Replicate VMware virtual machines to Azure with Site Recovery

This article describes how to replicate on-premises VMware virtual machines to Azure, using the Azure Site Recovery service in the Azure portal.

If you want to migrate VMware VMs to Azure (failover only), read this article to learn more.

Post comments and questions at the bottom of this article, or on the Azure Recovery Services Forum.

Deployment steps

Here's what you need to do:

  1. Verify prerequisites and limitations.
  2. Set up Azure network and storage accounts.
  3. Prepare the on-premises machine that you want to deploy as the configuration server.
  4. Prepare VMware accounts to be used for automatic discovery of VMs, and optionally for push installation of the Mobility service.
  5. Create a Recovery Services vault. The vault contains configuration settings, and orchestrates replication.
  6. Specify source, target, and replication settings.
  7. Deploy the Mobility service on VMs you want to replicate.
  8. Enable replication for the VMs.
  9. Run a test failover to make sure everything's working as expected.


Support requirement Details
Azure Learn about Azure requirements
On-premises configuration server You need a VMware VM running Windows Server 2012 R2 or later. You set up this server during Site Recovery deployment.

By default the process server and master target server are also installed on this VM. When you scale up, you might need a separate process server, and it has the same requirements as the configuration server.

Learn more about these components here
On-premises VMware servers One or more VMware vSphere servers, running 6.0, 5.5, 5.1 with latest updates. Servers should be located in the same network as the configuration server (or separate process server).

We recommend a vCenter server to manage hosts, running 6.0 or 5.5 with the latest updates. Only features that are available in 5.5 are supported when you deploy version 6.0.
On-premises VMs VMs you want to replicate should be running a supported operating system, and conform with Azure prerequisites. VM should have VMware tools running.
URLs The configuration server needs access to these URLs:

* Used for access control and identity management

\* Used for replication data transfer and orchestration

\* Used for access to the storage account that stores replicated data

\* Used for replication management operations and orchestration and Used to check time synchronization between system and global time

URLs for Azure Government Cloud: - - - -

If you have IP address-based firewall rules, ensure they allow communication to Azure.
Allow the Azure Datacenter IP Ranges, and the HTTPS (443) port.
Allow IP address ranges for the Azure region of your subscription, and for West US (used for Access Control and Identity Management).

Allow this URL for the MySQL download:
Mobility service Installed on every replicated VM.


Limitation Details
Azure Storage and network accounts must be in the same region as the vault

If you use a premium storage account, you also need a standard store account to store replication logs

You can't replicate to premium accounts in Central and South India.
On-premises configuration server VMware VM adapter type should be VMXNET3. If it isn't, install this update

vSphere PowerCLI 6.0 should be installed.

The machine shouldn't be a domain controller. The machine should have a static IP address.

The host name should be 15 characters or less, and operating system should be in English.
VMware Only 5.5 features are supported in vCenter 6.0. Site Recovery doesn't support new vCenter and vSphere 6.0 features such as cross vCenter vMotion, virtual volumes, and storage DRS.
VMs Verify Azure VM limitations

You can't replicate VMs with encrypted disks, or VMs with UEFI/EFI boot.

Shared disk clusters aren't supported. If the source VM has NIC teaming, it's converted to a single NIC after failover.

If VMs have an iSCSI disk, Site Recovery converts it to a VHD file after failover. If the iSCSI target can be reached by the Azure VM, it connects to it, and sees both it and the VHD. If this happens, disconnect the iSCSI target.

If you want to enable multi-VM consistency, which enables VMs running the same workload to be recovered together to a consistent data point, open port 20004 on the VM.

Windows must be installed on the C drive. The OS disk should be basic, and not dynamic. The data disk can be dynamic.

Linux /etc/hosts files on VMs should contain entries that map the local host name to IP addresses associated with all network adapters. The host name, mount points, device name, system paths, and file names (/etc; /usr) should be in English only.

Specific types of Linux storage are supported.

Create or set disk.enableUUID=true in the VM settings. This provides a consistent UUID to the VMDK, so that it mounts correctly, and ensures that only delta changes are transferred back to on-premises during failback, without full replication.

Set up Azure

  1. Set up an Azure network.

    • Azure VMs will be placed in this network when they're created after failover.
    • You can set up a network in Resource Manager, or in classic mode.
  2. Set up an Azure storage account for replicated data.

    • The account can be standard or premium.
    • You can set up an account in Resource Manager, or in classic mode.
  3. Prepare an account on the vCenter server or vSphere hosts, so that Site Recovery can automatically detect VMware VMs.

