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Let's say you have a Windows Azure Virtual Machine preview account.

I would like to know if there is an easy strategy for migrating a Windows Server 2008 R2 installation from Amazon EC2 to Windows Azure. I would like to avoid reinstalling applications and recreating all the user accounts with the proper permissions.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

With a Virtual Machine, you are able to push a VHD image to Azure. You simply could

  1. create a VHD image of your online EC2 VM using disk2vhd
  2. run it in a Hyper-V configuration to generalize it using sysprep /oobe /generalize
  3. upload that to Azure and
  4. run it
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The documentation of sysprep states it "Resets Windows Product Activation. Sysprep can reset Windows Product Activation up to three times." I wonder how this affects a cloud installation of Windows Server 2008 R2. Will I have to enter license keys manually? If so, it's a major drawback. In any case, I may end up in a license No Man's Land: running an Amazon licensed Windows on Microsoft Azure. –  sebwinadmin Oct 15 '12 at 11:31
    
@sebwinadmin You really would have to ask the Azure support about the licensing side of things. Likely, this should not be a big deal as stealing market share from Amazon is what Azure VM is about and disallowing conversions would be a show-stopper for migrating customers. –  syneticon-dj Oct 15 '12 at 12:37
    
So this means I require Hyper-V somewhere... but this cannot be run on EC2 on Azure, right? –  sebwinadmin Oct 15 '12 at 16:02
    
@sebwinadmin no, you can't run a hypervisor on Azure or EC2 (at least yet). But Hyper-V can be run on a variety of hardware - including most consumer machines nowadays, you should not have any trouble finding something suitable. Having the bandwidth for a download / upload of the image might pose a real problem, though. You could try omitting the sysprep step and see if it works out for you. Azure VM is rather new, documentation is sparse, so much is left to trial and error. –  syneticon-dj Oct 15 '12 at 20:38
    
Downloading the image in order to run this in Hyper-V is definitely a deal breaker. I'll try without the sysprep step to see if it works. –  sebwinadmin Oct 16 '12 at 18:39
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