AWS Application Discovery Service
User Guide

What Is AWS Application Discovery Service?

AWS Application Discovery Service collects and presents data to enable enterprise customers to understand the configuration, usage, and behavior of servers in their on-premises environment. Server data is stored securely by the service, where it can be tagged and grouped into applications to help with AWS migration planning. The data can be exported for analysis in Excel or other cloud migration analysis tools. 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. Agent-based discovery works in both VMware and non-virtualized environments.

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. For additional security, 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.