Virtualization is most frequently used for server consolidation. This is where physical servers are converted into virtual servers. This “physical to virtual” conversion process is commonly called P2V conversion. This process can be done manually but it is easier if you use a P2V conversion application. While this P2V (or Virtual machine Import) functionality may be built into the management interface for your virtualization product, there are also standalone P2V products such as VMware Converter (diagram shown below) and Vizioncore’s vConverter.
These P2V products connect to the physical server, copy all data from that physical server into a virtual disk on the virtual server, replace the drivers in the guest operating system with virtual drivers, and start the new virtual machine. In some cases, there is no downtime for end users of that server.
Similar to a P2V conversion, a V2V (virtual to virtual) conversion is where a virtual guest machine from one virtualization platform is converted to another virtualization platform.
Figure 1: Image Source: VMware.com