What is VMware What is its use

Moving an on-premises VMware infrastructure to Azure

  • 10 minutes to read

If the fictional Contoso company wants to migrate its VMware virtual machines (VMs) from an on-premises data center to Azure, the team responsible has two options. This article is about the Azure VMware Solution service, which Contoso has identified as the better migration option.

Migration optionsResult
Azure Migrate
  • Assess and migrate local VMs
  • Run workloads using Azure IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service)
  • Manage VMs with Azure Resource Manager
  • Azure VMware Solution
  • Use VMware Hybrid Cloud Extension (HCX) solution or vMotion to move local VMs
  • Run native VMware workloads on Azure bare metal hardware
  • Manage VMs with vSphere
  • This article uses Contoso's Azure VMware Solution to create a private cloud on Azure that has native access to VMware vCenter as well as other VMware-supported workload migration tools. Contoso can use Azure VMware Solution with the confidence that it is a first-party offering from Microsoft based on VMware.

    Business driver

    The Contoso IT team works closely with business partners to define the business factors that speak for a VMware migration to Azure. These drivers can include:

    • Relocation or closure of data centers: Seamlessly migrate VMware-based workloads as existing data centers are consolidated or decommissioned.
    • Disaster recovery and business continuity: Use a VMware stack deployed in Azure as the primary or secondary location for on-demand disaster recovery for the on-premises data center infrastructure.
    • Application modernization: Leverage the Azure ecosystem to modernize Contoso's applications without rebuilding VMware-based environments.
    • Implementing DevOps: Use of Azure DevOps tool chains in VMware environments and modernization of applications at the speed you choose.
    • Ensure business continuity: Redeploy vSphere-based applications to Azure without hypervisor conversions and application refactoring. Expanded support for legacy applications running on Windows and SQL Server.

    Goals for migrating from VMware on-premises to VMware in the cloud

    Contoso has set a few goals for the migration based on business factors:

    • Existing environments will continue to be managed with VMware tools familiar to the company's teams, while applications will be modernized with native Azure services.
    • Contoso's VMware-based workloads are to be seamlessly migrated from its own data center to Azure, and the VMware environment is to be integrated into Azure.
    • After the migration, the application in Azure should have the same performance characteristics as it currently does in the local VMware environment. The application remains equally important locally and in the cloud.

    These goals support Contoso's decision to use Azure VMware Solution and identify it as the best method to migrate.

    Benefits of running VMware workloads on Azure

    With Azure VMware Solution, Contoso can now seamlessly run, manage and protect applications in VMware environments and in Azure with a unified operating framework.

    Contoso takes advantage of existing VMware investments, skills and tools, such as: B. VMware vSphere, vSAN and vCenter. At the same time, Contoso benefits from the scalability, high performance, and innovation of Azure. In addition, the company has the following options:

    • Set up the VMware infrastructure in the cloud in a few minutes.
    • Modernization of applications at the speed you choose.
    • VMware applications can be expanded through the use of dedicated, isolated high-performance infrastructure and specific Azure products and services.
    • On-premises VMs can be migrated to Azure or expanded to Azure without redesigning the applications.
    • VMware workloads can be scaled, automated and provisioned quickly on the global Azure infrastructure.
    • Take advantage of a solution provided by Microsoft, verified by VMware, and run on the Azure infrastructure.

    Solution draft

    After Contoso defines its goals and requirements, the company designs and evaluates a deployment solution and determines the migration process.

