Migrate applications using Amazon SMS - Amazon Server Migration Service
Services or capabilities described in Amazon Web Services documentation might vary by Region. To see the differences applicable to the China Regions, see Getting Started with Amazon Web Services in China.

Product update

We recommend Amazon Application Migration Service (Amazon MGN) as the primary migration service for lift-and-shift migrations. If Amazon MGN is unavailable in a specific Amazon Region, you can use the Amazon SMS APIs through March 2023.

Migrate applications using Amazon SMS

Amazon Server Migration Service supports the automated migration of multi-server application stacks from your on-premises data center to Amazon EC2. Where server migration is accomplished by replicating a single server as an Amazon Machine Image (AMI), application migration replicates all of the servers in an application as AMIs and generates an Amazon CloudFormation template to launch them in a coordinated fashion.

Applications can be further subdivided into groups that allow you to launch tiers of servers in a defined order. The following diagram provides a sample case of a database-backed web application:

            Tiered launching of an application using groups.

In this example, the application is divided into four groups, each with three servers. The Amazon CloudFormation template starts the servers in the following order: databases, file servers, web servers, and application servers.

After your servers are organized into applications and launch groups, you can specify a replication frequency, provide configuration scripts, and configure a target VPC in which to launch them. When you launch an application, Amazon SMS configures it based on the generated template.

Application migration relies on the procedures for discovering on-premises resources described in Install the Server Migration Connector. After you have imported a server catalog into Amazon SMS using the Server Migration Connector, you can configure settings for applications, replication, and launch, as well as monitor migration status using the resources for Amazon SMS in the Amazon SMS API, Amazon CLI, or Amazon SDKs.


  • You can replicate your on-premises servers to Amazon for up to 90 days per server. Usage time is calculated from the time a server replication begins until you terminate the replication job. After 90 days, your replication job is automatically terminated. You can request an extension from Amazon Web Services Support.

  • During the AMI creation process, Amazon SMS sets the DeleteOnTermination attribute for the root volume to false, overriding the default. You can delete the root volume manually after you terminate the instance, or you can set the attribute to true so that Amazon EC2 deletes the root volume on instance termination. For more information, see Preserving Amazon EBS volumes on instance termination in the Amazon EC2 User Guide.

  • Application migration from Microsoft Azure environments is supported, but the Server Migration Connector for Azure does not currently guarantee the closeness of the server snapshots in the application.

Use application migration

You can perform the following tasks.

Create an application

To create an application, see the Amazon SMS create-app command in the Amazon CLI Command Reference.

Configure replication settings

To configure replication settings for an application, see the Amazon SMS update-replication-job command in the Amazon CLI Command Reference.

Configure launch settings

Before you can configure network settings, you must set up a virtual private cloud, subnet, and security group, as described for the RunInstances Amazon EC2 API action.

To configure launch settings for an application, see the Amazon SMS put-app-launch-configuration command in the Amazon CLI Command Reference.

Start replication

To start replicating an application, see the Amazon SMS start-app-replication command in the Amazon CLI Command Reference.

Launch an application

To launch an application, see the Amazon SMS launch-app command in the Amazon CLI Command Reference.

Generate a CloudFormation template

To examine the Amazon CloudFormation template that is auto-generated when you launch the application, see the Amazon SMS generate-template command in the Amazon CLI Command Reference.

Import applications from Migration Hub

Application Migration supports the import and migration of applications discovered by Amazon Migration Hub.

To import applications from Migration Hub, see the Amazon SMS import-app-catalog command in the Amazon CLI Command Reference.


SMS imports application-related servers from Migration Hub only if they exist in the SMS Server Catalog and are not part of an existing SMS application. As a result, some applications may be only partially imported. An application cannot be re-imported if it is being actively replicated or launched by SMS. If this conflict occurs, stop the replication or launch and re-import.