Discover and assess on-premises VMware VMs for migration to Azure

The Azure Migrate services assesses on-premises workloads for migration to Azure.

In this tutorial, you learn how to:

  • Create an account that Azure Migrate uses to discover on-premises VMs
  • Create an Azure Migrate project.
  • Set up an on-premises collector virtual machine (VM), to discover on-premises VMware VMs for assessment.
  • Group VMs and create an assessment.

If you don't have an Azure subscription, create a free account before you begin.


  • VMware: The VMs that you plan to migrate must be managed by vCenter Server running version 5.5, 6.0, or 6.5. Additionally, you need one ESXi host running version 5.0 or higher to deploy the collector VM.


Support for Hyper-V is on the roadmap and will be enabled soon.

  • vCenter Server account: You need a read-only account to access the vCenter Server. Azure Migrate uses this account to discover the on-premises VMs.
  • Permissions: On the vCenter Server, you need permissions to create a VM by importing a file in .OVA format.
  • Statistics settings: The statistics settings for the vCenter Server should be set to level 3 before you start deployment. If lower than level 3, assessment will work, but performance data for storage and network isn't collected. The size recommendations in this case will be done based on performance data for CPU and memory and configuration data for disk and network adapters.

Create an account for VM discovery

Azure Migrate needs access to VMware servers to automatically discover VMs for assessment. Create a VMware account with the following properties. You specify this account during Azure Migrate setup.

  • User type: At least a read-only user
  • Permissions: Data Center object –> Propagate to Child Object, role=Read-only
  • Details: 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).

Log in to the Azure portal

Log in to the Azure portal.

Create a project

  1. In the Azure portal, click Create a resource.
  2. Search for Azure Migrate, and select the service Azure Migrate in the search results. Then click Create.
  3. Specify a project name, and the Azure subscription for the project.
  4. Create a new resource group.
  5. Specify the location in which to create the project, then click Create. You can only create an Azure Migrate project in the West Central US or East US region. However, you can still plan your migration for any target Azure location. The location specified for the project is only used to store the metadata gathered from on-premises VMs.

    Azure Migrate

Download the collector appliance

Azure Migrate creates an on-premises VM known as the collector appliance. This VM discovers on-premises VMware VMs, and sends metadata about them to the Azure Migrate service. To set up the collector appliance, you download an .OVA file, and import it to the on-premises vCenter server to create the VM.

  1. In the Azure Migrate project, click Getting Started > Discover & Assess > Discover Machines.
  2. In Discover machines, click Download, to download the .OVA file.
  3. In Copy project credentials, copy the project ID and key. You need these when you configure the collector.

    Download .ova file

Verify the collector appliance

Check that the .OVA file is secure, before you deploy it.

  1. On the machine to which you downloaded the file, open an administrator command window.
  2. Run the following command to generate the hash for the OVA:
    • C:\>CertUtil -HashFile <file_location> [Hashing Algorithm]
    • Example usage: C:\>CertUtil -HashFile C:\AzureMigrate\AzureMigrate.ova SHA256
  3. The generated hash should match these settings.

    For OVA version

    Algorithm Hash value
    MD5 fb11ca234ed1f779a61fbb8439d82969
    SHA1 5bee071a6334b6a46226ec417f0d2c494709a42e
    SHA256 b92ad637e7f522c1d7385b009e7d20904b7b9c28d6f1592e8a14d88fbdd3241c

    For OVA version

    Algorithm Hash value
    MD5 7326020e3b83f225b794920b7cb421fc
    SHA1 a2d8d496fdca4bd36bfa11ddf460602fa90e30be
    SHA256 f3d9809dd977c689dda1e482324ecd3da0a6a9a74116c1b22710acc19bea7bb2

    For OVA version

    Algorithm Hash value
    MD5 71139e24a532ca67669260b3062c3dad
    SHA1 1bdf0666b3c9c9a97a07255743d7c4a2f06d665e
    SHA256 6b886d23b24c543f8fc92ff8426cd782a77efb37750afac397591bda1eab8656

    For OVA version

    Algorithm Hash value
    MD5 cefd96394198b92870d650c975dbf3b8
    SHA1 4367a1801cf79104b8cd801e4d17b70596481d6f
    SHA256 fda59f076f1d7bd3ebf53c53d1691cc140c7ed54261d0dc4ed0b14d7efef0ed9

    For the OVA version

    Algorithm Hash value
    MD5 afbae5a2e7142829659c21fd8a9def3f
    SHA1 1751849c1d709cdaef0b02a7350834a754b0e71d
    SHA256 d093a940aebf6afdc6f616626049e97b1f9f70742a094511277c5f59eacc41ad

Create the collector VM

Import the downloaded file to the vCenter Server.