    Current architecture

    Current features of Contoso's architecture:

    • Provisioned VMs in a local data center managed with vSphere
    • Provisioned workloads in a VMware ESXi host cluster managed with vCenter, vSAN, and NSX

    Proposed architecture

    For the proposed architecture, Contoso does the following:

    • Deploy an Azure VMware Solution Private Cloud in the Azure US West Region
    • Connect the on-premises data center to the Azure VMware Solution service running in US West using virtual networks and ExpressRoute with Global Reach enabled
    • Migrate VMs to a Dedicated Azure VMware Solution Instance Using VMware Hybrid Cloud Extension (HCX)

    Review of the solution

    Contoso evaluates its proposed design by making a list of the pros and cons. This is shown in the following table:

  • High performance bare metal VMware infrastructure.
  • The infrastructure is dedicated to Contoso only and is physically isolated from other customers' infrastructure.
  • Because Contoso assigns a new host that uses VMware, no special configuration is required, nor is the migration particularly complex.
  • With the Azure Hybrid Benefit and advanced security updates for older Windows and SQL platforms, Contoso can leverage its investment in Software Assurance.
  • Contoso retains full control of the application VMs in Azure.

  • disadvantage
  • Contoso needs to continue to support the application based on VMware VMs instead of moving it to a managed service like Azure App Service and Azure SQL Database.
  • The setup and billing of Azure VMware Solution are not based on individual VMs in Azure IaaS, but at least three large nodes. Contoso needs to plan its capacity requirements because the company currently has an on-premises environment, which is a limitation from the on-demand approach of the other services in Azure.
  • Migration process

    Contoso uses the VMware HCX tool to migrate its VMs to Azure VMware Solution. The virtual machines run in a private cloud from Azure VMware Solution. VMware HCX migration methods also include mass or “cold” migration. VMware vMotion, or replication-assisted vMotion (RAV) vMotion, is a method reserved for workloads running through live migration.

    The Contoso team does the following to complete the process:

    • Plan the network in Azure and ExpressRoute
    • Create the Azure VMware Solution private cloud through the Azure portal
    • Configure the network to include the ExpressRoute circuits
    • Configure the HCX components for the connection between the on-premises vSphere environment and the private cloud of Azure VMware Solution
    • Replicate the VMs and then move them to Azure via VMware HCX

    Steps for the scenario

    • Step 1: network planning
    • Step 2: Create a private cloud from Azure VMware Solution
    • Step 3: Configure the Network
    • Step 4: Migrate VMs with HCX

    Step 1: network planning

    Contoso needs to plan its network to cover Azure Virtual Network and connectivity between the on-premises environment and Azure. The company must provide high-speed connectivity between its on-premises and Azure-based environments and connect to the Azure VMware Solution private cloud.

    This connectivity is provided through Azure ExpressRoute and requires certain network address ranges and firewall ports to enable the services. This high bandwidth, low latency connection enables Contoso to access services running under its Azure subscription from the Azure VMware Solution private cloud.

    Contoso needs to plan an IP addressing scheme with a non-overlapping address space for its virtual networks. For the ExpressRoute gateway, the company must add a gateway subnet.

    The Azure VMware Solution private cloud is connected to Contoso's Azure virtual network with another Azure ExpressRoute connection. ExpressRoute's Global Reach service is enabled to allow a direct connection between the on-premises VMs and the VMs running in the Azure VMware Solution private cloud. The ExpressRoute Premium SKU is required to activate Global Reach.

    Azure VMware Solution private clouds require at least one subnet CIDR network address block. To establish a connection with local environments and virtual networks, the network address block must not overlap.

    Step 2: Create a private cloud from Azure VMware Solution

    Now that the network and IP address planning is complete, Contoso will next set up the Azure VMware Solution service in the Azure US West region. With Azure VMware Solution, Contoso can deploy a vSphere cluster in Azure.

    An Azure VMware Solution private cloud is an isolated VMware software-defined data center that supports ESXi hosts, vCenter, vSAN, and NSX. The stack runs on dedicated and isolated bare metal hardware nodes in an Azure region. The initial Azure VMware Solution private cloud deployment must be at least three hosts. Further hosts can be added later one after the other. Up to 16 hosts are possible per cluster.

    For more information, see Azure VMware Solution (Preview): Concepts - Private Clouds and Clusters.

    Azure VMware Solution private clouds are managed through the Azure VMware Solution portal. Contoso has its own vCenter Server in its own administrative domain.

    For information on creating a private cloud from Azure VMware Solution, see Tutorial: Deploying an AVS Private Cloud on Azure.