Prepare the configuration server

  1. Install Windows Server 2012 R2 or later, on a VMware VM.
  2. Make sure the VM has access to the URLs listed in prerequisites.
  3. Install VMware vSphere PowerCLI 6.0.

Prepare for automatic discovery and push installation

  • Prepare an account for auto-discovery: The Site Recovery process server automatically discovers VMs. To do this, Site Recovery needs credentials that can access vCenter servers and vSphere ESXi hosts.

    1. To use a dedicated account, create a role (at the vCenter level, with these permissions. Give it a name such as Azure_Site_Recovery.
    2. Then, create a user on the vSphere host/vCenter server, and assign the role to the user. You specify this user account during Site Recovery deployment.
  • Prepare an account to push the Mobility service: If you want to push the Mobility service to VMs, you need an account that can be used by the process server to access the VM. The account is only used for the push installation. You can use a domain or local account:

    • For Windows, if you're not using a domain account, you need to disable Remote User Access control on the local machine. To do this, in the register under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System, add the DWORD entry LocalAccountTokenFilterPolicy, with a value of 1.
    • If you want to add the registry entry for Windows from a CLI, type: REG ADD HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System /v LocalAccountTokenFilterPolicy /t REG_DWORD /d 1.
    • For Linux, the account should be root on the source Linux server.

Create a Recovery Services vault

  1. Sign in to the Azure portal > Site Recovery.
  2. Click New > Monitoring & Management > Backup and Site Recovery.
  3. In Name, specify a friendly name to identify the vault. If you have more than one subscription, select one of them.
  4. Create a resource group, or select an existing one. Specify an Azure region. To check supported regions, see geographic availability in Azure Site Recovery Pricing Details.
  5. If you want to quickly access the vault from the dashboard, click Pin to dashboard and then click Create.

    New vault

    The new vault will appear on the Dashboard > All resources and on the main Recovery Services vaults blade.

Select the protection goal

Select what you want to replicate, and where you want to replicate to.

  1. Click Recovery Services vaults > vault.
  2. In the Resource Menu, click Site Recovery > Step 1: Prepare Infrastructure > Protection goal.

    Choose goals

  3. In Protection goal, select To Azure > Yes, with VMware vSphere Hypervisor.

    Choose goals

Set up the source environment

Set up the configuration server, register it in the vault, and discover VMs.

  1. Click Site Recovery > Step 1: Prepare Infrastructure > Source.
  2. If you don’t have a configuration server, click +Configuration server.

    Set up source

  3. In Add Server, check that Configuration Server appears in Server type.
  4. Download the Site Recovery Unified Setup installation file.
  5. Download the vault registration key. You need this when you run Unified Setup. The key is valid for five days after you generate it.

    Set up source

Run Site Recovery Unified Setup

Do the following before you start, then run Unified Setup to install the configuration server, the process server, and the master target server.

  • Get a quick video overview

  • On the configuration server VM, make sure that the system clock is synchronized with a Time Server. It should match. If it's 15 minutes in front or behind, setup might fail.

  • Run setup as a Local Administrator on the configuration server VM.
  • Make sure TLS 1.0 is enabled on the VM.
  1. Run the Unified Setup installation file.
  2. In Before You Begin, select Install the configuration server and process server.

    Before you start

  3. In Third Party Software License, click I Accept to download and install MySQL.

    Third-party software

  4. In Registration, select the registration key you downloaded from the vault.


  5. In Internet Settings, specify how the Provider running on the configuration server connects to Azure Site Recovery over the Internet.

    a. If you want to connect with the proxy that's currently set up on the machine, select Connect to Azure Site Recovery using a proxy server.

    b. If you want the Provider to connect directly, select Connect directly to Azure Site Recovery without a proxy server.

    c. If the existing proxy requires authentication, or if you want to use a custom proxy for the Provider connection, select Connect with custom proxy settings.

    • If you use a custom proxy, you need to specify the address, port, and credentials.
    • If you're using a proxy, you should have already allowed the URLs described in Prerequisites.


  6. In Prerequisites Check, Setup runs a check to make sure that installation can run. If a warning appears about the Global time sync check, verify that the time on the system clock (Date and Time settings) is the same as the time zone.


  7. In MySQL Configuration, create credentials for logging on to the MySQL server instance that is installed.


  8. In Environment Details, select whether you're going to replicate VMware VMs. If you are, then Setup checks that PowerCLI 6.0 is installed.


  9. In Install Location, select where you want to install the binaries and store the cache. The drive you select must have at least 5 GB of disk space available, but we recommend a cache drive with at least 600 GB of free space.

