One of the most asked questions I have received regarding the latest release of VMM 2012 has been “Where is the P2V conversion feature? Did it go away?” Well yes, The P2V (Physical-to-Virtual) conversion process was deprecated from System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2. My colleague Mike Briggs wrote about this in an excellent blog: http://blogs.technet.com/b/scvmm/archive/2013/10/03/how-to-perform-a-p2v-in-a-scvmm-2012-r2-environment.aspx  which also outlines a very specific process with a very helpful architectural diagram to get around this for those who still need to get servers migrated.

What was the objective of P2V?

The primary reason for P2V was to bring legacy physical servers into private cloud. Now that many of the operating systems that were commonly virtualized (Windows 2000 Server, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003, and Windows Server 2008) are either out of support or in extended support. Newer operating systems housing business workloads are more hypervisor-aware and more often than not these days, they are being deployed to private clouds and corporate data centers as provisioned virtual machines as opposed to being deployed directly to bare metal installations.

Alternatives:

If you are planning to deploy Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2 as part of your System Center hybrid/private cloud and are looking for a strategy to migrate all of your physical servers aboard, consider you have these options:

Use VMM 2012 SP1 in parallel: Setting up a parallel VMM server (just like specified in the above mentioned blog post) and a Hyper-V Host Running Windows Server 2012 can still serve as a viable staging environment as this will continue to be supported in the immediate future. Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V VM’s can be easily imported/migrated over to Windows Server 2012 R2. This will be especially important if you are looking to do on-line P2V’s with active servers and you want to minimize downtime. Documentation for performing P2V in VMM 2012 SP1 can be found here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh427286.aspx

Disk2VHD: This free utility from the Sysinternals group (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/ee656415) can also perform online P2V’s completely originating from the source operating system creating a VHD or VHDX file ready for virtualization prime time. The latest version adds support for VHDX-formatted VHDs, WinRE volumes, removable media (for capturing,) and includes an option to capture live volumes instead of relying on volume shadow copy (VSS).

3rd-Party Solutions: There are P2V converters out there. Some are rudimentary and inexpensive while others integrate this feature into their enterprise backup and recovery solutions (such as Acronis.) These are also viable options to consider.