Articles | June 3, 2024

VMware to Azure migration – the ultimate step-by-step guide. Migrate VMware VMs smoothly

The seamless migration of VMware VMS to Microsoft Azure is at your fingertips. Follow our guide and migrate VMware with no issues!

vmware to azure migration step-by step

VMware is a great tool for virtualization, the management of virtual machines, and the optimization of resources, and has gained a considerable number of enthusiasts over the years. However, recent changes in licensing models in 2023 have made many users of this optimization tool think more carefully about cost optimization. One option is to migrate VMware VMS to another solution, like Azure Cloud. We assume that the selection stage is behind you. The decision has been made: your company is switching to Azure. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the necessary steps and outline Microsoft learning resources.

Interesting statistics behind “Why migrate from VMware to Azure”  

  • Nearly 50 percent of IT professionals consider cost the most significant factor in looking for an alternative solution, according to a survey by Gartner.  
  • In November 2023, VMmare was acquired by Broadcom. The change in ownership came with new licensing models. Under some circumstances, a subscription model that replaces lifetime licenses will be beneficial, but may also involve an increase in costs in some cases.  

VMware on-premises – when is it better to stay?

The new subscription model may prove to be a better choice in some situations for certain organizations. For example, companies that don’t have technical support will get it bundled with the subscription. This model also represents a more flexible way to adjust the license cost to the real-world usage of resources.  

So why do companies migrate VMS to Azure?

Despite the potential benefits, many organizations decide to migrate VMware to the Azure cloud “as is” to gain greater cost efficiency. This way, they do not need to incur the cost of on-premises infrastructure and gain more flexibility.  

Azure VMware Solution (AVS) allows them to combine the potential of VMware capabilities with the potential of the cloud: business continuity and perfect scaling. Furthermore, no refactoring is needed, licenses are included, and consistency with on-premises workloads is assured. 

Migrate VMware – how to prepare for the migration process in 4 simple steps

  1. Plan before migrating from on-premises VMware to Azure, you need to carefully think over and plan the transition. You can handle it in-house or, in case any issues arise, take advantage of the opportunity for an advisory call with cloud experts. 
  1. Collaborate – you have a transition process ahead of you. From now on, cooperation and good communication with all stakeholders involved will work in your favor. The use of project management tools for this purpose is standard today, especially in Agile projects. 
  1. Assess – evaluate the existing environment to identify dependencies, applications, and resources that require migration. A proper automation tool like Azure Migrate will come in handy here. There are many such tools available on the market. In our experience, Microsoft solutions provide everything you need out of the box. 
  1. Set up connect to Azure and ensure all necessary permissions and access rights are in place. You need to set up accounts and credentials in the Azure portal to walk through migration smoothly.  

Assessing your current VMware environment

When starting your migration process to Azure, it is essential to evaluate your current on-premises workloads to determine their cloud readiness, identify any risks that may arise, and estimate the associated costs and level of complexity. Below is how you do it. 

Essential steps before you start: 

1) Choose the assessment method 

Assess based either on server configuration data/metadata or on the collection of dynamic performance data. 

2) Assess and Migrate using the Azure Migration Tool 

This can be done in the Discovery and Assessment tab, by selecting Assess and then going to Azure VM. You can use the Azure tutorial for a detailed overview of all the configurations needed at this step.  

3) Review your assessment  

As a result, you will obtain recommendations regarding Azure readiness. These include: 

  • Ready for Azure,  
  • Ready with conditions, 
  • Not ready for Azure, 
  • Readiness unknown (in case of data availability problems). 

You will also get the estimated monthly costs and associated storage expenses. Remember, you can make use of Azure Cost Management tools when migrating workloads to Azure. 

Evaluating Azure subscription options

Select the Azure subscription option that best fits your organization’s needs by evaluating cost, scalability, and the features you need. 

Before deploying the Azure subscription, consider familiarizing yourself with the saving options Azure offers. The great thing is that the Azure assessment you performed, in addition to providing relevant information on your cloud readiness, storage requirements, and recommended cloud region, will also suggest the best cost optimization options (that is, Azure Reservations, Azure Saving Plans, or Azure Hybrid Benefits for saving on computing costs).  

Setting up your Azure environment

Setting up your Azure environment involves selecting the right tools and resources. This will allow you to streamline the process of moving your data and applications to the Azure environment, saving time and reducing potential errors. Once done, the next step is to set up an Azure environment for your organization. We recommend using the Azure Migrate native tool.  
The steps include: 

1) Deployment of the Azure Migration appliance 

You will need to create an appliance server and follow the configuration steps detailed in the Azure tutorial. 

2) Start continuous discovery 

To access the servers’ configuration and performance data, your appliance must connect with the vCenter Server. Continuous discovery allows you to catalog software, analyze dependencies, and locate SQL Server instances and databases.  

Creating Azure VM instances

Creating Azure VM instances can be done by replicating Azure VMs to a secondary location or transferring virtual machines from VMware to Azure. The process involves specifying the Virtual Machine name and selecting the appropriate settings for the migration.  

Azure Migrate project – executing the migration

Performing an Azure Migrate server assessment is necessary to understand the current environment and define the migration settings. Utilizing Azure Migration and Modernization tools can simplify and streamline the process. Choose the right migration method (agentless or agent-based as described in the Microsoft resources), considering, e.g.:  

  • Permissions needed to run the migration, 
  • Number of VM migrations to be performed at once, 
  • Disk limits – selection of storage account/number of disks in Azure, 
  • Passthrough disks to be used as a storage source, 
  • Deployment steps that will depend on the method. 

Run a test migration to ensure data integrity

Data integrity refers to the accuracy, completeness, and consistency of data. According to a Gartner study, due to data quality problems, 80% of data migrations won’t meet their business objectives, and the cost of bad data annually goes into the millions of dollars. That’s why migration tests are conducted when migrating databases. VMWare’s move to the cloud is no different.  

Run a test migration to ensure data integrity before conducting a full migration process. This involves moving a subset of data to a test environment to check for any errors or missing information. Then, a clean-up test migration should be performed to remove any redundant data. Otherwise, you may incur extra expenses in Azure. The data integrity check is carried out in two steps: 

1) Validating replication 

Checking if every sector changed in the source disk was replicated to the target one.  

2) Ensuring data consistency  

Ensuring that the data sent to the Azure disks matches the data copied from the source disks.  

Also read: Azure cost optimization 

VMware migration to Azure – post-migration optimization

Your journey doesn’t end with the cloud migration itself. Post-migration optimization is crucial. Ensuring proper Backup and Recovery solutions and using Managed Services will be the steps you take to ensure business continuity.  

Implementing Azure Backup and Disaster Recovery solutions 

Choose a backup solution for the VMware Virtual Machines, such as Microsoft Azure Backup Server (MABS).  For optimal results, consider using Azure Managed Services. Such services are great whenever you need to enhance efficiency.  

Summary – your migration to the Azure VMWare solution

In a recent webinar, an Inetum expert emphasized why is it worth considering moving on-premises VMware VSphere to Azure. Built-in tools offered by Microsoft allow for accurate estimation of the costs involved in the migration process. Making use of Azure cost calculations provided by the platform is also important. Additional features such as Azure security solutions and the general scalability of Azure Cloud give many companies great options to keep their existing virtualization features in a modern environment. 

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Migrate on-premises VMware VMS to Azure with us!

Do you find transferring your VMware to Azure using an Azure migration tool a challenge? Contact us to make your transition seamless!

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