AWS Application Discovery Service
User Guide

What Is AWS Application Discovery Service?

AWS Application Discovery Service helps you plan application migration projects by automatically identifying servers, virtual machines (VMs), software, and software dependencies running in your on-premises data centers. Application Discovery Service also collects application performance data, which can help you assess the outcome of your migration. The data collected by Application Discovery Service is securely retained in an AWS-hosted and managed database in the cloud. You can export the data as a CSV or XML file into your preferred visualization tool or cloud-migration solution to plan your migration. For more information, see AWS Application Discovery Service FAQ.

Application Discovery Service offers two modes of operation:

  • Agentless discovery mode is recommended for environments that use VMware vCenter Server. This mode doesn't require you to install an agent on each host. Agentless discovery gathers server information regardless of the operating systems, which minimizes the time required for initial on-premises infrastructure assessment. Agentless discovery doesn't collect information about software and software dependencies. It also doesn't work in non-VMware environments.

  • Agent-based discovery mode collects a richer set of data than agentless discovery by using Amazon software, the AWS Application Discovery Agent, which you install on one or more hosts in your data center. The agent captures infrastructure and application information, including an inventory of installed software applications, system and process performance, resource utilization, and network dependencies between workloads. The information collected by agents is secured at rest and in transit to the Application Discovery Service database in the cloud.

We recommend that you use agent-based discovery for non-VMware environments and to collect information about software and software dependencies. You can also run agent-based and agentless discovery simultaneously. Use agentless discovery to quickly complete the initial infrastructure assessment and then install agents on select hosts.

Application Discovery Service integrates with application discovery solutions from AWS Partner Network (APN) partners. Third-party application discovery tools can query Application Discovery Service and write to the Application Discovery Service database using a public API. You can then import the data into either a visualization tool or cloud-migration solution.


Application Discovery Service doesn't gather sensitive information. All data is handled according to the AWS Privacy Policy. You can operate Application Discovery Service offline to inspect collected data before it is shared with the service.

For more information about the data that Application Discovery Service collects, see AWS Application Discovery Service Components.


Agentless discovery is compatible only with VMware vCenter Server.

Agent-based discovery is compatible with the following operating systems.


  • Ubuntu 14

  • Amazon Linux 2012.03 or 2015.03

  • Centos 6 or 7

  • Redhat 6 or 7

Microsoft Windows

Firewall Configuration

The AWS Application Discovery Agent requires outbound access to It does not require any inbound ports to be open. Agents also work with transparent web proxies.

You have the flexibility to choose the discovery and migration tools that you need by integrating with AWS Partner tools using the Application Discovery Service API. For more information, see the Application Discovery Service API Reference.

After completing discovery of your virtualized inventory, use AWS Server Migration Service to perform an incremental, automated migration of your VMs to the Amazon EC2 cloud. For information, see the AWS SMS User Guide.

You can use the AWS VM Import/Export tools to import VM images manually from your local virtualization environment into AWS and convert them into ready-to-use Amazon EC2 Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) or instances. For more information, see Importing a VM as an Instance Using VM Import/Export.

Accessing Application Discovery Service

Application Discovery Service supports the following command line and programmatic access options:

AWS Command Line Interface

The AWS CLI provides commands for a broad set of AWS products. It is supported on Windows, Mac, and Linux. For more information, see AWS Command Line Interface User Guide.

Application Discovery Service API

You can use the Application Discovery Service API to manage software agents in your data center, query discovered assets, categorize discovered assets using tags, and export data. Application Discovery Service uses JavaScript Object Notation format (JSON) to send and receive formatted data. JSON presents data in a hierarchy so that both data values and data structure are conveyed simultaneously. For more information, see the Application Discovery Service API Reference.

AWS SDKs and tools

If you prefer to build applications using language-specific APIs instead of submitting a request over HTTP or HTTPS, AWS provides libraries, sample code, tutorials, and other resources for software developers. These libraries provide basic functions that automate tasks such as cryptographically signing your requests, retrying requests, and handling error responses, making it is easier for you to get started. For more information, see Tools for Amazon Web Services.


Application Discovery Service has the following limitations for agentless and agent-based discovery.

Agentless discovery

The service limits you to 10 GB of data per day. If you reach this limit, the service won't process any more data for that day. If you frequently reach this limit, contact AWS Support about extending the limit.

Agent-based discovery

Agent-based discovery currently has the following limitations.

  • The AWS Application Discovery Agent does not support Linux environments with non-standard Ethernet naming conventions. The system requires an eth0 adapter.

  • The service enforces the following maximum limits:

    • 250 active agents (agents that are collecting and sending data to Application Discovery Service in the cloud).

    • 10,000 inactive agents (agents that are responsive but not collecting data).

    • 10 GB of data per day (collected by all agents associated with a given AWS account).

    • 90 days of data storage (after which the data is purged).