Lift and shift on-premises workloads to Microsoft Azure

The "lift and shift" is the procedure of moving on-premises workloads from e.g. VMware and Hyper-V to public clouds such as Azure, AWS, and GCP. This is a high-level overview guide.

Nowadays it is common to migrate workloads from on-premises to the public cloud. The procedure is known as lift and shift. The applications or services are lifted from the existing environment such as VMware, Hyper-V, and Citrix and then shifted as-is to a public cloud such as Azure, AWS, GCP, and others.

I did a procedure a few months ago and I want to document it on my blog. For testing purposes, I will migrate the virtual machine (PRTG Network Monitor) from VMware ESXi 7.0 to Microsoft Azure using the Azure Migrate Server Migration tool. There are two options available, agentless (migrate VMs without needing to install anything on them) and agent-based (install an agent on the VM for replication). You can find more details here.

  VMware ESXi Environment 

The same procedure with minor changes applies to the Hyper-V, AWS, and GCP servers as well. This is a high-level overview guide.

Step 1: Prepare VMware ESXi

The first step is to create and configure accounts, access controls, roles, privileges in vCenter, but also configure access control (IAM) for subscriptions that will be used during the process. 

Step 2: Prepare Azure Migrate

The second step includes creating a project, generating a key for the Azure virtual appliance, and downloading the OVA template. The OVA template is Azure Migrate Appliance that is used to continuously discover virtual machines on VMware. It hosts Windows Server 2016 and requires 8 vCPU, 32 GB RAM, 80 GB disk space. It executes API against vCenter and Azure. Once set up, this appliance remains connected to Azure MIgrate and performs continuous discovery of your environment.

Step 3: Register Azure Migration Appliance

Once we start the Azure Migration appliance, we need to register and activate it by using the Azure Migration project key. This key is used to register the Azure Appliance (VMware) with our Azure subscription account. We´ll need to specify accounts for connecting to VCenter and discovering VMWare VM and applications installed on OS. It takes around 15 minutes for discovered VM metadata to appear in the portal. The Discovery of installed applications, roles, and features takes some time. The duration depends on the number of VMs being discovered. For 500 VMs, it takes approximately one hour for the application inventory to appear in the Azure Migrate portal.

Step 4: Perfrom Server Assessment

The Server Assessment will verify which virtual machines can be migrated to Azure and it will provide you with an estimation of resources needed to run VM and also monthly costs.

Step 5: Replicate virtual machine from VMware to Azure

The first step towards migration is replicating from on-premises to Azure. Start migrating by replicating your machines. You can run up to 300 replications simultaneously.

Step 6: Test migration

Replicate machines to Azure using + Replicate. You can perform test migrations on servers after the initial phase of replication is complete. Run a test migration to make sure everything’s working as expected.

Step 7: Perform full migration to the environment

If the test migration was successful, we should continue with full migration. 

Step 8: Create public IP in the resource group

If you resources are ready, assign them to the VM. If not, you´ll need to prepare them before actual migration. It includes vnet, subnet, network card, public IP and NSG. 

Other tweaks for the apps you are migrating

Navigate to both Remote Probes > Administration Tool and change PRTG Core Server IPs.

Once we are done with migration and configuration, we should verify if everything works fine. In the end, creating network diagrams and updating the documentation should be a natural step to do. 

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