    1. First, the Contoso team registers the Azure VMware Solution provider with Azure by running the following command:

    2. In the Azure portal, the team creates the Azure VMware Solution private cloud by providing the network information from the plan. The team then chooses the option Rate + create out. This step takes about two hours.

    3. The team confirms that the Azure VMware Solution private cloud deployment is complete by selecting the private cloud resource from the resource group. The status is Successful displayed.

    Step 3: Configure the network settings

    A virtual network is required for an Azure VMware Solution private cloud. Because Azure VMware Solution does not support an on-premises vCenter instance during the preview phase, Contoso needs to take additional steps to integrate it into its on-premises environment. By setting up an ExpressRoute circuit and a virtual network gateway, the team connects their virtual networks to the Azure VMware Solution private cloud.

    For more information, see Tutorial: Configure Networking for Your VMware Private Cloud in Azure.

    1. The Contoso team first creates a virtual network with a gateway subnet.


      The team must use an address space that is Not overlaps the address space used when creating the private cloud.

    2. The team creates the ExpressRoute VPN gateway, making sure to select the correct SKU, and then select the option Rate + create out.

    3. The team retrieves the authorization key to connect ExpressRoute to the virtual network. The key is displayed in the Azure portal on the Connectivity screen of the Azure VMware Solution private cloud resource.

    4. The team connects ExpressRoute to the VPN gateway that connects the Azure VMware Solution private cloud to the Contoso virtual network. To do this, it creates a connection in Azure.

    For more information, see Tutorial: Learn how to access a private AVS cloud (Azure VMware Solution, Azure VMware Solution).

    Step 4: Migrate with VMware HCX

    To migrate VMware VMs to Azure using HCX, the Contoso team must follow these general steps:

    • Install and configure VMware HCX
    • Performing the migrations to Azure with HCX

    For more information, see Install HCX for an Azure VMware Solution.

    Install and configure VMware HCX for the public cloud

    VMware HCX is a VMware product that is part of the standard installation of Azure VMware Solution. HCX Advanced is installed by default but can be upgraded to HCX Enterprise as additional features and functionality are required.

    Azure VMware Solution automates the HCX Cloud Manager component in Azure VMware Solution. The service provides the customer's activation key and a download link to the Connector HCX appliance, which must be configured locally and in a customer's vCenter domain. These elements are then coupled to the Azure VMware Solution cloud device so customers can take advantage of services such as migration and level 2 stretching.

    Migrating VMs to Azure with HCX

    After both the on-premises data center (source) and the Azure VMware Solution private cloud (destination) have been configured with the VMware cloud and HCX, Contoso can begin migrating its VMs. The team can use a variety of migration technologies to move VMs in and out of data centers that are VMware HCX-ready.

    • The Contoso HCX application is online and the status is green. The team is now ready to migrate and protect Azure VMware Solution VMs with HCX.

    VMware HCX bulk migration

    This migration method uses the VMware vSphere replication protocols to move multiple VMs to a target location at the same time. This has the following advantages, among others:

    • This method is designed to move multiple VMs in parallel.
    • The migration can be set to complete on a pre-defined schedule.
    • The VMs will run at the source site until failover begins. The service interruption corresponds to a restart.

    VMware HCX vMotion live migration

    This migration method uses the VMware vMotion protocol to move a single VM to a remote location. This has the following advantages, among others:

    • This method is designed so that only one VM is moved at a time.
    • There is no service interruption when the VM state is migrated.

    Cold VMware HCX migration

    This migration method uses the VMware NFC protocol (Near Field Communication). This option is automatically selected when the source VM is powered off.

    VMware HCX Replication Assisted vMotion

    For VMware HCX with vMotion with Replication Assisted vMotion (RAV), the benefits of VMware HCX mass migration, such as: B. parallel operations, resilience and scheduling, with the benefits of VMware HCX vMotion migration, e. B. no downtime when migrating the VM status, combined.

    Additional resources

    For more technical information on VMware, see the documentation at: