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Classic VMware VM to IBM Cloud VPC migration with RMM

Classic VMware VM to IBM Cloud VPC migration with RMM

The RackWare Management Module (RMM) migration solution provides a seamless virtual-to-virtual replatforming for VMware virtual machine (VM) to IBM Cloud® virtual server instances. Use its intuitive GUI to move the OS, application, and data from VMware ESXi in IBM Cloud classic to IBM Cloud VPC virtual server instances.

Follow the guide to complete a migration from VMware ESXi in IBM Cloud classic 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

Architecture diagram

Figure 1. Architecture diagram

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.

  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 

(Optional) Transit Gateway for private connectivity

The IBM Cloud Transit Gateway provides connectivity between VMware IBM Cloud classic and your VPC infrastructure.

When you connect the two entities, be aware that the VMware classic infrastructure is on the network and thus the VPC network needs to reside on a different network. Otherwise, the network overlaps and causes a communication connectivity issue.

  1. Order IBM Cloud Transit Gateway

    • Use a local routing option
  2. Add connections

    • Classic infrastructure
    • VPC
      • Select region

Set up and provision VPC and virtual server instance

The RMM solution handles only the OS, application, and data movement. It does not set up a VPC on the target side. Therefore, you must set up the IBM Cloud VPC infrastructure. At a bare minimum, you need to set up a VPC, subnets, and the corresponding 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, the storage needs to be the same or greater in size. For more information about provisioning VPC resources, see Getting started with Virtual Private Cloud (VPC).

  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)
    • OS name (same major version as the source)
    • Security groups
    • Secondary volume (optional)

Source and target compute preparation

Before you start the migration, the RMM server needs to SSH into the servers. Thus, the RMM public SSH key needs 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 the RMM server.
  • For Windows OS, the user is SYSTEM and you must key in the RMM SSH key to authenticate for both source and target servers.

Set up RMM waves

You can migrate the servers one-by-one or opt to perform multiple simultaneous migrations. If you are performing multiple simultaneous migrations, then download the CSV template from the RMM server and complete 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 and for the IP address of the vSphere to connect to and the API where you discover your on-premises 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 by using the discovery tool, see this public GitHub repository

Validate your migration

Before you decommission 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