How to migrate a VMware virtual machine to AWS

Migrate VMware VM's to AWS

At work we’ve been toying with the idea of moving some of our VMware workload off to AWS and I’ve been tasked with migrating a couple VMware virtual machines to AWS as a proof of concept for the time being.

In this post I’ll show how I setup the AWS Connector and did the migration from VMware to AWS using the AWS Server Migration Service.

Migrate vSphere VM to AWS using Server Migration Service

I’m assuming you already have a programmatic access (access key ID and secret access key) IAM account with the ServerMigrationConnector permissions and AWS Server Migration Service role attached, for this demo I’ll be using an account named SMSdemo. If not, go ahead and create that account first.

  1. First log into your AWS Console and click on “Server Migration” under the Migration section.
    aws server migration
  2. At the AWS Server Migration Service page click on Get started.
    aws server migration service get started
  3. Click on the Download OVA button and then deploy the downloaded OVA into your vSphere environment.
    aws sms download ova
    deploy aws sms connector
  4. Once the Server Migration Service Connector has been deployed, open a browser window and go to the IP address of the just deployed OVA. Then click on Get started now.
    load aws server migration service
  5. Agree to the license agreement then create a password, then click on Next.
    aws server migration service password
  6. Now you’ll be presented with information on how to log into the command line interface an configure network settings, such as a static IP. For this proof of concept I’ll just use a DHCP address. Click on Next.
    aws server migration service network info
  7. Check if you want to upload logs automatically as well as if you want the AWS Connector to stay updated on it’s own.
    aws server migration service log uploads upgrades
  8. Next select which region you want your VM’s to be migrated to and enter the AWS access and secret key from the account creation above.
    aws server migration service region
  9. Now just enter your vCenter host name and credentials.
    aws server migration service vcenter
  10. Once the AWS Server Migration Service appliance has been configured you’ll be taken to the status page that should look something like the below.
    aws server migration service complete
  11. Now go back to the AWS Console and click on “Server Migration” under the Migration section.
    aws server migration
  12. Then click on Connectors on the left menu and the click on Import server catalog. This might take a couple minutes as it creates a list of all the VM’s in your vCenter.
    aws sms connectors
  13. After the import is completed you’ll be taken to the Servers tab. Select the server(s) you’d like to replicate to AWS and then click on Create replication jobs.
    aws sms servers create replication jobs
  14. Next you’ll configure your license type: Auto, AWS, or BYOL.
    aws sms servers create replication jobs server settings
  15. Now configure your desired replication settings such as how often to replicate the server(s), when to start replication and enter your IAM service role.
    aws sms servers create replication jobs configure replication
  16. Review the settings and click on Create.
    aws sms servers create replication jobs review
  17. And finally, once the replication job completes you’ll be able to easily spin up the VM on AWS by simply going to the Replication Jobs tab on the left, select your desired server and then from Actions click on “Launch instance from latest AMI“.
    aws server migration service migrate launch latest ami

    Or you can also launch the VM on AWS through the EC2 dashboard and selecting the desired AMI and clicking on Launch.
    aws server migration service migrate launch ami

And with that you’ve now migrated virtual machine(s) from VMware over to AWS and done pretty painlessly as well.

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      1. Hi Mike, thanks for this post, by any chance do you know if this is still applicable in 2021? i’m very green using AWS and i’m trying to migrate production boxes into aws without the benefit of any training.
        thanks for your help. Wil

      2. Wil,

        Yes sir, the process is the same though I do believe AWS has added a few other options. Such as a powershell script for Azure migrations and an VHD for Hyper-V environments. All in all the process remains the name.