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.

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.

Operating systems

The following operating systems (OS) can be imported to and exported from Amazon EC2.

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 -
Debian 6.0.0–6.0.8 2.6.32 -
7.0.0–7.8.0 3.2 -
Fedora 18 3.2.5
19 3.9.5 -
20 3.11.10 -
21 3.17.4 -
Oracle Linux 5.10–5.11 el5uek kernel suffixes -
6.1–6.10

RHEL-compatible kernels 2.6.32, 2.6.39

UEK kernels 3.8.13, 4.1.12

-
7.0–7.6

RHEL compatible kernel 3.10.0

UEK kernels 3.8.13, 4.1.12, 4.14.35, 4.15, 5.4.17

-
Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5 2.6.18 -
6 2.6.32 -
7 3.10.0 -
8.0–8.2 4.18.0 -
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
Ubuntu 12.04 3.2 -
12.10 3.5 -
13.04 3.8 -
13.10 3.11 -
14.04 3.13, 3.16, 3.19 -
14.10 3.16 -
15.04 3.19 -
16.04 4.2, 4.4, 4.8, 4.10, 4.15 -
16.10 4.8 -
17.04 4.10 -
18.04 4.15, 5.4 -
20.04 5.4 -

Windows OS

Operating system Edition Bit version Available with non-default Regions
Microsoft Windows Server 2003 (Service Pack 1 or later) Standard, Datacenter, Enterprise 32, 64 No
Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard, Datacenter, Enterprise 32, 64 No
Microsoft Windows Server 2008 Standard, Datacenter, Enterprise 32, 64 No
Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard, Web Server, Datacenter, Enterprise 64 Yes 5
Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Standard, Datacenter 64 Yes 5
Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard, Datacenter 64 Yes 5
Microsoft Windows Server 2016 Standard, Datacenter 3 64 Yes 5
Microsoft Windows Server 1709 Standard, Datacenter 64 Yes 5
Microsoft Windows Server 1803 Standard, Datacenter 64 Yes 5
Microsoft Windows Server 2019 Standard, Datacenter 64 Yes 5
Microsoft Windows 7 1 Home, Professional, Enterprise, Ultimate 32, 64 4 Yes 5
Microsoft Windows 8 1 Home, Professional, Enterprise 32, 64 4 Yes 5
Microsoft Windows 8.1 1 Professional, Enterprise 64 Yes 5
Microsoft Windows 10 1 Home, Professional, Enterprise, Education 64 Yes 5
Microsoft Windows 11 1,2 Home, Professional, Enterprise, Education 64 Yes 5,6

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 11 is not supported in the Asia Pacific (Jakarta) Region.

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.

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.