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On-premises VMware VM to IBM Cloud VPC migration with RMM

On-premises VMware VM to IBM Cloud VPC migration with RMM

To implement a data center transformation, the RackWare Management Module (RMM) migration solution provides a seamless virtual-to-virtual replatforming for VMware virtual machine (VM) to IBM Cloud® virtual server instance migration. It allows the adoption of existing capabilities of IBM Cloud. Use its intuitive GUI to move the OS, application, and data from VMware ESXi to IBM Cloud VPC virtual server instance.

Follow the steps to complete a migration from your on-premises VMware VM to IBM Cloud VPC.

Supported operating systems

  • CentOS 7.8, 7.9
  • RHEL 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 8.1
  • Ubuntu 18.04, 20.04
  • Debian 9.x, 10.x
  • Windows 2012, 2012R2, 2016, 2019

The Convert LVM feature is only supported for RHEL 7.x and RHEL 8.x

Architecture diagram

Figure 1. Architecture diagram

This diagram is also applicable for On-premises VMware VM to IBM Cloud VPC bare metal migration with RMM.

Before you begin

  • Check for correct IBM Cloud VPC user permissions. Be sure that your user account has sufficient permissions to create and manage VPC resources. See the list of required permissions for VPC.
  • Understand the capability differences between VMware and VPC infrastructures (the following list is not exhaustive):
    • VPC does not support shared volumes or file-based volumes
    • GPU is not supported in VPC
    • Encrypted volumes are not supported

To improve data transfer rate, adjust the bandwidth allocation of the RMM server. For more information, see Adjusting bandwidth allocation by using the UI.

Order RMM

The RMM tool is available in the IBM Cloud catalog. After you order, a virtual server with RMM software is installed into your VPC of choice. The RMM server has a public IP address for reachability and a default login.

If public IP address is not attached to RMM server, then its 'Reserved IP' address can be used to access RMM server with bastion host.

  1. Order the RMM server from the IBM Cloud catalog.

  2. After you order, log in to the RMM server.

  3. In the RMM server, change the default password, create users, and create an SSH key.

  4. Upload the SSH key to IBM Cloud VPC.

Bring Your Own License (BYOL) from RackWare

  1. Generate a license file in /etc/rackware by running the following command:

    rwadm relicense 
  2. You need to purchase the license from RackWare by emailing the generated license file to or

  3. After you receive a valid license, download the license file and place it in /etc/rackware. Restart the services to apply the license by running the following command:

    rwadm restart
  4. Verify the license by running the following command:

    rw rmm show 

Connectivity options between the customer data center and IBM Cloud VPC

Your source and target server need to communicate with each other and the RMM. You can establish connectivity over the public internet with public IP addresses or with a private-only environment. If you have a private-only environment, you must set up either a VPN or Direct Link 2.0:

  • Use the Direct Link 2.0 connection to IBM Cloud. It is a costly solution and can be considered only if Direct Link 2.0 is already present.

  • Site-to-site VPN

Set up and provision VPC and virtual server instances

Option 1: Manual

The RMM solution handles the OS, application, and data movement. It does not need to set up a VPC target side; you need to handle the setup. You first set up the VPC infrastructure. At a bare minimum, you must set up a VPC, subnets, and the corresponding virtual server instances that you are planning to migrate. The new target virtual server instance profile (vCPU and vMemory) does not need to match the source. However, as for the storage, it needs to be the same or greater in size.

This document does not provide the details for setting up the VPC infrastructure. It is described in each of the relevant VPC product document pages.

