System requirements - VM Import/Export
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 (PDF).

System requirements

Before you begin, you must be aware of the operating systems and image formats that VM Import/Export supports, and understand the limitations on importing instances and volumes.

Image formats

VM Import/Export supports the following image formats for importing both disks and VMs:

  • Open Virtual Appliance (OVA) image format, which supports importing images with multiple hard disks.

  • Stream-optimized ESX Virtual Machine Disk (VMDK) image format, which is compatible with VMware ESX and VMware vSphere virtualization products.

  • Fixed and Dynamic Virtual Hard Disk (VHD/VHDX) image formats, which are compatible with Microsoft Hyper-V, Microsoft Azure, and Citrix Xen virtualization products.

  • Raw format for importing disks and VMs.

Important

VMs that are created as the result of a physical-to-virtual (P2V) conversion are not supported. For more information, see Limitations.

Operating systems

The following operating systems (OS) can be imported to and exported from Amazon EC2. VMs using ARM64architecture are not currently supported.

Linux/Unix OS (64-bit only)

Operating system

Version

Kernel

Service pack

Amazon Linux 2

-

4.14, 4.19, 5.4, 5.10

-

CentOS

5.1–5.11

2.6.18

-

6.1–6.8

2.6.32

-

7.0–7.9

3.10.0

-

8.0–8.2

4.18.0

-

9

5.14.0

-

Debian

6.0.0–6.0.8

2.6.32

-

7.0.0–7.8.0

3.2.0

-

10

4.19.0

-

11

5.10.0

-

12.2

6.1.0

-

12.4

6.1.0

-

Fedora

18

3.2.5

-

19

3.9.5

-

20

3.11.10

-

37

6.0.7

-

38

6.2.9

-

39

6.5.6

-

Oracle Linux

5.10–5.11

Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel (UEK) el5uek kernel suffixes

-

6.1–6.10

Red Hat Compatible Kernel (RHCK) 2.6.32, 2.6.39

Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel (UEK) 3.8.13, 4.1.12

-

7.0–7.6

Red Hat Compatible Kernel (RHCK) 3.10.0

Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel (UEK) 3.8.13, 4.1.12, 4.14.35, 5.4.17

-

8.0–8.8

Red Hat Compatible Kernel (RHCK) 4.18.0

Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel (UEK) 5.15.0 (el8uek)

-

9.0–9.2

Red Hat Compatible Kernel (RHCK) 5.14.0

Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel (UEK) 5.15.0 (el9uek)

-

Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)

5

2.6.18

-

6

2.6.32 (except 2.6.32-71)

-

7

3.10.0

-

8.0–8.8

4.18.0

-

9.0–9.2

5.14.0

-

Rocky Linux

9

5.14.0

-

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES)

11

2.6.32.12

1

3.0.13

2

3.0.76, 3.0.101, 3.0.101

3

3.0.101

4

12

3.12.28

None

3.12.49

1

4.4

2, 3

4.12

4, 5

15

4.12

None, 1

5.3

2, 3

5.14.21

4, 5

Ubuntu

12.04

3.2.0

-

12.10

3.5.0

-

13.04

3.8.0

-

13.10

3.11

-

14.04

3.13.0, 3.16.0, 3.19.0

-

14.10

3.16

-

15.04

3.19.0

-

16.04

4.2.0, 4.4.0, 4.8.0, 4.10.0, 4.15.0

-

16.10

4.8.0

-

17.04

4.10.0

-

18.04

4.15.0, 5.4.0

-

20.04

5.4.0

-

22.04

5.15.0

-

23.04

5.15.0

-

Windows OS

Operating system

Edition

Bit version

Available with non-default Regions

Windows Server 2003 (Service Pack 1 or later)

