VM Import/Export enables you to easily import virtual machine images from your existing environment to Amazon EC2 instances and export them back to your on-premise environment. This offering allows you to leverage your existing investments in the virtual machines that you have built to meet your IT security, configuration management, and compliance requirements by seamlessly bringing those virtual machines into Amazon EC2 as ready-to-use instances. You can easily export imported instances back to your on-premise virtualization infrastructure, allowing you to deploy workloads across your IT infrastructure.VM Import/Export is available at no additional charge beyond standard usage charges for Amazon EC2 and Amazon S3.
You can export previously imported EC2 instances using the Amazon EC2 API tools. You simply specify the target instance, virtual machine file format and a destination S3 bucket, and VM Import/Export will automatically export the instance to the S3 bucket. You can then download and launch the exported VM within your on-premise virtualization infrastructure.
You can import VMware ESX and VMware Workstation VMDK images, Citrix Xen VHD images and Microsoft Hyper-V VHD images for Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2. You can export previously imported EC2 instances to VMware ESX VMDK, VMware ESX OVA, Microsoft Hyper-V VHD or Citrix Xen VHD file formats. We plan to support import for additional operating systems, versions and virtualization infrastructure products in the future.
*The time required for VM Import is dependent upon your network connection speed and the size of the virtual machine image being uploaded.
VM Import/Export offers two ways to import your virtual machine into Amazon EC2.
The first method is to import your VM image using the Amazon EC2 API tools. To get started, simply:
When you import your on-premise Microsoft Windows VM images into Amazon EC2, AWS will provide the appropriate Microsoft Windows Server license key for your imported instance. Hourly EC2 instance charges cover the Microsoft Windows software and underlying hardware resources. Your on-premise Microsoft Windows license key will not be used by EC2 and you are free to reuse it for other Microsoft Windows VM images within your on-premise environment.
If you export an Amazon EC2 instance, access to the Microsoft Windows Server license key for that instance is no longer available through AWS. You will need to reactivate and specify a new license key for the exported VM image after it is launched in your on-premise virtualization platform.
The VM Import process enables you to import your existing VM images from your environment to Amazon EC2 and immediately begin running your imported applications in the cloud. Leverage AWS’s Auto Scaling, Elastic Load Balancing, and CloudWatch monitoring to scale and monitor the newly imported applications.
Import your on-premise VM images to Amazon EC2 for backup and disaster recovery contingencies. Store the imported images as Elastic Block Store-backed AMIs so they’re ready to launch in Amazon EC2 when you need them. In the event of a contingency, you can quickly launch your instances to preserve business continuity while simultaneously exporting them to rebuild your on-premise infrastructure. You only pay for Elastic Block Store charges until you decide to launch the instances. Once launched, you pay normal Amazon EC2 service charges for your running instances. If you choose to export your instances, you will pay normal S3 storage charges.
VM Import/Export is a feature of Amazon EC2 and is available at no additional charge, aside from normal Amazon EC2 service fees. Amazon S3 and EBS storage is utilized during the import and export process and is billed separately.
As an example, importing a 10 GB VMware image of Windows Server 2008 would amount to $0.04 for 1 day of S3 storage ($0.125 per GB/month x 10 GB / 30 days). In addition, EBS charges equal to $0.10 per GB-month will apply for the EBS volume containing the EBS-backed instance.
Exporting the same EC2 instance above will result in charges of $1.25 per month ($0.125 per GB/month x 10 GB) for S3 storage to hold the exported VM. Additionally, you will be billed a small amount (typically less than $1.00) for temporary use of EBS storage during the export process.