As internet technology augments business capabilities and new ways of operations are introduced that are powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT), it is a logical next step for businesses to migrate to cloud. In almost a decade since cloud computing first forayed in the markets, it has become an accessible system that is a necessity for businesses of all sizes – large, medium, and small. So, the question is no longer – “do I need cloud?”, It is “Which is the best cloud?”; whereas the relevant question should be “which is the best cloud for my business?” Microsoft’s Azure cloud migration is one of the most sought after option for many firms because it offers services such as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), and Platform as a Service (PaaS).
Microsoft Azure is among the most secure public cloud platform as it is progressively evolved by Microsoft’s security teams. It uses the Intelligent Security Graph, a global data and telemetry powered security framework. This ensures data protection and consistent performance even as the resources are scaled up. Azure cloud migration is accessible and useful for growing businesses as a public cloud platform.
Migrating the business data center to an IaaS platform like Azure is a big move with many benefits such as business agility, increase productivity and reduced costs.
Benefits of Migration to Microsoft Azure
1. Easy scalability
2. Reduced infrastructure cost
3. Best global data security standards
4. High return on investment
5. Reduced IT management and maintenance cost
6. Pay as you use
Why should you choose Microsoft Azure for your business?
Whether you are planning to migrate entirely to cloud or maintaining a hybrid infrastructure, Microsoft Azure will easily fit in with your business operations. Some pertinent reasons for choosing Microsoft Azure for your cloud needs are –
- Azure has the best IaaS enabling companies to outsource pay-for-what-you-use cloud computing subscription. Microsoft manages the security upgrades and maintenance of IT infrastructure. On-premise servers have to be upgraded every 5 years, which is heavy capital investment. With Azure, you can do away with the major IT infrastructure maintenance and upgrade costs.
- As per some studies, 40% businesses never fully recover from disasters that affect their business. Azure Site Recovery provides DRaaS (Disaster Recovery as a Service) to help minimize disaster repercussions.
- Azure provides security for Windows and Linux servers, cloud native applications data and protects your IoT environment. Your business is protected from on-premise and data center security breach as Azure is one of the most advanced and protected cloud service.
- Azure provides a fully integrated development platform for the company’s IoT to Microsoft Office suite for scaling and managing business critical processes. With Azure Migrate, organizations reduce integration failure risk and experience seamless continuity. The system has a fully integrated delivery pipeline that enables companies to increase efficiency of product upgrades and other changes.
- Whether you want to migrate your entire business to the cloud or want to maintain an on-premise server for business-critical, sensitive applications or data, Microsoft Azure can accommodate your preference with its Hybrid Cloud model.
- Azure cloud offers mobility to organizations in a secure space to facilitate remote access. This can be for critical business applications or data.
- Microsoft Azure is designed to ensure business continuity in the face of application redundancy. With Azure migration to cloud, business doesn’t have to bear the brunt of additional cost of additional IT staff or secondary hardware associated with redundancy solutions. They can get continued access to mission critical applications.
Understanding what Microsoft Azure migration entails
Microsoft recommends a four-step migration process –
1. Assess – discovery, mapping and evaluation of on-premise applications
2. Migrate – rehost, refactor, rearchitect and rebuild on-prem applications to Azure Cloud
3. Optimize – analyse, save, and reinvest resources
4. Secure and manage – protect data and applications with Azure’s Secure, data protection and monitoring options.
This is the gist of what will be happening; however, the process is not as straightforward as there will be numerous elements that should be taken into consideration to ensure that Azure fits in with your business goals. Hence, working closely with your Microsoft Azure Developers you must design Azure migration strategy for your business. The first step in the decision-making process is to decide whether you want to fully migrate to Azure or retain some business-critical data and applications on premise?
Points to ponder before Azure migration
- Applications and servers generally have other dependencies that must be taken into consideration before migration. While building the Azure Assessments and desig documents, use network analysis to detect system traffic to find the predictable bandwidth requirement for workloads that are moving to cloud.
- Microsoft Azure supports most licenses with its bring-your-own-licensing (BYOL) policy. Your Microsoft Azure Developers will guide you with the licensing position and how you can save costs with optimizations.
