Microsoft Adds Linux Support to Azure Cloud Migration Tool

The company now offers an Azure Data Center Migration Solution and expands support of its Migration Accelerator to include Linux servers and virtual machines.

Microsoft Adds Linux to Azure cloud Tool

In October, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella proclaimed that "Microsoft Loves Linux," during a press event. Today, the company is backing up that once-inconceivable statement with a new offering that enables organizations to migrate their Linux servers and virtual machines (VMs) to Microsoft's massive Azure cloud computing service.

"Today, we are excited to add support for the migration of Linux physical and virtual machines to Azure, this functionality will further bolster the support for heterogeneity in MA [Migration Accelerator]," announced Srinath Vasireddy, principal lead program manager for Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise, in a Jan. 13 blog post. Migration Accelerator, based on technology acquired from last summer's InMage buy, enables organizations to transfer physical and virtual server workloads to the cloud.

"Spawned from the technology of our InMage acquisition, the MA is designed to seamlessly migrate physical, VMware, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Hyper-V workloads into Azure. It automates all aspects of migration, including discovery of source workloads, remote agent installation, network adaptation and endpoint configuration," said Vasireddy, during the September launch of the Windows Server-only preview of Migration Accelerator.

Microsoft has now added support for CentOS Linux 6.4 and 6.5, along with Oracle Linux 6.4 and 6.5. According to the company, Migration Accelerator only supports a single OS system disk as an Azure limitation makes multi-disk logical volume manager (LVM) setups unworkable. Other prerequisites, including supported file system types, are listed in Vasireddy's Azure Blog entry.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is making it easier for customers that want to move their existing workloads to another Azure data center.

"The solution, aptly named Azure Data Center Migration Solution (ADCMS) and licensed under Apache v2.0, provides a highly flexible and extensible method of moving assets from one Azure data center to another," said Guy Bowerman, senior program manager of Microsoft Azure Compute Runtime, in a Jan. 12 blog post. "With a focus on atomicity, this utility is designed to handle interruptions and either start from where it left off or roll back."

This all-or-nothing approach spares customers some major headaches in moving cloud deployments between subscriptions in the same data center, launching test deployments or transferring workloads to a closer, lower-latency Azure data center. Currently, Microsoft operates 19 distinct Azure regions (e.g. East U.S., West U.S. and North Europe) worldwide.

"Writing a script to add automation, customization and repeatability to your data center migration can become a major programming project, with extensive investment in error handling in case a problem occurs mid-migration," said Bowerman.

"A key advantage of this solution is the flexibility and extensibility provided by the template based and open source approach," Bowerman added. Some downtime will be incurred, however. "One caveat to keep in mind, is that migration is performed offline – you need to shut down VMs before migration to maintain disk consistency.

ADCMS is available for download at GitHub.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...