Migrating on-premise databases, VMware, and applications hosted on other cloud services, e.g., Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Google Cloud to Azure is a significant undertaking. Yet many companies make the switch without realizing all of the potential pitfalls.
While understanding the importance of having a strategy for businesses to enjoy the cloud benefits, migration without a strategy can be costly and may come with problems. According to one survey conducted, 74% of respondents moved at least one app back from the cloud to their infrastructure. The key drivers for this decision included poor performance and security (52%), temporary nature of cloud deployments (40%) and regulatory issues (21%).
If you’re new to building and deploying Azure applications, we’re here to help! We developed this Azure migrate step by step guide to walk you through the steps of a successful migration.
What is Azure Migration?
Azure migration is the process of moving on-premise or cloud workloads from other cloud providers to Azure. Usually, the goal behind this transition is to reduce cost and complexity while improving agility, security, and scalability. It’s also the case of multicloud technology that comprises public, private, and hybrid clouds or a combination of clouds to meet specific business workloads.
Additional benefits of migrating to Azure include:
- Taking advantage of Azure’s unique capabilities, such as serverless computing, container support, and artificial intelligence services.
- Azure offers a comprehensive set of built-in migration tools and services that can help simplify the migration process.
5 Reasons to Migrate to Azure as Your Primary Cloud Provider
Here’s a brief breakdown of the main reasons to migrate servers to Azure:
- Cost savings
- Increased security and compliance
- Improved performance
- Accessibility from anywhere in the world.
1. Cost savings
Moving to the cloud can be expensive at first. But over time, businesses save money by not having to manage their own physical servers. On-premise server running costs go for the thousands (can cost anything from $1000).
This cost can be broken down into:
- Hardware costs — $1000 to $4000
- Software costs — $500 — $4,000 for a Windows server
- Developer and maintenance costs — $200 to $900 for SQL Server
- Customer support — $10 — $20 per hour and a retainer worth $1000 per month
Microsoft Azure offers a cost-effective pay-as-you-go model. Businesses can pay for the resources that they need when they need them. Additionally, there is no need to purchase additional server hardware upfront.
2. Increased security & compliance
With Azure, your company’s sensitive data is kept safe by several layers of protection, including:
- Advanced 256-bit AES encryption.
- Azure Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA).
- Azure firewall.
- Identity management systems.
These systems keep your customer data safe from potential malware and unauthorized access. Azure also meets compliance certifications for companies in highly-regulated industries such as healthcare, finance and banking.
3. Easy integration & scalability
Microsoft Azure allows for easy integration with existing applications and services so that businesses can quickly migrate their workloads without disruption or downtime. And as your business grows over time, Azure scales up with you.
That way, you never have to worry about depleting processing power in a resource demand surge.
4. Improved performance & reliability
Because everything runs on remote servers hosted by Microsoft instead of on-premises hardware owned by your organization, there is less maintenance required from your end.
Migrating to Azure moves workloads and services closer to the customer, which, in turn, reduces latency. Together with Azure’s bigger storage capacity, your existing applications are able to deliver faster solutions to your customers.
5. Accessibility anywhere
Microsoft Azure’s cloud applications can be accessed from virtually anywhere in the world at any time. This makes virtual collaboration easier than ever for remote teams.
Global accessibility fosters efficient operations. Businesses are no longer tied down by physical server locations or geographic boundaries.
What to Consider Before Migrating to Azure Cloud?
A successful lift and shift migration to an Azure environment requires careful planning beforehand. This can be achieved by taking into account potential costs associated with licensing and usage fees, security compliance requirements, scalability limitations, and maintenance/support options.
Determine your goals
Successful migration to Azure begins with defining the goals for your project.
What do you want to achieve by migrating your workloads to the cloud? Are you looking for cost savings or performance improvement? Do you need scalability or flexibility? Sometimes cloud migration may not be the answer to what you need — and may not be worth it. Before you commit, weigh the pros and cons of the migration.
In any case, your cloud migration goals should be aligned with the company’s overall goals.
Costs & Licensing
Costs associated with cloud migration can vary greatly depending on your business needs. Consider looking into any licensing requirements for hosting certain software in the cloud. Thankfully, Microsoft provides a detailed pricing guide for all the costs and licenses for Azure migration tool licenses.
Support & Maintenance
Microsoft provides 24/7 support for its Azure services. Still, it is important for businesses migrating to the new platform to do their due diligence and understand the terms and conditions prior to the migration. Also, think about downtime (cutover) — the time when the service won’t be available. You need to have backup to minimize the risk of data loss.
