Tips For Migrating VMware VMs to AWS Cloud Platform

AWS Cloud Migration

VMware supports multiple ways for migrating businesses’ on-premises servers (also known as VMs) to the cloud instances of AWS. In which, an AWS command-line interface and its import-export features are the simplest and safest approach. This approach, however, requires specific domain knowledge. Therefore, it is recommended to provide this work to expert developers who are very much familiar with cloud CLI.

This migration process may contain high storage volumes and complex workloads, which make it difficult and requires proper planning and architecture knowledge. Just like other cloud processes, the VM cloud migration process requires console scripting skills and testing operations in a sandboxed system to ensure success.

Another way to process VMware to AWS migration is to clone VMs in transition from the source. This approach is also valid but more likely time-consuming, especially while executing heterogeneous workloads. The reason behind this complexity is the dependencies of VMs on-premises devices and networks, which might create consequences in the long run of the migration.

Organizations can also follow a hybrid cloud approach to manage these complexities by keeping the most dependable VMs on business premises and migrating the remaining ones to the AWS cloud. However, there will be some features or functionalities that AWS is not compatible with, such as VMs’ connections to external block storage systems, the number of VMs’ basic logical units, or a logical mapping approach.

There is also an option for developers to use Amazon’s proposed server migration services for the same. This service employs default FreeBSD VM – an OVA downloading feature that leads the migration process directly from its vCenter management console. This FreeBSD must be installed in the data-place where VMs are deployed.

Advantages of Migrating VMware VMs to AWS:
  • AWS provides a high scalability ratio to VMware VMs.
  • Helps to avoid performance bottlenecks by providing improved I/O throughput or fulfilling CPU resource requirements.
  • VM workloads that operate linearly always receive moderate enhancement in performance rather than parallel operating ones. AWS offers elastic compute resources, which ultimately speed up the performance of specific tasks.
  • Offers machine learning capabilities by allowing a system to train under large data sets.
  • Provides multi-region distant data centres, which helps to solve data sovereignty problems.
Disadvantages of Migrating VMware VMs to AWS:
  • Fewer possibilities to accomplish the migration process on-scale
  • Contains maximum changes of unnecessary bottlenecks
  • The costly process if downtimes sustain for a longer period
  • Many minuses point to evaluate
  • Requires extra precautions and carefulness due to data sovereignty problems
Approach to Migrate VMware VMs to AWS Cloud Platforms:

Before executing the migration process, it is advisable to test them all in a sandboxed atmosphere with the help of VM production images. After that, install AWS CLI on the system to execute the migration.

Then take the command of vCenter or AWS CLI to clone all targeted VMs in a file form. AWS platform supports almost every type of file format, including OVA and VMDK. To initiate this migration process, developers need to add AWS CLI instructions in a JSON format representing file names and formats.

Now, let’s have a look at an example of AWS CLI instructions to follow in a similar way:

aws ec2 import-image --description "My server VM" --disk-containers file://C:\import\containers.json

And the container code will be saved in container.json, and its code format is mentioned below:


"Description": "My Server OVA",

"Format": "ova",

"UserBucket": { "S3Bucket": "my-import-bucket",

"S3Key": "vms/my-server-vm.ova"

} }
AWS EC2 Instances Migration to On-premises System:

Developers can also utilize necessary CLI commands to migrate AWS EC2 instances to on-premises. The CLI command for that is:

aws ec2 create-instance-export-task --instance-id instance-id --target-environment vmware --export-to-s3-task file://C:\file.json

In .json file format:

"ContainerFormat": "ova",
"DiskImageFormat": "VMDK",
"S3Bucket": "my-export-bucket",
"S3Prefix": "vms/"

To execute this migration, it is important to have access to Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Services) bucket to save the AWS exported instances. It also supports OVA and VMDK file formats for exported instances or VM images, only then, when such contains third-party software support approved by AWS.


Comparing VMware workloads and servers’ migration process to the AWS cloud platform is trickier than usual processes and requires extra attention. It is highly recommended to hire a cloud migration experts team to get a smooth cloud migration.

Need assistance in this or any cloud-relation migration process, CloudStakes Technology Pvt. Ltd. is available 24/7 to hear all your requirements and provide the best cloud computing solutions in India. Book a free cloud consultation slot today with our cloud engineers.

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