    Install location

  10. In Network Selection, specify the listener (network adapter and SSL port) on which the configuration server sends and receives replication data. Port 9443 is the default port used for sending and receiving replication traffic, but you can modify this port number to suit your environment's requirements. In addition to the port 9443, we also open port 443, which is used by a web server to orchestrate replication operations. Do not use port 443 for sending or receiving replication traffic.

    Network selection

  11. In Summary, review the information and click Install. When installation finishes, a passphrase is generated. You will need this when you enable replication, so copy it and keep it in a secure location.


After registration finishes, the server is displayed on the Settings > Servers blade in the vault.


The configuration server can also be installed from the command line.

Add the account for automatic discovery

  1. On your configuration server, launch CSPSConfigtool.exe. It is available as a shortcut on the desktop and located in the install location\home\svsystems\bin folder.
  2. Click Manage Accounts > Add Account.

    Add account

  3. In Account Details, add the account that will be used for automatic discovery.



    It can take 15 minutes or more for the account name to appear in the portal. To update immediately, click Configuration Servers > server name > Refresh Server.

Connect to VMware servers

Connect to vSphere ESXi hosts or vCenter servers, to discover VMware VMs.

  • If you add the vCenter server or vSphere hosts with an account without administrator privileges on the server, the account needs these privileges enabled:
    • Datacenter, Datastore, Folder, Host, Network, Resource, Virtual machine, vSphere Distributed Switch.
    • The vCenter server needs Storage views permissions.
  • When you add VMware servers, it can take 15 minutes or longer for them to appear in the portal. To allow Azure Site Recovery to discover virtual machines running in your on-premises environment, you need to connect your VMware vCenter Server or vSphere ESXi hosts with Site Recovery.

Select +vCenter to start connecting a VMware vCenter server or a VMware vSphere ESXi host.

  • In Add vCenter, specify a friendly name for the vSphere host or vCenter server, and then specify the IP address or FQDN of the server. Leave the port as 443 unless your VMware servers are configured to listen for requests on a different port. Select the account that is to connect to the VMware vCenter or vSphere ESXi server. Click OK.



    If you're adding the VMware vCenter server or VMware vSphere host with an account that doesn't have administrator privileges on the vCenter or host server, make sure that the account has these privileges enabled: Datacenter, Datastore, Folder, Host, Network, Resource, Virtual machine, and vSphere Distributed Switch. In addition, the VMware vCenter server needs the Storage views privilege enabled.

Site Recovery connects to VMware servers using the specified settings, and discovers VMs.

Set up the target

Before you set up the target environment, check you have an Azure storage account and network

  1. Click Prepare infrastructure > Target, and select the Azure subscription you want to use.
  2. Specify whether your target deployment model is Resource Manager-based, or classic.
  3. Site Recovery checks that you have one or more compatible Azure storage accounts and networks.


  4. If you haven't created a storage account or network, click +Storage account or +Network, to create a Resource Manager account or network inline.

Set up replication settings

Get a quick video overview before you start:

  1. To create a new replication policy, click Site Recovery infrastructure > Replication Policies > +Replication Policy.
  2. In Create replication policy, specify a policy name.
  3. In RPO threshold, specify the RPO limit. This value specifies how often data recovery points are created. An alert is generated if continuous replication exceeds this limit.
  4. In Recovery point retention, specify (in hours) how long the retention window is for each recovery point. Replicated VMs can be recovered to any point in a window. Up to 24 hours retention is supported for machines replicated to premium storage, and 72 hours for standard storage.
  5. In App-consistent snapshot frequency, specify how often (in minutes) recovery points containing application-consistent snapshots will be created. Click OK to create the policy.

    Replication policy

  6. When you create a new policy it's automatically associated with the configuration server. By default, a matching policy is automatically created for failback. For example, if the replication policy is rep-policy then the failback policy will be rep-policy-failback. This policy isn't used until you initiate a failback from Azure.

Plan capacity

  1. Now that you have your basic infrastructure set up you can think about capacity planning, and figure out whether you need additional resources. Learn more.
  2. When you’re done with capacity planning, select Yes in Have you completed capacity planning?

    Capacity planning

Prepare VMs for replication

The Mobility service must be installed on all VMware VMs that you want to replicate. You can install the Mobility service in a number of ways:

  1. Install with a push installation from the process server. You need to prepare VMs to use this method.
  2. Install using deployment tools such as System Center Configuration Manager, or Azure automation DSC.
  3. Install manually.

