Virtual to physical (V2P) is a term that refers to the migration of an operating system (OS), application programs and data from a virtual machine or disk partition to a computer's main hard disk. The target can be a single computer or multiple computers.
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V2P can be done manually by defining the target physical environment such as a specific hard disk and then installing the OS, applications and data on it from the virtual environment. This can be a tedious and uncertain process, especially if the new environment contains substantially different hardware than the old. To streamline the operation, part or all of the migration can be carried out automatically by means of specialized programs known as migration tools.
V2P can be used to restore the hard disk contents of a failed computer or network server from a backup storage medium such as a tape drive. V2P can also be used, in conjunction with physical to virtual (P2V) migration, to copy the OS, applications and data from one computer to a virtual machine and from there to other computers. Concerns have arisen about this aspect of V2P because it could facilitate OS or software piracy.