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Physical to virtual (P2V) is the process of converting and migrating a physical computer image into a virtual machine (VM). It allows a physical machine to transform into a VM with the same state, stored data, applications and required system configuration and resources.
Physical to virtual is also known as physical to virtual migration (P2V migration).
P2V is performed through purpose-built conversion and migration software or a composite solution. P2V tools save the physical machine's state and data as a VM snapshot or image instance. The VM manager or hypervisor tool allocates the required resources (including computing, memory, storage and networking) to the VM. The VM snapshot created from the physical machine is than reinstalled by the hypervisor on the allocated storage space.
P2V is commonly used in server consolidation and virtualization processes, where one or more physical servers are converted to run as virtual server on a single physical server.