Learn more

Enable replication

Before you start:

  • Your Azure user account needs to have certain permissions to enable replication of a new virtual machine to Azure.
  • When you add or modify VMs, it can take up to 15 minutes or longer for changes to take effect, and for them to appear in the portal.
  • You can check the last discovered time for VMs in Configuration Servers > Last Contact At.
  • To add VMs without waiting for the scheduled discovery, highlight the configuration server (don’t click it), and click Refresh.
  • If a VM is prepared for push installation, the process server automatically installs the Mobility service when you enable replication.

Exclude disks from replication

By default all disks on a machine are replicated. You can exclude disks from replication. For example you might not want to replicate disks with temporary data, or data that's refreshed each time a machine or application restarts (for example pagefile.sys or SQL Server tempdb).

Replicate VMs

Before you start, watch a quick video overview

  1. Click Step 2: Replicate application > Source.
  2. In Source, select the configuration server.
  3. In Machine type, select Virtual Machines.
  4. In vCenter/vSphere Hypervisor, select the vCenter server that manages the vSphere host, or select the host.
  5. Select the process server. If you haven't created any additional process servers this will be the configuration server. Then click OK.

    Enable replication

  6. In Target, select the subscription and the resource group in which you want to create the failed over VMs. Choose the deployment model that you want to use in Azure (classic or resource management), for the failed over VMs.

  7. Select the Azure storage account you want to use for replicating data. If you don't want to use an account you've already set up, you can create a new one.

  8. Select the Azure network and subnet to which Azure VMs will connect, when they're created after failover. Select Configure now for selected machines, to apply the network setting to all machines you select for protection. Select Configure later to select the Azure network per machine. If you don't want to use an existing network, you can create one.

    Enable replication

  9. In Virtual Machines > Select virtual machines, click and select each machine you want to replicate. You can only select machines for which replication can be enabled. Then click OK.

    Enable replication

  10. In Properties > Configure properties, select the account that will be used by the process server to automatically install the Mobility service on the machine.
  11. By default all disks are replicated. Click All Disks and clear any disks you don't want to replicate. Then click OK. You can set additional VM properties later.

    Enable replication

  12. In Replication settings > Configure replication settings, verify that the correct replication policy is selected. If you modify a policy, changes will be applied to replicating machine, and to new machines.
  13. Enable Multi-VM consistency if you want to gather machines into a replication group, and specify a name for the group. Then click OK. Note that:

    • Machines in replication groups replicate together, and have shared crash-consistent and app-consistent recovery points when they fail over.
    • We recommend that you gather VMs and physical servers together so that they mirror your workloads. Enabling multi-VM consistency can impact workload performance, and should only be used if machines are running the same workload and you need consistency.

    Enable replication

  14. Click Enable Replication. You can track progress of the Enable Protection job in Settings > Jobs > Site Recovery Jobs. After the Finalize Protection job runs the machine is ready for failover.

View and manage VM properties

We recommend that you verify the VM properties, and make any changes you need to.

  1. Click Replicated items >, and select the machine. The Essentials blade shows information about machines settings and status.
  2. In Properties, you can view replication and failover information for the VM.
  3. In Compute and Network > Compute properties, you can specify the Azure VM name and target size. Modify the name to comply with Azure requirements if you need to.
  4. Modify settings for the target network, subnet, and IP address that will be assigned to the Azure VM:

    • You can set the target IP address.

      • If you don't provide an address, the failed over machine will use DHCP.
      • If you set an address that isn't available at failover, failover won't work.
      • The same target IP address can be used for test failover, if the address is available in the test failover network.
    • The number of network adapters is dictated by the size you specify for the target virtual machine:

      • If the number of network adapters on the source machine is the same as, or less than, the number of adapters allowed for the target machine size, then the target will have the same number of adapters as the source.
      • If the number of adapters for the source virtual machine exceeds the number allowed for the target size, then the target size maximum will be used.
      • For example, if a source machine has two network adapters and the target machine size supports four, the target machine will have two adapters. If the source machine has two adapters but the supported target size only supports one then the target machine will have only one adapter.
    • If the virtual machine has multiple network adapters they will all connect to the same network.
    • If the virtual machine has multiple network adapters then the first one shown in the list becomes the Default network adapter in the Azure virtual machine.
  5. In Disks, you can see the VM operating system, and the data disks that will be replicated.

Managed disks

In Compute and Network > Compute properties, you can set "Use managed disks" setting to "Yes" for the VM if you want to attach managed disks to your machine on failover to Azure. Managed disks simplifies disk management for Azure IaaS VMs by managing the storage accounts associated with the VM disks. Learn More about managed disks.

  • Managed disks are created and attached to the virtual machine only on a failover to Azure. On enabling protection, data from on-premises machines will continue to replicate to storage accounts. Managed disks can be created only for virtual machines deployed using the Resource manager deployment model.

