Migrate VMware workloads to Azure

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

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 into VMware, Hyper, and Physical

Step 1 – Create an Azure Migrate Project

The first thing you need to do is:

Create is an Azure migration project

Set up your migration tools.

  • Open the Azure Portal and search for the Azure Migrate blade.

Azure Migrate Blade
You can also search or use the + create a resource button

  • Find the Servers button underneath the Migration Goals menu on the Azure Migrate blade.

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

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

Azure Migrate Settings
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

Azure Migrate - Add a tool

  • 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.

Azure Migrate - Server Assessment

On the Discover Machine menu

  • Set Are your machines virtualized to Yes, with VMware vSphere Hypervisor
  • Give your 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)

Azure Migrate - Discover Machines

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 server’s 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 initial checks.

Azure Migrate - Appliance Configuration Manager

  • As per the picture above, I needed to install the VMware Virtual Disk Dev kit. Simply click the download link, log in to VMware.com, download, and copy the files into C:\Program Files\VMWare\VMware Virtual Disk Development Kit\

Azure Migrate - VVDK

Azure Migrate - VVDK Installer

  • Once completed, click the verify button.

Azure Migrate - VVDK Wizard

Azure Migrate - VVDK Wizard - Prereqs

  • Next, copy the Project Key that was created in Step 2 and click LOGIN
  • You will be prompted for your Azure Credentials and password to link to PowerShell CLI on the appliance.

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

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

Azure Migrate - VVDK Wizard - Step 1

Set the following

  • Set Source Type as vCenter Server
  • Set a 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.

Azure Migrate - VVDK Wizard - Step 2 - Credentials

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

Azure Migrate - VVDK Wizard - Discovery

  • Next, click the Add Discovery Source – enter your details (this is your vCenter Server Appliance IP Address)

Azure Migrate - VVDK Wizard - Discovery

  • 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

Azure Migrate - VVDK Wizard - Discovery

  • Next, Click the Start Discovery button.

Azure Migrate - VVDK Wizard - Discovery

  • Upon completion, you will see this message.

Azure Migrate - VVDK Wizard - Discovery

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

Azure Migrate Background Reading:

There are four steps to the migration:

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 and volumetric data and dependencies. This is not an easy task, but it is essential to migrate successfully.

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.

Design State

A design state can be started using the information gathered from the Current State Analysis. 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.


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


Once your infrastructure is migrated to the cloud, the process of tuning the infrastructure begins. You may often find that the cloud servers are over-specced; they might need auto-scaling options added. 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 your costs will be extortionate if you lift and shift.

Elsewhere On TurboGeek:  Mastering Azure Infrastructure with Terraform

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

Azure Migrate Microsoft Migration Plan
Source: Microsoft Documentation

  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

The Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework

The Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework for Migration


Richard Bailey, a seasoned tech enthusiast, combines a passion for innovation with a knack for simplifying complex concepts. With over a decade in the industry, he's pioneered transformative solutions, blending creativity with technical prowess. An avid writer, Richard's articles resonate with readers, offering insightful perspectives that bridge the gap between technology and everyday life. His commitment to excellence and tireless pursuit of knowledge continues to inspire and shape the tech landscape.

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  1. 19/01/2023

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