Azure Migrate – How to migrate VMware workloads to Azure

Migrating Production workloads is a big task. One that requires planning and consideration. If you are taking on Azure Migration as part of your business, be aware that this should be project managed, with clear guidelines and goal objectives.

There are four steps to the migration:

Step 1 – Current State analysis

To do this, it is recommended that you have a clear understanding of your infrastructure’s current state. This includes information about the CPU, Disk, and Memory utilization as well as volumetric data and dependencies. This is not an easy task, but it is essential to make a successful migration.

There are many ways to do this, automated tools such as Dynatrace are great but very expensive. Another way is to install the Microsoft MMA agents on your Windows and Linux infrastructure and then gather metrics from Azure Log Analytics.

Step 2 – Design State

Using the information gathered from the Current State Analysis, a design state can be started. This is where a final decision is made on what can be migrated, what cannot be migrated, and what can be migrated with amendments being made.

Step 3 – Migrate

This is the technical process of physically migrating servers, you will need to ensure you have the Microsoft migration appliances installed and ready to go. This procecedure will explain exactly how to do this.

Step 4 – Cloudify

Once your infrastructure is migrated to the cloud, next begins the process of tuning the infrastructure. You may often find that the cloud servers are over-specced, they might need auto-scaling options adding. The cloudify process can take months or years to complete.

Starting Migration Planning and Migration Assessment

First ask yourself:

What is moving to Azure?

What do you want to take with you?

Where are you going to in Azure?

What is driving the move?

Start Planning

Planning Planning Planning. It is so important. You cannot just lift and shift workloads into Azure, technically you can, but professionally it is a bad idea. Azure is expensive, and if you lift and shift, your costs will be extortionate.

You need to work out:

What can be migrated in its current state?

What can be re-architected? (for example, transform a Web Server to a Web App)

What will not migrate? there is always one server, physical appliance, or something that will cause you major headaches.

The Microsoft Migration Plan

  1. Strategy – define what success looks like including both business and technical goals
  2. Planning – map out what needs to be migrated, and how the strategy will be achieved
  3. Preparation – prepare both the source and the destination for the migration
  4. Migration – replicate servers from the source to the destination, perform a cutover
  5. Handover – handover the final solution to the operations team for ongoing maintenance

Useful Reading

Azure Migrate Planning and Assessment

Azure migrate is the product used to migrate HyperV, VMware, Physical, and Other Cloud servers into Azure. Each migration must have a project, you can either have one big project with everything in it, or as I prefer, have multiple projects broken down to VMware, Hyper, and Physical

Step 1 – Create an Azure Migrate Project

First thing you need to do is:

Create is an Azure migrate project

Set up your migration tools.

  • Open the Azure Portal and search for the Azure Migrate blade
You can also seach, or use the + create a resource button
  • On the Azure Migrate blade, find the Servers button underneath the Migration Goals menu

IMPORTANT: providing you haven’t dabbled with Azure Migrate before, the servers area should be blank. If you have stuff in there, press the change button at the top right next to migrate project

  • On the next menu Settings, locate the click here button to create a new project.
Click here to create a new project

On the next page:

  • Select Your Subscription
  • Select or Create a New Resource Group
  • Give your project a name
  • Set the Geography
  • On the select assessment tool tab – choose your assessment product, in this article I will be using Azure Migrate: Server Assessment
  • On the select migration tool tab – choose your migration product, in this article I will be using Azure Migrate: Server Migration
  • On the review tab click the Add Tools button to deploy your config to Azure Migrate

Step 2 – Server Assessment discovery process

The discovery tool will log all the metadata about your VMware installation. It can also provide cost and readiness data, and assess your infrastructure dependencies.

  • Click the discover button on Azure Migrate: Server Assessment

On the Discover Machine menu

  • Set Are you machines virtulized to Yes, with VMware vSphere Hypervisor
  • Give you appliance a name on Name your Appliance
  • Generate a Key
  • Download the OVA package
  • Install the OVA on your VMWare vCenter estate (I will assume you already know how to do this)

Step 3 – Configure the Azure Migrate Assessment Appliance

  • Boot the VMware Appliance you have installed via the OVF
  • Log into the remote console
  • Set the servers local Administrator password
  • Give the server and IP Address, Subnet and Gateway
  • Launch the Appliance Configuration Manager, it should launch automatically, if not there is a shortcut on the desktop
  • The appliance will run through some inital checks
  • As per the picture above, I needed to install the VMware Virtual Disk Dev kit. Simply click the download link, log in to, download, and copy the files into C:\Program Files\VMWare\VMware Virtual Disk Development Kit\
  • Once completed click the verify button
  • Next copy the Project Key that was created in Step 2 and click LOGIN
  • You will be prompted for you Azure Credentials and password to link to PowerShell CLI on the appliance

Note: You MUST have an account that has permissions to create an Azure AD App

  • When the Appliance Registration process has finished, the Add Credentials button will become active

Set the following

  • Set Source Type as: vCenter Server
  • Set friendly name as anything you want
  • Set the Username and Password

Note: The account must have root access to vCenter. I will be using the default Administrator account

Note: You may need to refresh the webpage to get the change to pick up

  • Next, click the Add Discovery Source – enter your details (this is your vCenter Server Appliance IP Address)
  • Next, click the Add Credentials button. I will add my Linux sudo root account for ansible, this is because it is already configured on the estate
  • Next, Click the Start Discovery button
  • Upon completition you will see this message

That’s it, go to your DISCOVERED ITEMS in Azure migrate and your data will be available

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1 Response

  1. 15/01/2021

    […] is still heavily reliant on SQL Server 2008 R2. Microsoft will provide free security updates if you migrate your server to Microsoft Azure. Alternatively, you can purchase the updates directly from Microsoft, but be aware it isn’t […]

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