convert a physical machine and export it into the latest Hyper-V.