  • When you set "Use managed disks" to "Yes", only availability sets in the resource group with "Use managed disks" set to "Yes" would be available for selection. This is because virtual machines with managed disks can only be part of availability sets with "Use managed disks" property set to "Yes". Make sure that you create availability sets with "Use managed disks" property set based on your intent to use managed disks on failover. Likewise, when you set "Use managed disks" to "No", only availability sets in the resource group with "Use managed disks" property set to "No" would be available for selection. Learn more about managed disks and availability sets.


    If the storage account used for replication was encrypted with Storage Service Encryption at any point in time, creation of managed disks during failover will fail. You can either set "Use managed disks" to "No" and retry failover or disable protection for the virtual machine and protect it to a storage account which did not have Storage service encryption enabled at any point in time. Learn more about Storage service encryption and managed disks.

Run a test failover

After you've set everything up, run a test failover to make sure everything's working as expected. Get a quick video overview before you start

  1. To fail over a single machine, in Settings > Replicated Items, click the VM > +Test Failover icon.

    Test failover

  2. To fail over a recovery plan, in Settings > Recovery Plans, right-click the plan > Test Failover. To create a recovery plan, follow these instructions.

  3. In Test Failover, select the Azure network to which Azure VMs will be connected after failover occurs.

  4. Click OK to begin the failover. You can track progress by clicking on the VM to open its properties, or on the Test Failover job in vault name > Settings > Jobs > Site Recovery jobs.

  5. After the failover completes, you should also be able to see the replica Azure machine appear in the Azure portal > Virtual Machines. You should make sure that the VM is the appropriate size, that it's connected to the appropriate network, and that it's running.

  6. If you prepared for connections after failover, you should be able to connect to the Azure VM.

  7. Once you're done, click on Cleanup test failover on the recovery plan. In Notes, record and save any observations associated with the test failover. This will delete the VMs that were created during test failover.

Learn more about test failovers.

VMware account permissions

Site Recovery needs access to VMware for the process server to automatically discover VMs, and for failover and failback of VMs.

  • Migrate: If you only want to migrate VMware VMs to Azure, without ever failing them back, you can use a VMware account with a read-only role. Such a role can run failover, but can't shut down protected source machines. This isn't necessary for migration.
  • Replicate/Recover: If you want to deploy full replication (replicate, failover, failback) the account must be able to run operations such as creating and removing disks, powering on VMs etc.
  • Automatic discovery: At least a read-only account is required.
Task Required account/role Permissions Details
Process server automatically discovers VMware VMs You need at least a read-only user Data Center object –> Propagate to Child Object, role=Read-only User assigned at datacenter level, and has access to all the objects in the datacenter.

To restrict access, assign the No access role with the Propagate to child object, to the child objects (vSphere hosts, datastores, VMs and networks).
Failover You need at least a read-only user Data Center object –> Propagate to Child Object, role=Read-only User assigned at datacenter level, and has access to all the objects in the datacenter.

To restrict access, assign the No access role with the Propagate to child object to the child objects (vSphere hosts, datastores, VMs and networks).

Useful for migration purposes, but not full replication, failover, failback.
Failover and failback We suggest you create a role (Azure_Site_Recovery) with the required permissions, and then assign the role to a VMware user or group Data Center object –> Propagate to Child Object, role=Azure_Site_Recovery

Datastore -> Allocate space, browse datastore, low-level file operations, remove file, update virtual machine files

Network -> Network assign

Resource -> Assign VM to resource pool, migrate powered off VM, migrate powered on VM

Tasks -> Create task, update task

Virtual machine -> Configuration

Virtual machine -> Interact -> answer question, device connection, configure CD media, configure floppy media, power off, power on, VMware tools install

Virtual machine -> Inventory -> Create, register, unregister

Virtual machine -> Provisioning -> Allow virtual machine download, allow virtual machine files upload

Virtual machine -> Snapshots -> Remove snapshots
User assigned at datacenter level, and has access to all the objects in the datacenter.

To restrict access, assign the No access role with the Propagate to child object, to the child objects (vSphere hosts, datastores, VMs and networks).

Next steps

After you get replication up and running, when an outage occurs you fail over to Azure, and Azure VMs are created from the replicated data. You can then access workloads and apps in Azure, until you fail back to your primary location when it returns to normal operations.

  • Learn more about different types of failovers, and how to run them.
  • If you're migrating machines rather than replicating and failing back, read more.
  • Read about failback, to fail back and replicate Azure VMs back to the primary on-premises site.

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