Migrating VMs with Migrate for Compute Engine: Getting started

This document is the first of a series that guides you through migrating your virtual machines (VMs) from your source environment to Google Cloud by using Migrate for Compute Engine. Your source environment might be running in an on-premises environment, in a private hosting environment, or in another cloud provider.

This document provides an overview of Migrate for Compute Engine and what it's used for. It also contains important points for you to consider when planning a VM migration, and provides guidance about how to migrate VMs.

This document is part of a series about migrating to Google Cloud. If you're interested in an overview of the series, see Migration to Google Cloud: Choosing your migration path.

This document is part of a series that has the following parts:

This document is useful if you're planning to migrate VMs from a supported source environment to Compute Engine with Migrate for Compute Engine. These source environments can include the following:

Migrate for Compute Engine lets you streamline your VM migration to Google Cloud. You don't have to spend effort in designing and implementing a reliable toolchain to manually evaluate how your VMs behave in Google Cloud, and then to manually migrate them. Migrate for Compute Engine accelerates your VM migration, saves you time, and lets you focus on improving your workloads.

This series assumes that you have read and are familiar with the following documents:

Choose a Migrate for Compute Engine version for your migration

Migrate for Compute Engine comes in two versions:

  • Migrate for Compute Engine version 4, the first major release of Migrate for Compute Engine.
  • Migrate for Compute Engine version 5, the current major release of Migrate for Compute Engine. Compared to the previous version, Compute Engine version 5 offers the following advantages:

    • A simplified provisioning experience.
    • An advanced data replication technology.

For more information about the differences between Migrate for Compute Engine version 4 and Migrate for Compute Engine version 5, see Comparing version 5.0 and 4.x features.

You can choose which Migrate for Compute Engine version to use for your migration. The best version for your use case depends on your migration requirements, and on the source and target environments.

The following diagram shows a flowchart with a series of example questions that you might ask when deciding the best Migrate for Compute Engine version for your migration requirements.

Flowchart diagram (explained in following text).

The preceding diagram can be summarized as follows:

Migrate for Compute Engine version 5 path

Migrate for Compute Engine version 4 path

Other migration options

If Migrate for Compute version 4 and Migrate for Compute Engine version 5 don't satisfy your requirements, you can explore other options. For example, if you have a VMware-based source environment, you can use VMware HCX to migrate applications to Google Cloud VMware Engine.

Design the migration to Google Cloud

To migrate your VMs from your source environment to Google Cloud, we recommend that you follow the framework described in the Migration to Google Cloud series.

The following diagram illustrates the path of your migration journey.

Migration path with four phases.

The framework illustrated in the preceding diagram has four phases:

  1. Assess. In this phase, you assess your source environment, assess the workloads that you want to migrate to Google Cloud, and assess which VMs support each workload.
  2. Plan. In this phase, you create the basic infrastructure for Migrate for Compute Engine, such as provisioning the resource hierarchy and setting up network access.
  3. Deploy. In this phase, you migrate the VMs from the source environment to Compute Engine.
  4. Optimize. In this phase, you begin to take advantage of the cloud technologies and capabilities.

Assess the source environment and workloads

In the assess phase, you gather information about the following:

  1. Your source and target environment
  2. The workloads that you want to migrate

To help you to plan your migration and to rightsize the resources that you need for the migration and your target environment, it's crucial to assess your source environment and the workloads that you want to migrate. To learn how to assess your environment, see Migration to Google Cloud: Assessing and discovering your workloads.

After you've assessed your environment, you refine the assessment by taking into account migration aspects that are specific to Migrate for Compute Engine, such as the following:

Build your foundation

This section contains guidance on how to build the foundation for Migrate for Compute Engine version 5.

If you chose Migrate for Compute Engine version 4, to learn how to build the foundation, see Migrating VMs with Migrate for Compute Engine version 4: Building your foundation. After your foundation is built, see the guidance in Migrating your VMs. Otherwise, continue with the guidance in this section.

To build a foundation for Migrate for Compute Engine version 5 in the source environment and in Google Cloud, you do the following:

  • Build the foundation on Google Cloud.
  • Prepare the source environment.

Build the foundation on Google Cloud

To build the foundation for Migrate for Compute Engine version 5 on Google Cloud, you do the following:

Prepare the source environment

To build a foundation for Migrate for Compute Engine version 5 on your source environment, install the Migrate Connector to configure the environment as a migration source. For more information about the Migrate Connector, see Migrate for Compute Engine version 5 architecture.

Migrate your VMs

After you build your foundation, you migrate your VMs with Migrate for Compute Engine from your source environment to Google Cloud.

If you chose Migrate for Compute Engine version 4, we recommend that you read Migrating VMs with Migrate for Compute Engine version 4: Migrating your VMs before reading further.

If you chose Migrate for Compute Engine version 5, continue to the next section.

Structure of a Migrate for Compute Engine version 5 migration

The following terms are important for understanding how to organize a VM migration from a supported source environment to Google Cloud:

  • VM migration lifecycle. Each VM that you migrate with Migrate for Compute Engine version 5 follows an ordered set of phases. Those phases are part of the VM migration lifecycle. Migrate for Compute Engine version 5 automatically advances each VM to migrate through those phases.
  • Groups. Migrate for Compute Engine version 5 lets you create sets of VMs to migrate. These sets are called groups. To logically separate VMs and to migrate VMs in batches, you can use groups. When you migrate the VMs in a group, Migrate for Compute Engine version 5 performs all the operations of the VM migration lifecycle on each VM in the group or, optionally, on a subset of the VMs in the group. For example, you might create test clones of one or two VMs in a large group to evaluate if the clones can function properly on Google Cloud.
  • OS adaptations. The VMs you migrate to Google Cloud with Migrate for Compute Engine version 5 require changes to their configuration to function properly. These changes are referred to as OS adaptations. Migrate for Compute Engine version 5 automatically applies OS adaptations to the VMs that you migrate.

Migrate VMs with Migrate for Compute Engine version 5

To migrate VMs with Migrate for Compute Engine version 5 you do the following:

  1. Organize your migration with groups. To help mitigate the risks of a migration, we recommend that you use groups to logically separate the VMs to migrate. To group the VMs to migrate, you can use the information gathered during the assessment phase. For example, you can group the VMs based on which application they support, or you might consider the network the VMs are connected to.
  2. Gather machine sizing recommendations and utilization insights. To evaluate the resources and determine the optimal target machines for your source machines, gather detailed sizing recommendations and reporting about your machines by generating a source VM utilization report.
  3. Migrate each group. Execute the migration on each group of VMs. As part of the VM migration lifecycle, Migrate for Compute Engine version 5 lets you run a test clone of a VM in Google Cloud. We recommend that you use test clones to validate if your VMs function properly in Google Cloud before migrating them.

    For more information about migrating groups of VMs with Migrate for Compute Engine version 5, see Migrating VM groups with Migrate for Compute Engine version 5.

Optimize your environment after migration

When you complete all the migration phases, the migration is considered done. However, your Google Cloud environment might need further optimizations. For example, you can rightsize Compute Engine VMs, or you can start using managed services.

For more information about optimization, see Migration to Google Cloud: Optimizing your environment.

What's next