  1. Create a VPC.
  2. Create subnets.
  3. Order the virtual server instance.
    • SSH key (RMM SSH keys need to be added in addition to bastion SSH key)
    • Operating system name (Linux or Windows and their respective version)
    • Security groups
    • Secondary volume

Option 2: Auto-provision

RMM can automatically provision a virtual server instance of VPC. Enable the wave level setting Autoprovision and then configure RMM with necessary details. Use these steps to use the auto-provision feature:

Setting up a cloud user

  1. Log in to the RackWare web console.
  2. In the RackWare web console, go to Configuration > Clouduser.
  3. When you add a cloud user, enter a name and select IBM Cloud VPC for the Cloud Provider. Select the region where you want to auto-provision the virtual server instance, and enter your IBM Cloud API key.
  4. Click Add.

Creating a wave and replication

A wave contains a single host or multiple hosts that are to be migrated. For this migration, you need to create one or more waves, provide information about the hosts in the wave, and then start the wave.

  1. In the RackWare web console, go to Replication > Waves.
  2. When you create a wave, select Target Type as Autoprovision.
  3. Enter source and target details.

If th source server has a Linux OS and it has a boot volume greater than 100 GB, then leave the ‘Provision disk’ textbox empty and select the Convert to LVM option. This selection creates an extra disk of the required size and converts all eligible volumes to LVM on the target. For Windows, no action is required. It is handled automatically by RMM.

  1. After you enter your source and target information, you need to provide your IBM Cloud VPC information.
  2. From the edit option in the Actions menu of your source, select the IBM Cloud VPC Options tab, enter the relevant information, and click Modify.
  3. Run the replication.

Ensure that your VPC, subnet, and other necessary cloud components are set up before you add a cloud user in RMM.

Assigning the environment to wave

  1. In the RackWare web console, go to Replication > Waves.
  2. Select the wave that needs to be migrated.
  3. On the Wave Detail page, select the Autoprovision option as Not configured.
  4. Select your cloud user for the Environment, enter the region where the virtual server instance needs to be provisioned, and apply the changes.

Auto-provision feature is not available if the target is VPC bare metal. The user needs to select Existing System as the target type in this case.

Prepare source and target servers

Before you can start the migration, the RMM server needs to SSH into the virtual machines. Thus, the RMM public SSH keys need to be copied on both the source and target servers.

For Windows OS, you need to download the SSH key utility. You can download it from RMM server.

For Windows OS, the user is SYSTEM and you must key in the RMM SSH key here to authenticate for both source and target servers.

If you use the auto-provision feature, you don't need to set up a target. Only the friendly name for the target server is required.

Set up RMM waves

You can migrate servers one-by-one or run multiple, simultaneous migrations. If you are running multiple, simultaneous migrations, then download the CSV template from the RMM server and populate the appropriate fields.

  1. Log in to the RMM server.
  2. Create a Wave and define the Wave name.
  3. If multiple hosts are to be migrated, download the template, complete the appropriate fields, and then upload the template.
  4. Select the Wave name to enter source and target information.
  5. Select the "+" sign.
  6. Add source IP address or FQDN and add source username.
  7. Target Type = Existing system
  8. Sync Type = Direct sync
  9. Add a target IP address or FQDN.
  10. Add a target-friendly name, and add a target username.
  11. Start the migration.

The username field for the Linux environment is root. The username field for the Windows environment is SYSTEM.

Alternatively, you can use the discovery helper script, which helps with the discovery of virtual machines on the VMware ESXi Host and also creates corresponding waves on the RMM server. The script asks for your vSphere host username, for the IP address of the vSphere to connect to, and the API where you discover your on-premises or classic VMware ESXi Host VMs.

./discoveryTool -s <vSphere> -u <username of the Vspherehost>


./discoveryTool -s -u administrator@vsphere.local

For more information about discovering the VMware guest VMs that use the Discovery Tool, see this public GitHub repository

Validate your migration

Before decommissioning the source server, it is imperative to validate the target server. The following list is not exhaustive, but suggests some of the items to validate:

  • Application
  • Licensing
  • Reachability (host-level configuration changes)
  • Remove RMM SSH key after migration successful

More resources

  1. Discovery Tool
  2. FAQs
  3. RackWare usage guide