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Migrating Workloads (Applications, Data, Integration, Security, Infrastructure) to Azure Cloud Services – Do’s and Don’ts

10 March, 2021

Cloud

Azure Cloud Services have been embraced by businesses large and small in the wake of the 2020 onset of the pandemic. Azure provides the platform needed for secure work-from-home processes. In fact, even before COVID hit the world, companies were exploring the benefits of Azure and migrating their applications, data, and infrastructure into the cloud.

Why?

Because the cloud allows companies to take advantage of cost savings, increased cybersecurity, better mobile workflow, and the flexibility needed to stay relevant in a fluctuating marketplace.

Maybe you’re looking at moving away from expensive and aging in-house infrastructure and are considering a move into Azure cloud architecture. Before you do, you need to understand that there is a significant percentage of cloud migrations that fail. Fortunately, Pronix successfully handles migrations for clients every day. Let’s talk about the do’s and don’ts for Azure cloud migrations.

DON’TS

  1. Don’t Assume That the Cloud is Perfect

Although built with fail-safe measures and business continuity in mind, Azure – like any other platform - is not 100% perfect. Having said that, Azure is 99.999% reliable and is the cloud platform of choice for those running Microsoft productivity apps in their workflow.

There is always the potential of issues that arise in an Azure migration, but if you have done your homework, any such issues can be foreseen and resolved.

  1. Don’t Forget About Security

Your security policies are just as important in your Azure migration as they were in your on-site IT environment. Make sure that the policies you have in place are “cloud-friendly” and that you can maintain compliance with those policies at every step of the migration process. Once your assets are migrated to the cloud, your security tasks are not complete. Although Azure makes sure that their side of things is locked down, you have to engage in constant cybersecurity monitoring and incident response for your assets within Azure.

When doing the migration, your configurations need to be double and triple checked to verify settings and configurations. Azure Security Center and Azure Policy will be a help to you in this as you leverage their alerts and configuration enforcement features.  

Some of the other security functionalities that you need to have in place are:

  • Firewalls
  • Identity Management
  • Two-Factor Authentication
  • Encryption
  • Antivirus
  • Patching and Updates of OS and Apps
  1. Don’t Use Production Environments for Testing

One of the things that makes the cloud unique is the ability to use separate environments for varying purposes. You should deploy test environments that are isolated from your production environments. Any testing should be done in those separate environments before the product is moved to a production environment.

Your Azure environment should be set up with these testing environments starting with the initial design and should be near-perfect representations of your production environments to ensure that the product behaves the same in production as in testing.

  1. Don’t Leave Dependencies Out of the Picture

When you did your initial Azure migration assessment, you should have put together a list of dependencies such as applications that work together or databases that are critical to the utilization of an application. These dependencies must be taken into consideration in your migration stages.

  1. Don’t Forget Ongoing Cloud Asset Management

Even if you are successful in migrating your workflow into the cloud, your tasks are not complete. Azure does not manage anything within your virtual machine (your cloud-based infrastructure, applications, and databases) for you. You’re going to need a team like Pronix to care for the ongoing maintenance, optimization, and operational monitoring to help ensure that you can work at full speed.

  1. Don’t Neglect to Include Your 3rd Party Integrations

Integrations are a critical piece of your IT workflow. They allow you to access 3rd party applications and resources and give authorized 3rd parties access to your IT environment to play a role in your processes. When considering and planning your move into an Azure architecture, don’t neglect to plan for the incorporation of integrations within the cloud.

  1. Don’t Assume That Backup is Automatic

Just because you migrate your in-house assets into the cloud doesn’t mean that you never have to worry about doing backups again. It’s critical that you partner with a team of cloud migration professionals to set up automatic, verifiable backups. Some resources within Azure have default backup policies, but your storage accounts, virtual machines, and app services have to be configured.

DO’S

Now let’s explore some of the things that are important to a successful Azure migration.

  1. Get Professional, Experienced People on Your Side

Many companies believe that because they have five-star IT employees in their IT department that those IT professionals should be able to handle an Azure migration. Unfortunately, this recipe has been the downfall of many migration efforts. Although your in-house IT professionals are great at their jobs, they don’t do migrations every day, and therefore, don’t have the requisite experience for this specialized series of tasks.

  1. Determine Your Cloud Objectives

Why do you want to move to the cloud? What advantages are you trying to gain for your business? What are you trying to accomplish?

By identifying the goals (payoff) of the migration, your Azure migration specialists will be able to design the Azure environment to meet those aims.

  1. Take The Migration Step by Step

Unless your in-house IT systems are the most basic of basic, Pronix advises a phased approach to your migration. By moving workloads in stages into the cloud, will help reduce the risk of failure and will give breathing room to address issues with individual workload migrations instead of dealing with the whole of your IT environment.

  1. Conduct the Assessment and Planning Phases

Using Azure Migrate to help you identify dependencies and workloads and Data Migration Assistant to run assessments, your migration professionals will be able to build a migration roadmap. These initial steps are necessary to provide an accurate picture of your current IT infrastructure so it can be moved successfully into Azure.

  1. Use Automation and Scripting

Automation and scripting help eliminate the risk of human error from the migration process, enable asset management, and increase reliability.

  1. Choose the Azure SKUs that Will Deliver the Best Performance and Availability

An application’s features, availability, performance, and cost can be impacted by the SKUs chosen by your migration team. SKUs come in Basic, Standard, and Premium. Knowing which SKUs to use is a matter of training and experience. This is why a partnership with Azure specialists like those at Pronix is a good investment.

  1. Explore the Use of Cloud-Native Features for Your Applications

Rearchitecting and refactoring applications when you move them into the cloud can sometimes be very beneficial in terms of application resiliency, availability, and resource use in application management. Cloud-native features work better than on-premise app features because they have been designed for use within a cloud environment.

Want to talk to Pronix about conducting a successful Azure migration for your business? Give us a call or send an email to begin a no-obligation conversation.


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