Research the support options offered by Microsoft partners or third-party cloud migration engineering services that specialize in providing assistance with cloud migration. If any issues arise during or after migration, reliable support contacts will already be established beforehand.
Azure Migration: Strategy, Assessment, and Planning
As we advance deeper into our Azure migration guide, it’s important to point out that a successful migration narrows down to three activities: strategy, a step by step Azure migrate assessment, and planning.
A well-thought-out strategy covers every aspect of the migration process. In your strategy, take into account the following:
- Available personnel (in your internal or external IT development team)
- Availability of Azure resources (Azure Virtual Machines, Azure Virtual Network resources, Network security groups, databases, etc.)
Next, create a timeline that allows for realistic milestones throughout the process.
Are your applications suitable for a cloud environment? Will the migration bring any benefits to the organization? Regardless, you need to get in touch with all the stakeholders to keep everyone on the same page prior to the migration.
Your assessment should include:
- An analysis of your current infrastructure and applications.
- Potential challenges or issues that may arise during the transition.
- Current applications that may not be compatible with Azure.
- Applications that may need modifications to function properly in the cloud environment.
Microsoft’s Virtual Machine Readiness Assessment tool assesses your current infrastructure. It generates a report about what workloads can be moved and any issues that may arise during migration.
For a more robust solution, we recommend our full-scale legacy software and assessment services where we aim to achieve understanding of the legacy application, its security and performance status prior to the migration.
Azure Migration Planning
During this phase, you will need to:
- Determine which among your several tools and applications should be migrated first based on their importance, business priority, or complexity
- Develop a roadmap for the entire process.
- Consider data storage options as well as backup strategies in case something does go wrong during the transition.
It is also important to set up clear expectations with stakeholders so that everyone involved understands their role in the process.
6 Azure Migration Steps You Must be Aware of
At ModLogix, our Azure migration step by step process as usual starts with careful planning and attention to detail.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the six main Azure migration steps:
Step 1: Planning
Before embarking on any Azure migrate project, it’s important to evaluate the current infrastructure to determine its suitability for migration. Next, the migration should be aligned with your business goals, objectives, and your business processes.
For instance, are you looking for increased scalability? Or are you looking for improved performance?
Once we have identified your desired outcome, it’s time to jump on to the next step.
Step 2: Identify Your Resources
Resources in our context refer to the time and material resources will be required to make the migration process successful. What to assess:
- Whether additional hardware will be added to the on-premises data center.
- Available backups and disaster recovery.
- The data security measures.
Finding answers to these questions beforehand gives the sufficient time and information to develop a successful cloud migration strategy.
Step 3: Assess Your Existing Infrastructure
The third step in fulfilling your Azure migration checklist is to check the state of your existing infrastructure.
- What technologies are currently in use?
- Are there any potential compatibility issues that need to be addressed before migrating to Azure?
Taking stock of the current state of your IT environment will give you a better understanding of what changes need to be done before the migration.
Step 4: Develop the Migration Plan
Once all the required resources have been identified, it’s time to develop a detailed plan for executing the actual migration process. This includes creating timelines, assigning tasks, and reviewing processes and procedures — all with the goal of ensuring success at every stage.
A clear plan in place before starting any migration work will help ensure that all steps are completed on schedule and on budget.
Step 5: Monitor & Test During Migration
After developing the migration plan, it’s important to monitor progress during each stage of execution. We thoroughly test everything before going live with new applications or services running on Azure cloud architecture.
This is crucial for identifying any potential issues prior to launch or roll-out so they can be resolved quickly and efficiently. At the same time, we focus on minimizing downtime and loss of data integrity.
Step 6: Review & Update Post-Migration
The final step in executing an effective Azure migration is reviewing all systems post-migration. Occasional updates will be necessary. You can update the newly migrated code with the latest patches if needed. This ensures that all systems are working properly after being migrated and are able to perform optimally in their new environment.
That sums up the most important items that we include in our template of Azure cloud migration plan.
Plus, don’t forget to stay up-to-date with the latest updates from Microsoft; businesses can maximize service levels while minimizing risk factors associated with cyber threats or overpayments.
Challenges of Azure Migration Companies may Face
Migrating to Microsoft Azure can provide businesses with numerous benefits but also comes with its own set of challenges that must be addressed before moving forward with any Azure migration project plan.
Data security concerns must always be at the forefront when transferring information from an existing system into a new platform. Additionally, understanding the associated costs as well as potential compatibility issues are key factors in ensuring that the migration goes smoothly.
Read the full article on ModLogix.