Convert a server to Hyper-V with System Center Virtual Machine Manager

The physical-to-virtual (P2V) conversion process for Hyper-V is similar to that of other platforms. A virtualization pro describes how to do a P2V conversion with System Center Virtual Machine Manager.

When it comes to performing a physical-to-virtual (P2V) or virtual-to-virtual (V2V) conversion, the options to do this on Hyper-V may not be as familiar as other platforms. Within all versions of System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM), there is a convert physical server wizard that will perform a P2V or a V2V conversion. Within SCVMM, the option is on the Actions tree on the right (Figure A). Figure A

Click the image to enlarge.
The wizard will find servers directly through Active Directory. If the system is not in Active Directory, an IP address or a name can be entered and alternate credentials specified; the wizard will then ask for a target virtual machine name. In this example, VB3 is running on VirtualBox, and it will be a V2V conversion. The new name is shown in the wizard in Figure B. Figure B

Click the image to enlarge.
Then the conversion wizard will query the server and return information, as well as install the virtual machine manager agent on the remote system. During this time, the P2V agent will install on the source server as vmmP2VAgent.exe (Figure C). Figure C

Click the image to enlarge.
The wizard allows the disk geometry to be changed, which can be handy if a drive has become close to full and a little more breathing room is needed. If the virtual disk stays thin provisioned, you should be mindful of the disk usage consumption over time. Some other options, such as networking configuration and startup preferences, are presented as the wizard progresses. The option to export the task via PowerShell is also available. Then the conversion process will start, and time will vary based on a number of factors, including size of source machine, network speed, and utilization of Hyper-V host. Figure D shows the V2V process running for this example in the Jobs display of SCVMM. Figure D

Click the image to enlarge.

Once the conversion process is complete in SCVMM, the new virtual machine can be powered on. The virtual machine drivers, guest services, may need to be installed on older operating systems. Guest services are pre-installed on newer operating systems, such as Windows Server 2008 R2.

Like all V2V or P2V conversions, it is a good idea to get the operating system quiet before the conversion begins; this includes stopping services that are running continuously, such as a database. As a general rule, you should not perform a V2V or a P2V conversion of an Active Directory domain controller; the only time this makes sense is if the domain controller is powered off (a cold-clone). The best practice for domain controllers is to add a new domain controller to the domain, promote all of the new roles, and demote the old domain controllers before removal.

Let us know in the discussion if you have used the SCVMM conversion tool.


Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.

Editor's Picks