Choose a migration path

You can move VM instances, custom images, or disks that are available in an existing environment, such as on-premises or on other cloud providers, to Compute Engine.

A variety of migration paths are available that support different formats. Choosing a migration path depends on whether you are moving a VM instance, disk, or image.

The following table summarizes the migration paths available on Compute Engine.

What you want to migrate Tool or procedure Best used for
VM instances Migrate to Virtual Machines
  • Importing multiple VM instances and their data.
  • Migrating VM instances from other cloud providers such as VMware and AWS.
  • Testing your apps in the cloud before you migrate. If your apps do not function properly, you can easily roll back.

With Migrate to Virtual Machines, you have a suite of features that help you automate, simplify, and accelerate the migration process.

Migrate to VMs is free to use for customers migrating to Google Cloud. Standard billing rates apply for all other Google Cloud products (such as Compute Engine or Storage) used or consumed during or after the migration. For example, if you use Compute Engine VMs to deploy Migrate to VMs, you'll need to pay for those instance hours. For more detailed pricing information, see Migrate to VMs pricing.

VM instances (in OVA or OVF format) Importing virtual appliances Importing virtual appliances. A virtual appliance is a prepackaged virtual machine.
Virtual disks or images

Importing virtual disks or template disks from an on-premises or other cloud environment.

These methods use the images import command.

If you need to make advanced customizations or have source disks in a format that is not supported by the import command, you can manually import and configure disks.
Machine images Importing a machine image from a virtual appliance Importing machine images. A machine image is Compute Engine resource that stores all the configuration, metadata, permissions, and data from one or more disks required to create a VM instance.

This method is best suited for creating machine images from virtual appliances.