Tutorial: Discover physical servers with Azure Migrate: Discovery and assessment

As part of your migration journey to Azure, you discover your servers for assessment and migration.

This tutorial shows you how to discover on-premises physical servers with the Azure Migrate: Discovery and assessment tool, using a lightweight Azure Migrate appliance. You deploy the appliance as a physical server, to continuously discover servers and performance metadata.

In this tutorial, you learn how to:

  • Set up an Azure account.
  • Prepare physical servers for discovery.
  • Create a project.
  • Set up the Azure Migrate appliance.
  • Start continuous discovery.


Tutorials show the quickest path for trying out a scenario, and use default options.

If you don't have an Azure subscription, create a free account before you begin.


Before you start this tutorial, ensure you have these prerequisites in place.

Requirement Details
Appliance You need a server to run the Azure Migrate appliance. The server should have:

- Windows Server 2016 installed.
(Currently the deployment of appliance is only supported on Windows Server 2016.)

- 16-GB RAM, 8 vCPUs, around 80 GB of disk storage

- A static or dynamic IP address, with internet access, either directly or through a proxy.

- Outbound internet connectivity to the required URLs from the appliance.
Windows servers Allow inbound connections on WinRM port 5985 (HTTP) for discovery of Windows servers.
Linux servers Allow inbound connections on port 22 (TCP) for discovery of Linux servers.


It is unsupported to install the Azure Migrate Appliance on a server that has the replication appliance or mobility service agent installed. Ensure that the appliance server has not been previously used to set up the replication appliance or has the mobility service agent installed on the server.

Prepare an Azure user account

To create a project and register the Azure Migrate appliance, you need an account with:

  • Contributor or Owner permissions on an Azure subscription.
  • Permissions to register Azure Active Directory apps.

If you just created a free Azure account, you're the owner of your subscription. If you're not the subscription owner, work with the owner to assign the permissions as follows:

  1. In the Azure portal, search for "subscriptions", and under Services, select Subscriptions.

    Screenshot of search box to search for the Azure subscription.

  2. Select Access control (IAM).

  3. Select Add > Add role assignment to open the Add role assignment page.

  4. Assign the following role. For detailed steps, see Assign Azure roles using the Azure portal.

    Setting Value
    Role Contributor or Owner
    Assign access to User
    Members azmigrateuser

    Add role assignment page in Azure portal.

  5. To register the appliance, your Azure account needs permissions to register Azure Active Directory apps.

  6. In Azure portal, navigate to Azure Active Directory > Users > User Settings.

  7. In User settings, verify that Azure AD users can register applications (set to Yes by default).

    Verify in User Settings that users can register Active Directory apps.

  8. In case the 'App registrations' settings is set to 'No', request the tenant/global admin to assign the required permission. Alternately, the tenant/global admin can assign the Application Developer role to an account to allow the registration of Azure Active Directory App. Learn more.

Prepare Windows server

For Windows servers, use a domain account for domain-joined servers, and a local account for servers that aren't domain-joined. The user account can be created in one of the two ways:

Option 1

  • Create an account that has administrator privileges on the servers. This account can be used to pull configuration and performance data through CIM connection and perform software inventory (discovery of installed applications) and enable agentless dependency analysis using PowerShell remoting.


If you want to perform software inventory (discovery of installed applications) and enable agentless dependency analysis on Windows servers, it recommended to use Option 1.

Option 2

  • The user account should be added to these groups: Remote Management Users, Performance Monitor Users, and Performance Log Users.

  • If Remote management Users group isn't present, then add the user account to the group: WinRMRemoteWMIUsers_.

  • The account needs these permissions for the appliance to create a CIM connection with the server and pull the required configuration and performance metadata from the WMI classes listed here.

  • In some cases, adding the account to these groups may not return the required data from WMI classes as the account might be filtered by UAC. To overcome the UAC filtering, user account needs to have necessary permissions on CIMV2 Namespace and sub-namespaces on the target server. You can follow the steps here to enable the required permissions.


