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Migrate Applications and Data to Azure Cloud

10 February, 2021

Cloud

Companies around the world are making the move to embrace cloud technology. Microsoft has made cloud adoption seamless with Azure Cloud, Azure Migrate,and Azure Database Migration Service.

In this article, we will explore some of the reasons that businesses are moving workflow into the cloud and the process of application and data migrations.

Why Is Azure Cloud Infrastructure an Attractive Alternative to On-Site Servers?

For many years, companies chose to make significant up-front investments in on-premise servers and VPN technologies to remotely access those servers.

Things have changed.

Sure, COVID and the work-from-home necessities played a role, but only in turbo-boosting the digital transformation and cloud adoption that was already taking place across industry lines.

Today, business leaders choose to migrate workloads to Azure cloud for an array of reasons including:

  • Easy technology provisioning for remote workers
  • Flexibility
  • Mobility
  • Scalability
  • Simplification of digital transformation
  • Standardization of cybersecurity, controls, and compliance
  • Utilization of OPEX vs. CAPEX
  • Cost efficiencies

No matter what your reasons are for moving your business workflow (virtual machines, applications, and databases) into the cloud, you are certainly not alone in your desire to make the most of the advantages Azure cloud affords. Businesses large and small are making the choice to exclusively utilize cloud infrastructure; you’re in good company.

How to Migrate Applications and Databases to Azure Cloud – The Process in Simple Terms

It’s important to note from the outset that cloud migrations are not easy undertakings. In fact, according to a 2019 report by Unisys.com, 29% of cloud migrations failed to the threshold of “successful migrations” as determined by their organizational leadership.

The high rate of cloud migration “failure” (nearly 1/3) gives you a framework of the difficulty involved and the need for engagement with a team that is experienced in the migration of workloads into Azure. Pronix works with organizations of all sizes to help them achieve a successful migration that delivers on the cloud business benefits your organization is trying to achieve.

Let’s dive into the Azure cloud migration process.

A successful  migration is made up of four “stages”

  1. Assessment Stage
  2. Migration Stage
  3. Optimization Stage
  4. Monitoring Stage

The Assessment Stage

The assessment stage results in a report that you can deliver to your organizational leadership. This report outlines the path for the overall migration.

Within the assessment stage, a thorough review must be conducted of:

  • Applications
  • Servers
  • Services
  • Workflow processes
  • Machines – physical and virtual

In conjunction with this overall IT systems review, and concurrent effort must be undertaken to gather input from stakeholders at every level of the organization. Their feedback will provide valuable direction for the final configuration and function of your new, cloud-based assets.

From the review of IT assets, an inventory and dependency map is created that outlines the interrelation and communication between those assets.

In the assessment stage, you will have to lean on cloud migration specialists (such as the Pronix team) to help you understand and determine the migration option that best fits your requirements.

  • Replace
  • Rebuild
  • Rearchitect
  • Refactor
  • Rehost

Each of these options has associated pros and cons that must be examined and evaluated in respect to cost and end result.

The next step in the Assess Stage of migrations is to determine what tools you are going to use to make the migration a success. Fortunately, Microsoft has built out a full suite of Azure migration tools that include:

  • Azure Advisor
  • Azure Cost Management
  • Azure Database Migration Service
  • Azure Migrate
  • Azure Monitor
  • Azure Sentinel
  • Azure TCO Calculator
  • Data Migration Tool
  • Service Map

Once the consultation, evaluation, and determinations of the assessment stage have been completed, it’s time to move on to the action part of the migration itself.

The Migration Stage

Using Azure Migrate and Azure Database Migration Service, you can build out the resources you need in the Azure platform. Once those migration destinations have been established, you should start with the smaller pieces of your workload to ensure that you have correctly configured the migration process. Leave the bigger, mission-critical pieces until after you have proven your migration processes.

The migration process is slightly different for virtual machines, databases, and applications, but the overall steps are similar.

  • Step #1 – Get the on-site assets ready for the migration
  • Step #2 – Run the migration process
  • Step #3 – Validate that the migration has been successful
  • Step #4 – Fail-over to the cloud instance of the application/database/virtual machine
  • Step #5 – De-commission the on-site assets
  • Step #6 – Monitor the new cloud instance for proper functionality

The Optimization Stage

The optimization of your assets with the Azure cloud environment has two aspects.

  1. The hosting cost of your assets within the cloud
  2. The function of your assets within the cloud

Both aspects of optimization must be addressed at this stage.

The Azure Cost Management tool in conjunction with the Azure Advisor tool helps your cloud IT specialist determine what scenario within Azure is most cost-effective for the assets you have migrated. In addition, these tools can also give an indication as to the efficiency of your workloads within Azure. Considerations such as availability, security, performance, and potential improvement choices must be undertaken to help you get the most benefit from your migration and new infrastructure.

The Monitoring Stage

To determine how well – or how poorly – your IT assets are performing within Azure, Microsoft has developed a tool called Azure Monitor. Azure Monitor reflects the health and performance metrics of the virtual machines that are running your workloads. IT specialists can use this wealth of analytic data to make beneficial changes to your cloud-based workflow or to be alerted to any anomalies that may indicate a security/performance issue.

Looking for a team to guide you through or undertake an Azure migration for your company? Give the Pronix team a call. We have the experience and expertise to help you avoid migration failure.


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