- If you are having concerns about data privacy and protection on a public cloud platform, then rest assured that data moved to Azure cloud is protected by Azure Information Protection. Another point to make note of before kickstarting Azure Migrate is an identity management strategy check and review of required compliance around migrated data and applications.
- For hybrid solution, where Azure subnets act as extensions of what is visible inside, existing monitoring software can be used. Azure SDK comes with a diagnostic API which provides additional insights with event logs, dumps, and traces. It can be used to setup automated alerts when various events are triggered and should be explored during design sessions.
- A good cloud migration plan needs provisions to continue workload protection, with backup and recovery solutions. Azure is great for replicated data and it can also protect production instances that run natively with geo-redundant recovery services.
Microsoft Azure cloud migration Process
In the first phase of on-premise to Azure cloud migration, you must clearly define the goals and objectives of the migration with complete executive buy-in at every step. Calculate your savings on moving the on-premise infrastructure to the cloud and keep the stake-holders in loop as they will provide direction and support for the project. Finally, create an inventory of all the applications including the physical and virtual servers that are running on-premise. This information will help in mapping servers and identify dependencies. It will also help in determining which apps to migrate to the cloud first and which will serve a foundation for the Microsoft Azure migration plan. You can refer to Azure Advisor for recommendation for high availability, security, performance, operational excellence, and costs. It will analyse the existing services and identify ways to improve the environment and enable IT departments and business decision-makers to understand which areas to focus on for services and cost optimization.
Rehost – it is called “lift and shift” migration as in this strategy applications are moved to the cloud without making any changes to them.
Refactor – it is also called “repackaging” because in this strategy migration requires application design adjustments before, they can be moved to cloud. It helps in modernizing the application programming before moving it to the cloud.
Rearchitect – Rearchitecting is much more complex and requires more refactoring as it allows or more modernization opportunities. In this strategy application’s code base is altered to make it “resilient, highly scalable, and independently deployable architecture.”
Rebuild – in this approach to Azure cloud migration apps are rebuilt from scratch using cloud-native technology. It is the most complex of the four strategies, but Azure provides “a complete development and deployment environment in the cloud.” In this stage the organization can incorporate new technologies for AI and IoT into the applications to provide leverage of modern technologies to speed the pace of business operations and growth.
Once the Azure cloud migration strategy is finalized and migration of on-premise environment to Azure is successfully completed, it is time for optimization. Microsoft Azure gives you the flexibility to optimize every aspect including cloud computing costs and business processes. You can use the Azure Migrate tool that is installed on the organization’s on-premise server and performs an assessment on what can be migrated to Azure, highlight the possible compatibility issues and how they can be resolved. You can use Azure cloud migration tools and do a P2V (Physical to Virtual) , V2V (Virtual to Virtual) migration to Azure. You can also create a new VM as per the desired specs and migrate data manually using Azure migration tools. For other servers, P2V and V2V can be used or a new server can be created to migrate data and application.
4. Secure and manage
In the final phase of Microsoft Azure migration process, it is time to reinforce security by selecting options form Microsoft’s extensive range of security capabilities and services to deliver advanced cloud security management. You can select from tools such as Azure Security Center or Azure Log Analytics to protect data in the cloud and monitor cloud health. With appropriate cloud security solution, you can ensure that your cloud environment is secure and operating at peak performance levels.
After the migration is completed, there will be parts of the internal system or co-location systems that can and should be decommissioned for better adaptation to the new cloud ecosystem. However, these cannot be simply uprooted, it involves a detailed process for on-site or co-location asset shutdown. Some resources will be allowed to continue running for a while as precaution and once the migration is successful, the Microsoft Azure Developers will phase out the internal resources. Globally, 90% of Fortune 500 companies are already using Microsoft Azure. If you are ready to push the bounds of your business and expand your existing IT infrastructure to the cloud, then Microsoft Azure’s cloud solution will facilitate a smooth platform to migrate legacy applications to cloud, deploy business-critical applications, and develop web and mobile apps. With a clearly defined strategy, enterprises must find dedicated Microsoft Azure Developers to help them leverage the Azure cloud services that would be best aligned with the business’ cloud migration goal and facilitate smooth transition of the business to cloud.