Part 1: Migrating a Microsoft Azure VM from Microsoft Azure to AWS

  • Related: Part 2: Migrate a Microsoft Azure VM into AWS

Although it is not recommended by Amazon Web Services (AWS), or Microsoft, it is possible for Azure virtual machines (VMs) to be moved to AWS. However, there are some limitations to this process. This series consists of two parts. I will guide you through the process. Before I start, I want to remind you that this article assumes you have an Azure account and an AWS Account. A Hyper-V server on-premises is also required. This server will be used to prepare the VM after it has been downloaded from Azure. Before I get started, there are two important points. First, if you are downloading a VM from Azure you will need to ensure that you have a valid license for the operating system and any software running on it. We will be migrating the VM using a Bring Your Own License method. Another important point to remember is that Sysprep will be required as part of the migration process. This could impact the performance of any applications running on the VM. To get an idea of the process, I recommend that you use lab VMs before moving to production VMs. Let’s get started. Log in to Azure portal and click on the Virtual Machines container. To access the VM’s properties, ensure that the VM’s status has been stopped. Click on the Disks icon (shown in Figure 1) and then click the VM’s disk. This will open the Azure portal and reveal the source image and the uniform resource identifier (URI) for the virtual hard disk (VHD). Figure 2. [Click on the image to see a larger version.] Figure 1: Click the Disks container of the VM. [Click on the image to see a larger view.] Figure 2: To access the information for a particular disk, click on it. Go back to the Azure portal’s main navigation and click on Storage Accounts container. Next, click on the storage blob containing VM’s virtual disk. The disk’s URI includes the storage blob name. Click on the Blobs button. Next, select the VHDs option. Finally, click on VHD that is associated with the VM you wish to migrate. Click on the Download link to save the VHD file. Figure 3 shows this. The download process can take a while because Azure’s default VHD size is 127GB. [Click on the image to see a larger view.] Figure 3: Select the VHD file and click the download button. I believe in being honest with my readers. I will tell you upfront that I was unable download an Azure VM while I was writing this article. My Internet connection is not always reliable because I live in rural areas. After trying download after download for 36 hours, my connection dropped, I had to give up. The screen captures used in the rest of this series were taken from a VM I created locally and set up to match an Azure VM as closely possible. AWS charges customers based on how much storage space they use and how much data they transfer. Therefore, it is a good idea for Azure VHD files to be converted to dynamically expanding VHDs before uploading them to AWS. AWS supports both fixed-length and dynamically expanding VHD file types. However, dynamically expanding VHDs are typically the smaller type. You can convert VHD files using the Hyper-V Manager. Open Hyper-V Manager. Click on the Edit Disk link in the Actions pane. Hyper-V launches the Edit Virtual Hard Disk Wizard. To skip the wizard’s Welcome screen, click Next. Next, you’ll see the Locate Virtual Hard Disk screen.