Monday, December 2, 2019

Azure Migrate – Frequently asked questions – not easily answered

12 min to read.


Migration are not new to humans. Migrations are happening since early days of human history. Almost every person on planet earth have migrated one or more times in their life. In today's world I see people are migrating for their Love and Marriages. It is mostly boys who migrate for their love and mostly girls migrate after their marriage. Love and Marriage both are complex! 

When you say you have done Love Marriage - that is a deadly complex combination!

In technology world also, migrations are not new. Migrations of applications is fundamental work to achieve core motive of migration – Betterment.

Workloads / applications will be going through Azure migration. Questions related to Azure migrate are unique and I see many enterprises get stuck just because they are not able to find the right answer.
This blog post dedicated to all those “real world frequently asked Azure migrate questions - not easily answered”.

I am strong believer in Diversity and Inclusion therefore - This FAQ is suitable for people who knows Azure and who don’t know Azure yet!

Lets go!

Note – This is second blog in the popular series of Azure VM Real world frequently asked questions – not easily answered.

Azure Migrate

I just love the Azure Migrate engineering team. They are really awesome guys and most talented. In technology field, believe it or not “Migrations are always complex”. Azure Migrate engineering team is making cloud migration tasks so simple with their hard work and dedication. Really impressed!

Azure migrate is fantastic tool to cater to all of your migration needs. The scope and scenario coverage is really awesome. Below are the tools that are present/ integrated in Azure Migrate which can be used for migration based on your scenario –

Below are the workload types supported by the Azure Migrate –
       1.    Servers – Virtualized, physical, other clouds to Azure
2.      Databases – almost all, Refer below screenshot in related questions below
3.      Data – Migrate to Hot, Cool and Archive tier of Azure Storage using Databox, Import/ Export
4.      Web applications – Migrate to Azure App Service
5.      Virtual Desktops – VDI migrations to Windows Virtual Desktop

I am not going to explain “what is Azure migrate?” We directly dive into questions in next section. As of today I have curated list of around 23+ questions based on experience which are other than official FAQ document

If you have any question that is still not answered, use “Contact Me” and I shall get answer for you related to Azure Migration. That’s a promise!

Can I perform assessment of the Physical machines/ Physical hardware using Azure Migrate?

Yes, starting from Nov 2019 you can perform the assessment of Physical machines using Azure Migrate. This feature was launched in Ignite 2019.

I have my on premises VMs data collected in CSV. Can I do assessment directly using this CSV in Azure Migrate?

Yes, However You can not perform assessment using YOUR OWN CSV. You will need the CSV in the format which Azure migrate assessment can understand. Refer to below screenshot to download the CSV template to create CSV which can be understood by Azure Migrate. This feature is also known as “import based assessment in Azure migrate”.

I want to perform assessment of Hyper V and VMware both. Can I use the same Azure Migrate project? Or I need different Azure migrate project to be created on Azure?

You can use the same azure Migrate project for any type of assessment.

Is there a limit how many times I can download Azure appliance?

No. What make people think such type of questions is a mystery.

Does Azure Migrate uses Azure Site Recovery behind the scene?

May be. But how does this matter to you for migration? Going forward the difference in ASR and Azure Migrate is clear.

For any DR needs use ASR!

For any migration needs use Azure Migrate! Period.

Can I migrate Windows server 2008/ 2008 R2 and SQL Server 2008/ 2008 R2 to Azure Stack? Do I have to use Azure Migrate?

Yes, you can migrate 2008 End of Support workloads to Azure Stack. When you migrate End of Support workloads to Azure Stack, you get extended security support.

For migration to Azure stack you need to use Storage migration service which is part of Windows Admin center.

What all Database migration scenarios are possible with Azure Database migration service [DMS]?

Best way is always to use Azure portal and see the “Create” page for latest information as below –

Can we perform the assessment of AWS RDS to SQL Azure DB?

Yes, use Database Migration Assistant. Refer below screenshot –

If I migrate SQL Server to SQL Azure Database PaaS, my user defined stored procedures will be supported?

Yes. Sql Azure Database PaaS do support user defined stored procedures. Refer for more details -

Can we migrate from SQL VM to MySQL PaaS on Azure using DMS?


Can I Assess AWS VMs using Azure Migrate?

Yes, treat them as Physical and do the assessment. Refer – how to setup Physical server appliance.

Disclaimer – I have not tried it yet. If you take this approach then let me know your findings. I will be happy to share your experience on this blog and you would be famous. This is lifetime opportunity!

Which one we should use? Agent based dependency visualization or agentless dependency visualization?

Agents are hated everywhere. Agentless is true love!

Note – Nov 2019 – Agentless dependency visualization is supported for VMware only as of today.
So, if you have Hyper V VMs then use Agent based dependency visualization. If you have VMware VMs then perform agentless dependency visualization.

I want to perform the dependency visualization of Hyper V VMs. All the VMs are not connected to internet so how can I collect dependency data to Azure Migrate Project?

The Dependency data is collected and stored in Log Analytics. Azure Migrate project will read this data from Log Analytics and show awesome graphs/ visual pictures. So essentially for your Hyper V VMs, you need connectivity to Azure Log Analytics which 443 port outbound. AS you can’t open the 443 outbound to every VM on Hyper V hosts the solution is to use Azure Log Analytics Gateway. 

