Migration refers to the process of moving virtual machines. VMware Cloud on AWS supports a number of different migration scenarios.

Types of Migration

There are three basic types of migration.

migration with vMotion
Migration with vMotion allows moving a powered on virtual machine from one host and/or datastore to another. Migration with vMotion is also referred to as "hot migration" or "live migration". Migration with vMotion is the best option for migrating small workloads without any downtime during migration.
bulk migration
You can perform bulk migration using the VMware Hybrid Cloud Extension (HCX). Bulk migration uses host-based replication to move large scale VMs between on-premises data centers and cloud SDDCs with low downtime. To reduce downtime, the source VM remains powered-on during the replication and then is powered off and booted on the destination immediately after migration or during a scheduled window.
cold migration
Cold migration is moving a powered-off virtual machine from one host and/or datastore to another. Cold migration is a good option when you can tolerate some virtual machine downtime during the migration process.

Migration within SDDC and Hybrid Migration Use Cases

Migration within SDDC refers to migrating virtual machines within your VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC. Cloud migration does not require additional configuration of your SDDC. The following cloud migration use cases are supported:
  • cold migration and migration with vMotion between hosts within the same cluster within an SDDC
  • cold migration and migration with vMotion between hosts in different clusters within the same SDDC
Hybrid migration refers to migrating virtual machines between an on-premises data center and a VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC. Hybrid migration use cases require additional prerequisites and configuration to ensure both compatibility of the virtual machines and appropriate network bandwidth and latency to support the migration. The following hybrid migration use cases are supported:
  • Migration with vMotion from on-premises data center to cloud SDDC
  • Migration with vMotion from cloud SDDC to on-premises data center (with some restrictions for VMs previously migrated from on-premises data centers)
  • Cold migration from on-premises data center to cloud SDDC and from cloud SDDC to on-premises data center.
  • Using HCX, bulk migration, migration with vMotion, and cold migration from the on-premises data center to the cloud SDDC and back. See the section "Migrating Virtual Machines" in https://hcx.vmware.com/content/docs/vmware-hcx-user-manual.pdf for more information on migration with HCX.

Restrictions on VMs Migrated with vMotion

The restrictions on migration with vMotion that apply to VMs previously migrated from on-premises data centers are as follows:

  • VMs that use standard virtual switches for networking cannot be migrated back to an on-premises data center after being migrated to the cloud SDDC.
  • Any VM that has been power-cycled in the cloud SDDC can only be migrated back to an on-premises host or cluster with the Broadwell chipset or EVC mode.
  • If your on-premises hosts haven't been patched to address vulnerability to side channel analysis due to speculative execution (also referred to as the Spectre Variant 2 vulnerability), this may affect vMotion compatibility as shown in Table 1. To find the correct patch for your on-premises hosts, see https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/52245. All hosts in VMware Cloud on AWS SDDCs have been patched.
Table 1. vMotion Compatibility Effects of Spectre patch
On-premises Host Processor Family and Patch Status Virtual Machine Hardware Version Has the VM been power-cycled in VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC? vMotion from On-premises to VMware Cloud on AWS vMotion from VMware Cloud on AWS to On-premises
Broadwell (SPECTRE patched) < 9 No Supported Supported
Yes Supported Supported
9-13 No Supported Supported
Yes Supported Supported
Broadwell (Not SPECTRE patched) < 9 No Supported Not supported
Yes Supported Not supported
9-13 No Supported Supported
Yes Supported Not supported
Non-Broadwell < 9 No Not supported Supported
Yes Not supported Not supported
9-13 No Supported Supported
Yes Supported Not supported
Note: You can find the Virtual Machine Hardware Version on the Summary tab for the virtual machine. You can find the host processor type on the Summary tab for the host. For a list of processor types in the Broadwell processor family, see https://ark.intel.com/products/codename/38530/Broadwell.

These restrictions don't apply to cold migration.

Migration Options

You have different options for how you carry out migration depending on how many virtual machines you want to migrate and what type of interface you want to use.

Migration Type Interface type Use:
migration with vMotion UI
  • For single VMs: vSphere Client (requires Hybrid Linked Mode configuration)
  • HCX
command-line/automation
  • API
  • PowerCLI
  • HCX
bulk migration UI or command-line/automation HCX
cold migration UI
  • For single VMs: vSphere Client (requires Hybrid Linked Mode configuration)
  • HCX
command-line/automation
  • API
  • PowerCLI
  • HCX

Summary of Supported Configurations for Hybrid Migration

The following table summarizes the supported configurations for hybrid migration. For detailed requirements and configuration instructions, see Hybrid Cold Migration Checklist and Hybrid Migration with vMotion Checklist.
Migration Type On-premises vSphere Version Network Connectivity VDS version on-premises
migration with vMotion vSphere 6.0u3 AWS Direct Connect with private virtual interface and L2 VPN VMware Distributed Switch version 6.0
vSphere 6.5 patch d AWS Direct Connect with private virtual interface and L2 VPN VMware Distributed Switch version 6.0
VMware Distributed Switch version 6.5 (requires upgrade of distributed switches in VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC)
vSphere 5.5, 6.0, and 6.5 Internet or AWS Direct Connect and L2 VPN created through HCX Any VMware Distributed Switch, vSphere standard swithc, or Cisco Nexus 1000v
bulk migration vSphere 5.0, 5.1, 5.5, 6.0, and 6.5 Internet or AWS Direct Connect and L2 VPN created through HCX Any VMware Distributed Switch, vSphere standard switch, or Cisco Nexus 1000v
cold migration vSphere 6.0u3 AWS Direct Connect or IPsec VPN VMware Distributed Switch version 6.0
vSphere 6.5 patch d AWS Direct Connect or IPsec VPN VMware Distributed Switch version 6.0 or 6.5
vSphere 5.5, 6.0, and 6.5 Internet or AWS Direct Connect and L2 VPN created through HCX Any VMware Distributed Switch, vSphere standard switch, or Cisco Nexus 1000v