How to migrate away from VMware

How to move to an alternate platform in the wake of the Broadcom acquisition

In the realm of virtual machines (VMs), VMware once held the crown, recognised widely as one of the best choices for operating VMs within a virtualised environment that one still had control over (as apposed to cloud-based solutions like Amazon EC2 and Azure).  However, the landscape has since evolved, offering a plethora of alternatives for VM deployment.  Cloud-based solutions like Amazon EC2 and Azure Virtual Machines have still continued, however other options have emerged or grown in popularity, including open-source technologies such as KVM and proprietary systems like Hyper-V.

Amidst this diversification, concerns over VMware's future, particularly following its acquisition by Broadcom in late 2023, have prompted many to reconsider their virtualisation platform of choice.  Questions about product direction, licensing terms, and pricing have fueled interest in migration strategies away from VMware's offerings. In fact, we have spoken to many of our customers about this and have reached out to discuss what solutions would work best for them and our plans amidst this news.

For customers of Micron21, we'll be handling the migration from VMware to our new mCloud platfrom internally, however we thought we would put out a "VMware migration guide" for others to assist with this transition, should they be migrating their own environments away from VMware.


Why consider migrating away from VMware?

For some, the motivation may stem from seeking more cost-effective or scalable alternatives.  For others, it could be the uncertainty surrounding VMware's future post-Broadcom acquisition.  VMware's technology still remains robust and reliable for hosting modern applications, however, for most, the sudden changes and large pricing changes have left them wanting to move to alternative platforms.

Here at Micron21, whilst we'll still be running VMware in some form for the customers that require it, we now have our new mCloud platform as our alternative to VMware. This new mCloud platform offers some large advantages over our previous VMware environment, whilst maintaining the high availability (HA) and data-protection features it was known for.

Some of the new features offered are due to the new way the environment is structured.  For example, with storage being provided via an entirely separate storage cluster (rather than VMware's hyperconverged approach) it's able to be sold independently of virtual machines.  This allows all customers to use cloud storage, regardless of their choice of cloud platform, and for whatever their needs are.  And that's not all!  Due to compute and storage now being provided as separate clusters, customers are now able to bring their own compute and hypervisors (such as Hyper-V) whilst still being able to benefit from that fault-tolerant and infinitely-scalable storage!

Regardless of the platform that you end up choosing though, the process you will need to follow to safely migrate your systems will need to include several common steps, which are covered below:


How to migrate away from VMware

At a high level, migrating from VMware involves several key steps that starts with backups, followed by setup of the new environment; then the transferring of data; and process ends with final configuration and testing.

However, let's break down each of these steps in more detail:

  1. Backup of VMware VMs and Resources
    Initiate the migration by backing up all VMware virtual machines and associated resources, like virtual data storage. This precaution is vital for recovery in case of migration failures. VMware VMs can typically be backed up through snapshots, a feature also available for some other VMware products. Remember to shut down VMs before snapshotting for optimal restoration later, and ensure the snapshot's virtual disk files (usually in vmdk format) are compatible with your new platform.
  2. Preparation of the Alternative Environment
    Prepare your new environment, which may involve setting up infrastructure for platforms like KVM or Hyper-V, or simply accessing cloud-based services where installation isn't required.
  3. Transferring VM Images and Data
    This next step involves migrating VMware disk images and data to the new platform.
  4. Disk Image Conversion
    Should the new platform not support vmdk files, convert your disk images to a compatible format using tools like qemu-img, facilitating their use with different hypervisors or platforms such as Hyper-V.
  5. Creation of New VMs
    With the disk images converted, start creating new VMs to replace the existing VMware ones. This step can often be semi-automated with migration tools or scripts that replicate VMware configurations in the new environment.
  6. Environment Configuration
    Adapt your new platform's settings to mirror the VMware environment’s networking, storage, security policies, and more. While some aspects may be automated, expect to manually fine-tune the setup to achieve parity with VMware.
  7. Redirecting Traffic
    With the new setup operational, redirect traffic from the VMware environment to the new VMs, effectively decommissioning the old system.
  8. VMware Decommission
    Confirm the new environment's capability to handle your workloads before fully shutting down and decommissioning VMware resources.

Want us to migrate your systems for you?

The Micron21 support team possesses the necessary expertise to facilitate a smooth and swift migration from your current ESXi, Hyper-V, or other virtualisation platforms to mCloud.

Additionally, our team offers guidance in specifying, constructing, and maintaining all storage and compute resources, whether you're utilising our own mCloud platform, or alternatively setting up OpenStack, Promox, ZFS, Ceph, or any other cloud solution.


Want to know more?

We are committed to assisting end users, hosting and service providers, resellers and anyone seeking to move away from VMware as a result of Broadcom’s acquisition and strategy.  We have dedicated, onsite support and solution architects that can assist, including migration away from your current platform.

If you are interested in migrating over to our mCloud platform, please reach out to us via the form at the top of this page. We’d love to have a conversation and assist you on this next stage of your cloud platform journey.

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