Standard, Datacenter, Enterprise

32, 64

No

Windows Server 2003 R2

Standard, Datacenter, Enterprise

32, 64

No

Windows Server 2008

Standard, Datacenter, Enterprise

32, 64

No

Windows Server 2008 R2

Standard, Web Server, Datacenter, Enterprise

64

Yes 5

Windows Server 2012

Standard, Datacenter

64

Yes 5

Windows Server 2012 R2

Standard, Datacenter

64

Yes 5

Windows Server 2016

Standard, Datacenter 3

64

Yes 5

Windows Server 1709

Standard, Datacenter

64

Yes 5

Windows Server 1803

Standard, Datacenter

64

Yes 5

Windows Server 2019

Standard, Datacenter

64

Yes 5

Windows Server 2022

Standard, Datacenter

64

Yes 5,6

Windows 7 1

Home, Professional, Enterprise, Ultimate

32, 64 4

Yes 5

Windows 8 1

Home, Professional, Enterprise

32, 64 4

Yes 5

Windows 8.1 1

Professional, Enterprise

64

Yes 5

Windows 10 1

Home, Professional, Enterprise, Education

64

Yes 5

Windows 11 1,2

Home, Professional, Enterprise, Education

64

Yes 5,7

1 The operating system must have its language set as US English during import.

2 Windows 11 requires the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) boot mode to function. To help ensure a successful import of your VM, we recommend that you specify the optional --boot-mode parameter as uefi. For more information, see Boot modes.

3 Nano Server installations are not supported.

4 Only the 64-bit version of the OS is supported when launching instances within non-default Amazon Web Services Regions. For more information, see Available Regions in the Amazon EC2 User Guide for Windows Instances.

5 You must first enable the Region before you can use the operating system there. For more information, see Available Regions in the Amazon EC2 User Guide for Windows Instances and Managing Amazon Web Services Regions in the Amazon Web Services General Reference Guide.

6 Windows Server 2022 is not supported in the China (Beijing) and China (Ningxia) Regions.

7 Windows 11 is not supported in the Asia Pacific (Hyderabad), Asia Pacific (Jakarta), Asia Pacific (Melbourne), China (Beijing), China (Ningxia), Europe (Spain), Europe (Zurich), and Middle East (UAE) Regions.

Boot modes

When a computer boots, the first software that it runs is responsible for initializing the platform and providing an interface for the operating system to perform platform-specific operations. VM Import/Export supports two variants of the boot mode: Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) and Legacy BIOS. You can choose whether to specify the optional --boot-mode parameter as legacy-bios or uefi when importing your VM.

VM Import/Export supports UEFI boot mode in all Amazon Web Services Regions except Asia Pacific (Hyderabad), Asia Pacific (Jakarta), Asia Pacific (Melbourne), Asia Pacific (Osaka), Canada West (Calgary), Europe (Spain), Europe (Zurich), Israel (Tel Aviv), and Middle East (UAE).

Refer to the Boot Modes section of the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud User Guide for more information about specifying a boot mode, and UEFI variables.

Volume types and file systems

VM Import/Export supports importing Windows and Linux VMs with the following file systems:

Windows

GUID Partition Table (GPT) and Master Boot Record (MBR) partitioned volumes that are formatted using the NTFS file system are supported. If no boot parameter is specified, and the VM is compatible in both boot modes, the GPT volumes will be converted to MBR partitioned volumes.

Note

VM Import/Export will automatically detect the boot modes your Windows VM is compatible with. If the Windows VM is only compatible in a single boot mode, you don't need to specify a specific --boot-mode parameter.

If your Windows VM is compatible with both boot modes, and the following criteria is met for the imported disk, VM Import/Export will select Legacy BIOS by default. You can specify uefi for the --boot-mode parameter to override this behavior.

  • The disk is smaller than 2 terabytes

  • The disk does not contain more than 4 primary partitions

  • The disk is not a Windows dynamic disk

  • The file format is VHDX

Linux/Unix

MBR partitioned volumes and GUID Partition Table (GPT) partitioned volumes that are formatted using the ext2, ext3, ext4, Btrfs, JFS, or XFS file system are supported.

Important

Btrfs subvolumes are not supported.

Limitations

The following limitations apply to the virtual machines and volumes that you perform import and export processes on.