  1. In the vSphere Client console, click File > Deploy OVF Template.

    Deploy OVF

  2. In the Deploy OVF Template Wizard > Source, specify the location of the .ova file.

  3. In Name and Location, specify a friendly name for the collector VM, and the inventory object in which the VM will be hosted.
  4. In Host/Cluster, specify the host or cluster on which the collector VM will run.
  5. In storage, specify the storage destination for the collector VM.
  6. In Disk Format, specify the disk type and size.
  7. In Network Mapping, specify the network to which the collector VM will connect. The network needs internet connectivity, to send metadata to Azure.
  8. Review and confirm the settings, then click Finish.

Run the collector to discover VMs

  1. In the vSphere Client console, right-click the VM > Open Console.
  2. Provide the language, time zone, and password preferences for the appliance.
  3. On the desktop, click the Run collector shortcut.
  4. In the Azure Migrate Collector, open Set up prerequisites.

    • Accept the license terms, and read the third-party information.
    • The collector checks that the VM has internet access.
    • If the VM accesses the internet via a proxy, click Proxy settings, and specify the proxy address and listening port. Specify credentials if the proxy needs authentication.


      The proxy address needs to be entered in the form http://ProxyIPAddress or http://ProxyFQDN. Only HTTP proxy is supported.

    • The collector checks that the collector service is running. The service is installed by default on the collector VM.

    • Download and install the VMware PowerCLI.
  5. In Specify vCenter Server details, do the following:

    • Specify the name (FQDN) or IP address of the vCenter server.
    • In User name and Password, specify the read-only account credentials that the collector will use to discover VMs on the vCenter server.
    • In Collection scope, select a scope for VM discovery. The collector can only discover VMs within the specified scope. Scope can be set to a specific folder, datacenter, or cluster. It shouldn't contain more than 1000 VMs.
  6. In Specify migration project, specify the Azure Migrate project ID and key that you copied from the portal. If didn't copy them, open the Azure portal from the collector VM. In the project Overview page, click Discover Machines, and copy the values.

  7. In View collection progress, monitor discovery, and check that metadata collected from the VMs is in scope. The collector provides an approximate discovery time.


The collector only supports "English (United States)" as the operating system language and the collector interface language. Support for more languages is coming soon.

Verify VMs in the portal

Discovery time depends on how many VMs you are discovering. Typically, for 100 VMs, after the collector finishes running it takes around an hour for discovery to finish.

  1. In the Migration Planner project, click Manage > Machines.
  2. Check that the VMs you want to discover appear in the portal.

Create and view an assessment

After VMs are discovered, you group them and create an assessment.

  1. In the project Overview page, click +Create assessment.
  2. Click View all to review the assessment properties.
  3. Create the group, and specify a group name.
  4. Select the machines that you want to add to the group.
  5. Click Create Assessment, to create the group and the assessment.
  6. After the assessment is created, view it in Overview > Dashboard.
  7. Click Export assessment, to download it as an Excel file.

Assessment details

An assessment includes information about whether the on-premises VMs are compatible for Azure, what would be the right VM size for running the VM in Azure and the estimated monthly Azure costs.

Assessment report

Azure readiness

The Azure readiness view in the assessment shows the readiness status of each VM. Depending on the properties of the VM, each VM can be marked as:

  • Ready for Azure
  • Conditionally ready for Azure
  • Not ready for Azure
  • Readiness unknown

For VMs that are ready, Azure Migrate recommends a VM size in Azure. The size recommendation done by Azure Migrate depends on the sizing criterion specified in the assessment properties. If the sizing criterion is performance-based sizing, the size recommendation is done by considering the performance history of the VMs. If the sizing criterion is 'as on-premises', the recommendation is done by looking at the size of the VM on-premises (as-is sizing). Utilization data is not considered in this case. Learn more about how sizing is done in Azure Migrate.

For VMs that aren't ready or conditionally ready for Azure, Azure Migrate explains the readiness issues, and provides remediation steps.

