Are P2V server conversions being supplanted by V2V conversions?

While physical-to-virtual server conversions are common, virtual-to-virtual conversions are becoming increasingly popular among backup vendors.

Backup applications have had the ability to perform physical-to-virtual (P2V) conversions for quite some time now. While not every backup app has this capability, P2V capabilities are so common that backup vendors are putting less emphasis on P2V server conversions and more emphasis on virtual-to-virtual (V2V) conversions.

V2V conversions typically refer to moving a virtual machine (VM) off one hypervisor and onto another. For example, CommVault still supports P2V server conversions through its Virtualize Me feature, but also supports the ability to move VMs from VMware to Hyper-V.

Backup vendors aren't the only ones emphasizing V2V server conversions over P2V server conversions. Prior to its 2012 R2 release, for example, Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager included a P2V conversion feature. That feature has since been removed (although P2V conversion can be performed through Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter), but Virtual Machine Manager still provides V2V capabilities that make it possible to migrate VMware virtual machines to Hyper-V.

The big takeaway is that backup vendors are working hard to make it possible for users to employ their products to back up any machine (physical or virtual) and restore it anywhere, including on a different hypervisor.

One of the best documented pieces of evidence of this trend is a NetApp project called Project Shift. According to NetApp, "Project Shift is a collaboration across all divisions here at NetApp to enable our customers to quickly shift a workload from any hypervisor to any other hypervisor (as well as physical to hypervisor or the other way around). We do this by leveraging Data ONTAP and our deep understanding of virtualization." As such, NetApp isn't focusing specifically on P2V server conversions, but on P2V, V2V and virtual-to-physical (V2P) conversions all at the same time.

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