Migrating IT infrastructure to the cloud platform such as Azure is a big step for small businesses. There are multiple advantages in the Azure Cloud Migration, such as better productivity, decreased costs and higher agility – but getting there could be a daunting task. This article gives a brief overview of achieving a successful Azure migration, focusing on every step of the migration process.
Different phases in Azure Migration
Moving the company to Azure follows the below four steps:
- Discover: List all your software and workloads
- Assess: Categorize software applications and workloads
- Identify: Find the destination(s) for each of your workloads
- Migrate: Get the cloud migration moving forward
First, it is important to identify all the existing workloads and applications in your infrastructure to prepare for the migration. The discovery process should include every infrastructure in the enterprise, irrespective of the classification of resources. This initial process may seem tedious, but it is critical to success. The applications and workloads which are missed in this audit can later become a headache, so make sure your application inventory is up-to-date.
Below are the things to do during the preparation phase:
To ensure the same performance of your IT infrastructure after moving to the cloud, and to assure the security and stability, you need to analyze your on-premises workloads in a virtual or physical environment and then compare them to similar resources in Azure. Make sure to take care of the networking requirements like how many subnets would be required, or whether your DNS servers would be configured via Active Directory.
Buying new storage facilities every time you reach a limit can be burdening. There are two types of Azure storage to consider depending on the data type.
- Standard vs. premium: The standard Azure storage choice has a specific IOPS (Input/output operations per second) maximum for each virtual disk. In the case of premium storage, the system delivers high-performance and ensures low-latency in virtual machines with high workloads.
- Hot vs. cold: Depending on how users access your data, Azure stores the data. A multi-temperature data management framework can help to bring down the costs. Here, hot data (frequently accessed data) would need fast storage, while cold data (rarely obtained data) would need slow storage.
Investigating Azure functionalities
The cloud provides instant access to computing resources and other enhancement features. During the planning phase, it is a good idea to look into the Azure Autoscale option. This feature dynamically scales applications to meet the changing requirements.
Azure virtual machines is another option to facilitate control over the cloud environment. An Azure VM provides the comfort of virtualization without the need to purchase and maintain costly physical hardware.
Once you have a good understanding of Azure’s functionalities and your migration plan, it’s time to evaluate your current IT infrastructure. Here are some tools to help in the assessment:
Azure Migration Tools
These tools can help you to inspect your on-premises applications automatically. The assessment can be carried out on both physical and virtual applications. It acts as a checklist for moving your workloads to the cloud. The tools generate a report listing the workloads that can be moved. It also reveals which applications need further investigation before the migration. The report provides a solution to resolve the pre-migration issues and prepare the workload for the migration.
Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) toolkit
The MAP Toolkit is an assessment and reporting tool to securely evaluate IT environments for various platform migrations including Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7, Office 365, Office 2013, Office 2010, Windows Server 2012 and Windows 2012 R2, SQL Server 2014, Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track, Hyper-V, and Azure.
The above two tools enable you to review and document your applications, processes and workloads and processes, including:
- IT Infrastructure: The assessment and mapping tools help to map your physical and virtual system configurations to an equivalent Azure instance. You can also evaluate specifications like the required number of processors and disk size.
- Network Architecture: Estimating the network architecture and capacity will help you find the bandwidth required for applications operating on Azure.
- Performance Requirements: It is good to know the ideal IOPS rate to avoid delays and yield high performance in the new Azure environment.
- High Resilience and Recovery: A system robust to failure situations is always necessary. Perform detailed documentation of your disaster resiliency configurations, recovery processes, and recovery time objectives to ensure data restoration in the cloud environment.
- Maintenance: Learn the maintenance procedures required for effective operation of your IT systems post Azure migration.
Once the existing IT environment is completely reviewed, then the next step would be to focus on how to map the servers on Azure.
The three most probable targets for the workloads are:
A Cloud OS Network
When it comes to communication and productivity-related workloads, the migration destination would be Office 365. This includes moving the email systems to Microsoft Exchange Online, document management systems to SharePoint Online, and messaging and video applications to Microsoft Teams.
Considering the unpredictable nature of internet latency is important. Many organizations prefer to migrate non-critical VMs to less expensive cloud platforms. And, they would move the critical VMs to robust cloud platforms which wouldn’t require frequent communications with other resources.
Check if the workload you wish to migrate is running on an Azure-supported operating system. Also, ensure that the VM you’re migrating doesn’t exceed 32 cores or the maximum 448GB allowable memory.
After auditing and preparing your existing workloads and applications, you’re ready to migrate to Azure. Now you can spend quality time reviewing the best practices, and analyzing the available migration tools. But the potential savings are not worth the risk focusing on complex cloud migration without the right expertise.