So you install all the agents on your VMs and have the dependency data collected on Azure Log Analytics gateway deployed on premises on Hyper V. Then Log Analytics gateway connect to internet/ Log Analytics on Azure using Proxy server present on premises. Sample illustration of the possible architecture Is shown below –

In the diagram below I show VMware VMs but same construct can be used for Hyper V too. Remember this is applicable only when you perform AGENT Based Dependency mapping. As of today for VMware you can perform Agent Less  and that is the recommended approach for VMware.

What is best way to deploy dependency agents in bulk on many servers?

Remember – Dependency agent will be required only on Hyper V now until Microsoft releases agentless for Hyper V as well [not sure if they have plans, but we can add our voice to].

What if I use Server Migration tool only instead of DMS for Database server migration?

Certainly you can do that. No harm in it. However using Server Migration for DB migration will create same OS and SQL version based server. So if you have Windows 2008 then on Azure Windows 2008 VM will be created when you do actual migration.

If you use DMS then it offers you to go in “version free”, “no patching” required database options like SQL MI. If you are using OSS on premise like MySQL then DMs offers you to migrate to Azure MySQL PaaS. Moving to PaaS will not be an option for Server Migration.

I am having Linked Servers [DB Link] in my SQL. Can DMS migrate such database to PaaS?

If you are migrating to SQL server on Azure VM then everything will work as is, assuming you have connectivity to other Linked Server instances.

If you are migrating to SQL Azure DB PaaS then from DMS perspective the references in schema gets migrated. You will have to create/ migrate these linked servers on the target where supported.

Note -  As of today SQL MI support Linked Server but only to SQL not to any other DB like Oracle etc.

Does Azure Migrate support Windows Server Failover Cluster [WSFC] migration to Azure?

If you have shared disks in WSFC then migration is not supported currently. If you know a way to convert shared disk to separate disks, you can use Azure Migrate.

Does Azure Migrate support migration to Availability zones?

As of today Azure Migrate support migration to Azure Availability Sets which you can configure on Migrate screen. There might be roadmap to enable this feature. As soon as it is launched, I will update required details on this question.

Do I need to pay for Azure Migrate Appliance OS license cost?

Microsoft will love it if you pay! However honestly there is no need. The Azure Migrate Appliance comes with trial version of 180 days that is 6 months! This time is good enough for doing the assessment/ discovery. If you are not able to perform the discovery and assessment during this time, then I would say you are not ready for migration!

Just kidding, once you end up using 6 months of trial license, just delete the appliance and re-download again from Discovery page of Azure Migrate project; and then re-create the appliance. Because you never save the discovery, assessment data on the appliance. All the data is stored back onto Azure Migrate project present under your Azure subscription. You can assume Appliance just as a facilitator to collect the discovery and assessment data.

Do you support migration of AWS EC2 ubuntu to Azure VM?

Yes of course. Make sure you treat AWS VMs as Physical and then migrate to Azure. Also, If it is AWS Tuned Kernel then you need to migrate to stock general kernel and then migrate to Azure.

The Data migration Assessment tool [DMA] can do the assessment of Database. It has target options as either SQL Managed Instance or SQL Azure Database PaaS. Do we offer assessment using DMA for SQL Server VM on Azure?

If you have SQL Server running on VM on-premises then it is always 100% compatible to run on SQL Server VM on Azure. You don’t need any assessment to check compatibility for SQL on Azure VM. Don’t waste time in assessment for SQL server on premises to SQL Server VM on Azure and simply migrate quickly.

I have Hyper V Host with Windows server 2008. Can I use Azure Migrate?

If you see the pre-requisites documentation, Azure Migrate appliance is supported on Hyper V host having Windows server 2012 R2 and above. So in this case you can treat your Hyper V host having OS below Windows Server 2012, 2008, 2008 R2 as physical and then migrate VMs to Azure.

Same approach should work in my opinion if you have VMware non supported version for Azure Migrate appliance.

Can I export Azure dependency data to CSV?

Yes, this is supported for agent based dependency mapping. You need to use Azure Monitor queries to get your data exported to CSV. Refer this document -

For Agentless dependency mapping export to CSV, as of now roadmap is unknown. Add your voice on

Can I use new Azure Private Link to transfer my on-premises migration replication data over Express Route?    

As of today Azure Private Link is not supported for Azure Migrate. You have to use Azure Express Route Microsoft peering to transfer your replication data from on-premises to Azure.

I have 2008, 2008R2 OS and also want to upgrade to 2016/ latest OS. What is recommended approach to perform the in place OS upgrade? Before migration or after migration?

My recommendation is to do an in-place upgrade on-premises before migration, test sufficiently till every aspect of the application/ workload you see working fine and then proceed with migration.

I am having applications that are tightly coupled, dependent on Windows server 2008/ SQL Server 2008 machines. I can’t upgrade OS to latest 2012/ 2016/2019. What are the options I have?

You should migrate these servers then to Azure using Azure Migrate. Once you migrate to Azure you get free extended security updates and support for 3 years. During these 3 years modernize your workloads/ application to support on latest OS/ remove OS dependency completely.


Hope this article helped you to get answers you are looking for. If you have any such questions but not answered; add your comments and I will try to give answers for them. The topic must be strictly for Azure Migrate. I can’t answer your love life queries. Be specific!!

Happy questioning!!

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  1. Migration is not an easy procedure. Thanks for the detailed explanation of Azure migrate principles.

  2. Does azure migrate take into account on premise disk constraints when performing an assessment? A customer recently asked this and I can’t find an answer

  3. Does azure migrate take into account on premise disk constraints when performing an assessment?

  4. Does azure migrate take into account on premise disk constraints when performing an assessment?