Importing VMs to Amazon EC2

When you import a VM into Amazon EC2, the following limitations apply.

General
  • VMs that are created as the result of a physical-to-virtual (P2V) conversion are not supported. A P2V conversion occurs when a disk image is created by performing a Linux or Windows installation process on a physical machine and then importing a copy of that Linux or Windows installation to a VM.

  • Importing VMs with dual-boot configurations is not supported.

  • VM Import/Export doesn't support VMs that use Raw Device Mapping (RDM). Only VMDK disk images are supported.

  • VM Import/Export doesn't support VMware SEsparse delta-file format.

  • If you import a VM that's compatible with UEFI using the import-image command while specifying an EBS snapshot, you must specify a value for the platform parameter. For more information, see import-snapshot in the Amazon EC2 API Reference.

  • An imported VM may fail to boot if the root partition is not on the same virtual hard drive as the MBR.

  • A VM import task fails for VMs with more than 21 volumes attached. Additional disks can be individually imported using the ImportSnapshot API.

  • VM Import/Export assigns only private IPv4 addresses to your instances, regardless of the auto-assign public IP setting for the subnet. To use a public IPv4 address, you can allocate an Elastic IP address to your account and associate it with your instance. You can also add IPv6 addresses. For more information, see IP addressing for your VPCs and subnets in the Amazon Virtual Private Cloud User Guide.

  • Multiple network interfaces are not currently supported. After import, your VM has a single virtual network interface that uses DHCP to assign addresses.

  • Disk images must be less than 16 TiB. For disk images that are larger than 8 TiB, you must use a manifest file.

    • You can use the ImportInstance operation to import VMs with disks up to the maximum supported size.

    • You can use the ImportImage operation to import VMs with disks less than 8 TiB in size.

Windows
  • When preparing Windows VMs for import, make sure that there is sufficient disk space available on the root volume for installing drivers and other software. For Microsoft Windows VMs, configure a fixed page file size and ensure that there is at least 6 GiB of free space available on the root volume. If Windows is configured to use the "Automatically manage paging file size for all drives" setting, it might create 16 GB pagefile.sys files on the C drive of the instance.

  • If you import a Windows VM compatible with UEFI, we convert GPT boot volumes to MBR if the following are true: the image format is VHDX, the uncompressed size is 2 TiB or smaller, there are no more than three primary partitions, and the volume is not a dynamic disk.

  • If you import a Windows Server 2012 R2 VM, VM Import/Export installs the single root I/O virtualization (SR-IOV) drivers. These drivers are not required unless you plan to use enhanced networking, which provides higher performance (packets per second), lower latency, and lower jitter.

  • VM Import/Export does not support Emergency Management Services (EMS). If EMS is enabled for a source Windows VM, we disable it in the imported image.

  • Windows language packs that use UTF-16 (or non-ASCII) characters are not supported for import. We recommend using the English language pack when importing Windows VMs.

  • Windows Server VMs with the Hyper-V server role installed are not supported.

Linux
  • Imported Linux VMs must use 64-bit images. Migrating 32-bit Linux images is not supported.

  • Imported Linux VMs should use default kernels for best results. VMs that use custom Linux kernels might not migrate successfully.

  • When preparing Linux VMs for import, make sure that there is sufficient disk space available on the root volume for installing drivers and other software.

  • To help ensure your Linux VM can import successfully and run on Amazon EC2 using the Amazon Nitro System, you can install the Amazon NVMe and Amazon Elastic Network Adapter (ENA) drivers before exporting your VM from its virtualization environment. For more information, see Amazon EBS and NVMe on Linux instances and Enable enhanced networking with the Elastic Network Adapter (ENA) on Linux instances in the Amazon EC2 User Guide for Linux Instances.

  • If you import a Linux VM compatible with UEFI, you must have a fallback EFI binary, BOOTX64.EFI, located on the EFI System Partition.

  • Predictable network interface names are not supported for virtual machine imports.