Linux V2P

Virtualization may be the best thing since the microprocessor itself, but sometimes you may have to backtrack your own footsteps.
Here are the steps to convert a Red Hat 5.5 linux vm running on an ESX to a physical box:

Using a disk imaging tool, dump the vmdk of the vm to the internal disk of the target machine.Boot the physical box with the Red Hat CD in rescue mode
Do not mount any partitions, but select "continue" to jump into the shell.

Mount the restored partition:

#chroot /mnt/sysimage

edit the modules list and put every driver the physical machine needs.
you can see which drivers are needed by looking at modprobe.conf from another machine that has the same hw as the one you are V2P-ing.
if you don't have another machine, you can use the same target machine: just before imaging it with the source vmdk, install it from scratch with the Red Hat CD and take note of the resulting modprobe.conf

#vi /etc/modprobe.conf

here is the one i used as a reference (an HP machine)

options bnx2x disable_tpa=1
alias eth0 bnx2
alias eth1 bnx2
alias eth2 tg3
alias eth3 tg3
alias scsi_hostadapter cciss
alias scsi_hostadapter1 lpfc
alias scsi_hostadapter2 usb-storage

then you will have to rebuild the initrd image to include the needed drivers.
note that kernel version number must match the one used on your vm.

/sbin/mkinitrd -v -f /boot/initrd-2.6.18-164.el5.img 2.6.18-164.el5

and reboot.
at boot time you will probably get some errors on X initialization because the graphic card has changed: just answer yes at the reconfigure option and select 800x600 as default resolution.

Update: if you are looking for P2V instead, look at this post.


  1. Hello,

    thanks for this tip. I need a step-by-step procedure on P2V. I appreciate if you could share it too.

    thanks in advance.


  2. Here's the reverse procedure, for live, powered-on P2V:


    1. Hi

      Which disk imaging tool would you prefer?

    2. That's not important, the procedure will work with any.