    For Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2, ensure that WMF 3.0 is installed on the servers.


To discover SQL Server databases on Windows Servers, both Windows and SQL Server authentication are supported. You can provide credentials of both authentication types in the appliance configuration manager. Azure Migrate requires a Windows user account that is a member of the sysadmin server role.

Prepare Linux server

For Linux servers, you can create a user account in one of two ways:

Option 1

  • You need a sudo user account on the servers that you want to discover. This account can be used to pull configuration and performance metadata and perform software inventory (discovery of installed applications) and enable agentless dependency analysis using SSH connectivity.
  • You need to enable sudo access for the commands listed here. In addition to these commands, the user account also needs to have permissions to execute ls and netstat commands to perform agentless dependency analysis.
  • Make sure that you have enabled NOPASSWD for the account to run the required commands without prompting for a password every time sudo command is invoked.
  • The Linux OS distributions that are supported for discovery by Azure Migrate using an account with sudo access are listed here.


If you want to perform software inventory (discovery of installed applications) and enable agentless dependency analysis on Linux servers, it recommended to use Option 1.

Option 2

  • If you can't provide user account with sudo access, then you can set 'isSudo' registry key to value '0' in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\AzureAppliance registry on the appliance server and provide a non-root account with the required capabilities using the following commands:

    Command Purpose
    setcap CAP_DAC_READ_SEARCH+eip /usr/sbin/fdisk

    setcap CAP_DAC_READ_SEARCH+eip /sbin/fdisk (if /usr/sbin/fdisk is not present)
    To collect disk configuration data
    setcap "cap_dac_override,cap_dac_read_search,cap_fowner,cap_fsetid,cap_setuid,
    cap_sys_resource,cap_audit_control,cap_setfcap=+eip" /sbin/lvm
    To collect disk performance data
    setcap CAP_DAC_READ_SEARCH+eip /usr/sbin/dmidecode To collect BIOS serial number
    chmod a+r /sys/class/dmi/id/product_uuid To collect BIOS GUID
  • To perform agentless dependency analysis on the server, ensure that you also set the required permissions on /bin/netstat and /bin/ls files by using the following commands:
    sudo setcap CAP_DAC_READ_SEARCH,CAP_SYS_PTRACE=ep /bin/ls
    sudo setcap CAP_DAC_READ_SEARCH,CAP_SYS_PTRACE=ep /bin/netstat

Set up a project

Set up a new project.

  1. In the Azure portal > All services, search for Azure Migrate.

  2. Under Services, select Azure Migrate.

  3. In Overview, select Create project.

  4. In Create project, select your Azure subscription and resource group. Create a resource group if you don't have one.

  5. In Project Details, specify the project name and the geography in which you want to create the project. Review supported geographies for public and government clouds.

    Screenshot of project name and region.


    Use the Advanced configuration section to create an Azure Migrate project with private endpoint connectivity. Learn more.

  6. Select Create.

  7. Wait a few minutes for the project to deploy. The Azure Migrate: Discovery and assessment tool is added by default to the new project.

    Page showing Server Assessment tool added by default.


If you have already created a project, you can use the same project to register additional appliances to discover and assess more no of servers. Learn more.

Set up the appliance

Azure Migrate appliance performs server discovery and sends server configuration and performance metadata to Azure Migrate. The appliance can be set up by executing a PowerShell script that can be downloaded from the project.

To set up the appliance, you:

  1. Provide an appliance name and generate a project key in the portal.
  2. Download a zipped file with the Azure Migrate installer script from the Azure portal.
  3. Extract the contents from the zipped file. Launch the PowerShell console with administrative privileges.
  4. Execute the PowerShell script to launch the appliance configuration manager.
  5. Configure the appliance for the first time, and register it with the project using the project key.

