Preparing your VMware Virtual machines for Migration to Azure

Preparing your VMware Virtual machines for Migration to Azure

Migrating your on-premises Windows virtual machine (VM) from VMWare to Microsoft Azure is a strategic decision that can offer numerous benefits, including scalability, cost-efficiency, and enhanced security. However, a successful migration requires careful planning and preparation to ensure a smooth transition. In this article, we will discuss the key considerations and steps to prepare your VM for migration to Azure.

Assess Your VM and Dependencies

Before you begin the migration process, it's crucial to perform a comprehensive assessment of your VM and its dependencies. This assessment will help you identify potential challenges and understand the scope of the migration project. Consider the following:

  • Identify the VM's operating system, applications, and services it hosts.
  • Document the VM's dependencies on other resources, such as databases, file servers, and network configurations.
  • Determine the VM's resource utilisation, including CPU, memory, and storage requirements.
  • Check for any compliance or licensing requirements that may impact the migration.

Validate Compatibility

Azure offers support for a wide range of operating systems and applications, but it's important to validate that your Windows VM and its applications are compatible with the Azure environment. Consider the following compatibility factors:

  • Check if your VM's operating system is supported on Azure. Microsoft provides a list of supported Windows operating systems on their website.
  • Verify the compatibility of your applications and services with Azure. Some applications may require specific configurations or adjustments for Azure compatibility.
  • Ensure that your VM meets Azure's hardware and software requirements. For example, Azure supports both Generation 1 and Generation 2 VMs, but some features may require Generation 2.

Resize and Optimise

Azure provides a variety of VM sizes to choose from, each with different levels of CPU, memory, and storage. Before migrating, it's essential to assess your VM's resource requirements and select an Azure VM size that matches or exceeds these requirements. You can use Azure's VM sizing and pricing tools to help with this process.

Additionally, consider optimising your VM for Azure by:

  • Removing unnecessary applications and services.
  • Updating and patching the operating system to the latest version.
  • Implementing security best practices to ensure a secure environment.

Back Up Your VM

Before initiating the migration, it's critical to create a backup of your VM to safeguard against data loss or potential issues during the migration process. You can use VMWare's backup tools or third-party backup solutions to create a full image of your VM.

Prepare the Network

Azure requires proper network configurations to ensure connectivity to your VM after migration. Key network considerations include:

  • Ensure that your on-premises network allows outbound connectivity to Azure over the necessary ports.
  • Set up a virtual network (VNet) in Azure to host your VM and configure subnets, IP address ranges, and network security groups.
  • Plan and configure Azure VPN or ExpressRoute to establish a secure connection between your on-premises environment and Azure.

Perform a Test Migration

Before executing the actual migration, it's a good practice to perform a test migration to a non-production environment in Azure. This allows you to identify and address any issues or compatibility challenges before migrating the production VM.

Choose a Migration Method

Azure offers various migration methods, including Azure Site Recovery, Azure Migrate, and manual migration. The choice of method depends on your specific requirements and the complexity of your VM. Select the method that best aligns with your organisation's goals and the VM's characteristics. The migration method chosen is key in picking apart whether your system is ready to be moved to Azure. In some migration methods, such as Azure Migrate, a discovery phase allows Azure to give your devices a score on its readiness for migration, increasing confidence that the migration will be a success.

Execute the Migration

Once you've completed all the necessary preparations, you can proceed with the actual migration. Be sure to follow best practices for your chosen migration method and monitor the process to ensure a successful transition. At this stage, your workloads are being moved and your organisation are realising the benefits that Azure has to offer.

Post-Migration Validation and Testing

After the migration is complete, validate the functionality of your VM and its applications to ensure that they are working as expected. Make any necessary adjustments and configurations to optimise the performance and security of your Azure VM. If necessary, this is the stage at which BVT/UAT testing can be completed, to increase confidence that the migration was successful.


Migrating a Windows VM from VMWare to Azure is a significant undertaking that requires careful planning and preparation. By following these steps and considerations, you can ensure a successful migration that leverages the full benefits of the Azure cloud environment while minimising potential disruptions and issues. It’s worth noting, that the steps above are a guideline to moving to Azure, and other factors will be required to perform a successful migration. Remember that a well-executed migration can lead to enhanced flexibility, scalability, and cost-efficiency for your organisation's IT infrastructure.

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    If you’re ready to get started or your project is already underway, we’d like to know more.

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