The VMs for which Azure Migrate cannot identify Azure readiness (due to data unavailability) are marked as readiness unknown.

In addition to Azure readiness and sizing, Azure Migrate also suggests tools that you can use for the migrating the VM. This requires a deeper discovery of on the on-premises environment. Learn more about how you can do a deeper discovery by installing agents on the on-premises machines. If the agents are not installed on the on-premises machines, lift and shift migration is suggested using Azure Site Recovery. If the agents are installed on the on-premises machine, Azure Migrate looks at the processes running inside the machine and identifies whether the machine is a database machine or not. If the machine is a database machine, Azure Database Migration Service is suggested, else Azure Site Recovery is suggested as the migration tool.

Assessment readiness

Monthly cost estimate

This view shows the total compute and storage cost of running the VMs in Azure along with the details for each machine. Cost estimates are calculated considering the size recommendations done by Azure Migrate for a machine, its disks, and the assessment properties.


The cost estimation provided by Azure Migrate is for running the on-premises VMs as Azure Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) VMs. Azure Migrate does not consider any Platform as a service (PaaS) or Software as a service (SaaS) costs.

Estimated monthly costs for compute and storage are aggregated for all VMs in the group.

Assessment VM cost

Confidence rating

Each assessment in Azure Migrate is associated with a confidence rating that ranges from 1 star to 5 star (1 star being the lowest and 5 star being the highest). The confidence rating is assigned to an assessment based on the availability of data points needed to compute the assessment. The confidence rating of an assessment helps you estimate the reliability of the size recommendations provided by Azure Migrate.

Confidence rating is useful when you are doing performance-based sizing as Azure Migrate may not have sufficient data points to do utilization-based sizing. For as on-premises sizing, the confidence rating is always 5-star as Azure Migrate has all the data points it needs to size the VM.

For performance-based sizing of the VM, Azure Migrate needs the utilization data for CPU and memory. Also, for each disk attached to the VM, it needs the read/write IOPS and throughput. Similarly for each network adapter attached to the VM, Azure Migrate needs the network in/out to do performance-based sizing. If any of the above utilization numbers are not available in vCenter Server, the size recommendation done by Azure Migrate may not be reliable. Depending on the percentage of data points available, the confidence rating for the assessment is provided:

Availability of data points Confidence rating
0%-20% 1 Star
21%-40% 2 Star
41%-60% 3 Star
61%-80% 4 Star
81%-100% 5 Star

An assessment may not have all the data points available due to one of the following reasons:

  • The statistics setting in vCenter Server is not set to level 3 and the assessment has performance-based sizing as the sizing criterion. If the statistics setting in vCenter Server is lower than level 3, performance data for disk and network is not collected from vCenter Server. In this case, the recommendation provided by Azure Migrate for disk and network is not utilization-based. For storage, Azure Migrate recommends standard disks as without considering the IOPS/throughput of the disk, Azure Migrate cannot identify if the disk will need a premium disk in Azure.
  • The statistics setting in vCenter Server was set to level 3 for a shorter duration, before kicking off the discovery. For example, let's consider the scenario where you change the statistics setting level to 3 today and kick off the discovery using the collector appliance tomorrow (after 24 hours). If you are creating an assessment for one day, you have all the data points and the confidence rating of the assessment would be 5 star. But if you are changing the performance duration in the assessment properties to one month, the confidence rating goes down as the disk and network performance data for the last one month would not be available. If you would like to consider the performance data of last one month, it is recommended that you keep the vCenter Server statistics setting to level 3 for one month before you kick off the discovery.
  • Few VMs were shut down during the period for which the assessment is calculated. If any VMs were powered off for some duration, vCenter Server will not have the performance data for that period.
  • Few VMs were created in between the period for which the assessment is calculated. For example, if you are creating an assessment for the performance history of last one month, but few VMs were created in the environment only a week ago. In such cases, the performance history of the new VMs will not be there for the entire duration.


If the confidence rating of any assessment is below 4 Stars, we recommend you to change the vCenter Server statistics settings level to 3, wait for the duration that you want to consider for assessment (1 day/1 week/1 month) and then do discovery and assessment. If the preceding cannot be done, performance-based sizing may not be reliable and it is recommended to switch to as on-premises sizing by changing the assessment properties.

Next steps