1. Generate the project key

  1. In Migration goals > Servers, databases and web apps > Azure Migrate: Discovery and assessment, select Discover.

  2. In Discover servers > Are your servers virtualized?, select Physical or other (AWS, GCP, Xen, etc.).

  3. In 1:Generate project key, provide a name for the Azure Migrate appliance that you'll set up for discovery of physical or virtual servers. The name should be alphanumeric with 14 characters or fewer.

  4. Select Generate key to start the creation of the required Azure resources. Don't close the Discover servers page during the creation of resources.

  5. After the successful creation of the Azure resources, a project key is generated.

  6. Copy the key as you'll need it to complete the registration of the appliance during its configuration.

    Selections for Generate Key.

2. Download the installer script

In 2: Download Azure Migrate appliance, select Download.

Verify security

Check that the zipped file is secure, before you deploy it.

  1. On the server to which you downloaded the file, open an administrator command window.

  2. Run the following command to generate the hash for the zipped file:

    • C:\>CertUtil -HashFile <file_location> [Hashing Algorithm]
    • Example usage: C:\>CertUtil -HashFile C:\Users\administrator\Desktop\AzureMigrateInstaller.zip SHA256
  3. Verify the latest appliance version and hash value:

    Download Hash value
    Latest version 277c53620db299f57e3ac5a65569e9720f06190a245476810b36bf651c8b795b


The same script can be used to set up Physical appliance for either Azure public or Azure Government cloud with public or private endpoint connectivity.

3. Run the Azure Migrate installer script

  1. Extract the zipped file to a folder on the server that will host the appliance. Make sure you don't run the script on a server with an existing Azure Migrate appliance.

  2. Launch PowerShell on the above server with administrative (elevated) privilege.

  3. Change the PowerShell directory to the folder where the contents have been extracted from the downloaded zipped file.

  4. Run the script named AzureMigrateInstaller.ps1 by running the following command:

    PS C:\Users\administrator\Desktop\AzureMigrateInstaller> .\AzureMigrateInstaller.ps1

  5. Select from the scenario, cloud, and connectivity options to deploy an appliance with the desired configuration. For instance, the selection shown below sets up an appliance to discover and assess physical servers (or servers running on other clouds like AWS, GCP, Xen etc.) to an Azure Migrate project with default (public endpoint) connectivity on Azure public cloud.

    Screenshot that shows how to set up appliance with desired configuration.

  6. The installer script does the following:

    • Installs agents and a web application.
    • Installs Windows roles, including Windows Activation Service, IIS, and PowerShell ISE.
    • Downloads and installs an IIS rewritable module.
    • Updates a registry key (HKLM) with persistent setting details for Azure Migrate.
    • Creates the following files under the path:
      • Config Files: %ProgramData%\Microsoft Azure\Config
      • Log Files: %ProgramData%\Microsoft Azure\Logs

After the script has executed successfully, the appliance configuration manager will be launched automatically.


If you come across any issues, you can access the script logs at C:\ProgramData\Microsoft Azure\Logs\AzureMigrateScenarioInstaller_Timestamp.log for troubleshooting.

Verify appliance access to Azure

Make sure that the appliance can connect to Azure URLs for public and government clouds.

4. Configure the appliance

Set up the appliance for the first time.

  1. Open a browser on any server that can connect to the appliance, and open the URL of the appliance web app: https://appliance name or IP address: 44368.

    Alternately, you can open the app from the desktop by selecting the app shortcut.

  2. Accept the license terms, and read the third-party information.

Set up prerequisites and register the appliance

In the configuration manager, select Set up prerequisites, and then complete these steps:

  1. Connectivity: The appliance checks that the server has internet access. If the server uses a proxy:

    • Select Setup proxy to specify the proxy address (in the form http://ProxyIPAddress or http://ProxyFQDN, where FQDN refers to a fully qualified domain name) and listening port.

    • Enter credentials if the proxy needs authentication.

    • If you have added proxy details or disabled the proxy or authentication, select Save to trigger connectivity and check connectivity again.

      Only HTTP proxy is supported.

  2. Time sync: Check that the time on the appliance is in sync with internet time for discovery to work properly.

  3. Install updates and register appliance: To run auto-update and register the appliance, follow these steps:

    Screenshot that shows setting up the prerequisites in the appliance configuration manager.


    This is a new user experience in Azure Migrate appliance which is available only if you have set up an appliance using the latest OVA/Installer script downloaded from the portal. The appliances which have already been registered will continue seeing the older version of the user experience and will continue to work without any issues.

    1. For the appliance to run auto-update, paste the project key that you copied from the portal. If you don't have the key, go to Azure Migrate: Discovery and assessment > Overview > Manage existing appliances. Select the appliance name you provided when you generated the project key, and then copy the key that's shown.

    2. The appliance will verify the key and start the auto-update service, which updates all the services on the appliance to their latest versions. When the auto-update has run, you can select View appliance services to see the status and versions of the services running on the appliance server.

    3. To register the appliance, you need to select Login. In Continue with Azure Login, select Copy code & Login to copy the device code (you must have a device code to authenticate with Azure) and open an Azure Login prompt in a new browser tab. Make sure you've disabled the pop-up blocker in the browser to see the prompt.

      Screenshot that shows where to copy the device code and sign in.

    4. In a new tab in your browser, paste the device code and sign in by using your Azure username and password. Signing in with a PIN isn't supported.


      If you close the login tab accidentally without logging in, refresh the browser tab of the appliance configuration manager to display the device code and Copy code & Login button.

    5. After you successfully sign in, return to the browser tab that displays the appliance configuration manager. If the Azure user account that you used to sign in has the required permissions for the Azure resources that were created during key generation, appliance registration starts.

      After the appliance is successfully registered, to see the registration details, select View details.

You can rerun prerequisites at any time during appliance configuration to check whether the appliance meets all the prerequisites.

Start continuous discovery

Now, connect from the appliance to the physical servers to be discovered, and start the discovery.

  1. In Step 1: Provide credentials for discovery of Windows and Linux physical or virtual servers​, select Add credentials.

  2. For Windows server, select the source type as Windows Server, specify a friendly name for credentials, add the username and password. Select Save.

  3. If you're using password-based authentication for Linux server, select the source type as Linux Server (Password-based), specify a friendly name for credentials, add the username and password. Select Save.

  4. If you're using SSH key-based authentication for Linux server, you can select source type as Linux Server (SSH key-based), specify a friendly name for credentials, add the username, browse and select the SSH private key file. Select Save.

    • Azure Migrate supports the SSH private key generated by ssh-keygen command using RSA, DSA, ECDSA, and ed25519 algorithms.
    • Currently Azure Migrate doesn't support passphrase-based SSH key. Use an SSH key without a passphrase.
    • Currently Azure Migrate doesn't support SSH private key file generated by PuTTY.
    • The SSH key file supports CRLF to mark a line break in the text file that you upload. SSH keys created on Linux systems most commonly have LF as their newline character so you can convert them to CRLF by opening the file in vim, typing :set textmode and saving the file.
    • If your Linux servers support the older version of RSA key, you can generate the key using the $ ssh-keygen -m PEM -t rsa -b 4096 command.
    • Azure Migrate supports OpenSSH format of the SSH private key file as shown below:

    Screenshot of SSH private key supported format.

  5. If you want to add multiple credentials at once, select Add more to save and add more credentials. Multiple credentials are supported for physical servers discovery.


    By default, the credentials will be used to gather data about the installed applications, roles, and features, and also to collect dependency data from Windows and Linux servers, unless you disable the slider to not perform these features (as instructed in the last step).

  6. In Step 2:Provide physical or virtual server details​, select Add discovery source to specify the server IP address/FQDN and the friendly name for credentials to connect to the server.

  7. You can either Add single item at a time or Add multiple items in one go. There's also an option to provide server details through Import CSV.

    • If you choose Add single item, you can choose the OS type, specify friendly name for credentials, add server IP address/FQDN and select Save.
    • If you choose Add multiple items, you can add multiple records at once by specifying server IP address/FQDN with the friendly name for credentials in the text box. Verify the added records and select Save.
    • If you choose Import CSV (selected by default), you can download a CSV template file, populate the file with the server IP address/FQDN and friendly name for credentials. You then import the file into the appliance, verify the records in the file and select Save.
  8. Select Save. The appliance will try validating the connection to the servers added and show the Validation status in the table against each server.

    • If validation fails for a server, review the error by selecting on Validation failed in the Status column of the table. Fix the issue, and validate again.
    • To remove a server, select Delete.
  9. You can revalidate the connectivity to servers anytime before starting the discovery.

  10. Before initiating discovery, you can choose to disable the slider to not perform software inventory and agentless dependency analysis on the added servers. You can change this option at any time.

    Screenshot that shows where to disable the slider.

  11. To perform discovery of SQL Server instances and databases, you can add additional credentials (Windows domain/non-domain, SQL authentication credentials) and the appliance will attempt to automatically map the credentials to the SQL servers. If you add domain credentials, the appliance will authenticate the credentials against Active Directory of the domain to prevent any user accounts from locking out. To check validation of the domain credentials, follow these steps:

  • In the configuration manager credentials table, see Validation status for domain credentials. Only the domain credentials are validated.
  • If validation fails, you can select a Failed status to see the validation error. Fix the issue, and then select Revalidate credentials to reattempt validation of the credentials.

Start discovery

select Start discovery, to kick off discovery of the successfully validated servers. After the discovery has been successfully initiated, you can check the discovery status against each server in the table.

How discovery works

  • It takes approximately 2 minutes to complete discovery of 100 servers and their metadata to appear in the Azure portal.

  • Software inventory (discovery of installed applications) is automatically initiated when the discovery of servers is finished.

  • Software inventory identifies the SQL Server instances that are running on the servers. Using the information it collects, the appliance attempts to connect to the SQL Server instances through the Windows authentication credentials or the SQL Server authentication credentials that are provided on the appliance. Then, it gathers data on SQL Server databases and their properties. The SQL Server discovery is performed once every 24 hours.

  • Appliance can connect to only those SQL Server instances to which it has network line of sight, whereas software inventory by itself may not need network line of sight.

  • The time taken for discovery of installed applications depends on the number of discovered servers. For 500 servers, it takes approximately one hour for the discovered inventory to appear in the Azure Migrate project in the portal.

  • During software inventory, the added server credentials are iterated against servers and validated for agentless dependency analysis. When the discovery of servers is finished, in the portal, you can enable agentless dependency analysis on the servers. Only the servers on which validation succeeds can be selected to enable agentless dependency analysis.

  • SQL Server instances and databases data begin to appear in the portal within 24 hours after you start discovery.

  • By default, Azure Migrate uses the most secure way of connecting to SQL instances that is, Azure Migrate encrypts communication between the Azure Migrate appliance and the source SQL Server instances by setting the TrustServerCertificate property to true. Additionally, the transport layer uses SSL to encrypt the channel and bypass the certificate chain to validate trust. Hence, the appliance server must be set up to trust the certificate's root authority. However, you can modify the connection settings, by selecting Edit SQL Server connection properties on the appliance. Learn more to understand what to choose.

    Screenshot that shows how to edit SQL Server connection properties.

Verify servers in the portal

After discovery finishes, you can verify that the servers appear in the portal.

  1. Open the Azure Migrate dashboard.
  2. In Azure Migrate - Servers > Azure Migrate: Discovery and assessment page, select the icon that displays the count for Discovered servers.

Delete servers

After the discovery has been initiated, you can delete any of the added servers from the appliance configuration manager by searching for the server name in the Add discovery source table and by selecting Delete.


If you choose to delete a server where discovery has been initiated, it will stop the ongoing discovery and assessment which may impact the confidence rating of the assessment that includes this server. Learn more

Next steps