Migration to the public cloud should be considered a strategic move, which includes reviewing and planning each of the steps in advance of migration so your organization enjoys a smooth transition. You have to consider all the different subsystems, including storage, compute, and network, as well as different IT management aspects (for example, security, availability, and cost). This approach allows you to adequately prepare your team members in advance for the migration and what it means for them and their workloads.
Why do we need to migrate now?
Migration may seem like a technical decision, but at its core this is a business decision. Ultimately, it begs a fundamental question: what’s driving your business to migrate to the cloud, and why now? The benefits of cloud are universal – reduced running costs, faster modernization capabilities and increased security. But often, specific initiators first kick off the discussion within an organization, including:
- Operational efficiencies and reduction of operating expenses
- Decreased time to market/release
- Support for scalability requirements that are more cost effective.
- Renewal of datacenter or hardware leasing
- Renewal of licensing.
- Application development and modernization
What are the benefits migrate to Azure Cloud?
- A Global Network – as one of the most widespread cloud providers in the world, Microsoft Azure has created an expansive global network to support their clients from any region.
- High Availability – The global Microsoft Azure network also lends itself to high availability, minimizing the risk of downtime, fraud, or failing hardware that can often come with the use of a single data center.
- Disaster Recovery – Microsoft's disaster recovery system is designed to help your business keep operating, even during outages.
- Agility – Azure's migration tools can make migration quick and easy, allowing your organization to not only complete your migration quickly but start achieving long-term value at a faster pace.
- Compliance – Azure offers more than 90 compliance certifications and more than 35 industry-specific certifications spanning from healthcare to finance, government, and more.
- Security – Microsoft's extensive library of security tools are designed to help you analyze and react to security threats before they make it to your system.
- Seamless Microsoft Integration – For members already utilizing Microsoft products and tools, Azure can be a less expensive route with quick and seamless integration into your existing system.
Azure Cloud Migration Process
The following are the advised by Microsoft for migrating an application and workload to the Azure cloud.
This is a key success factors for migration to Azure cloud, evaluate applications to see how suitable they are for a cloud environment and what changes you will need to make to allow them to run in the cloud.
- Create a Migration Plan: Create a detailed plan of what you hope to achieve your migration, with particular emphasis on the organizational outcomes that wait on the other side.
- Discover: Discovery involves identifying all existing workloads and applications in your infrastructure so you can prepare them for migration. Use cloud migration assessment tools and compile the inventory of your existing physical and virtual servers in the existing environment, which should also include information and performance of your applications.
- Map: Map your servers depending on their suitability to on-premises applications and group them accordingly to represent their relevant applications. This helps you get a complete idea of those applications and their dependencies on each other.
- Evaluate: Calculating the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of your existing system will help you establish a baseline for comparison with your projected costs in the cloud. And then check what suitable migration strategy. This requires cloud migration assessment tools to learn Azure recommendations and migration strategies.
Your migration could require you to run parallel and iterative migration processes as you progressively move your applications and workloads to the cloud. Whether your migration is simple or complex, it’s helpful to think of the basic elements of the process. Migration can be boiled down to three main phases, as illustrated in the model below.
Here are the factors that you need to consider.
- Rehost. Also referred to as ‘lift and shift’, this stage entails migrating your physical servers and virtual machines as-is to the cloud.
- Refactor. Inject your code and run your application on top of the cloud.
- Revise (rearchitect). Modify or extend existing code to fit the new cloud environment.
- Rebuild. Discard code for an existing application and rearchitect the application on top of the cloud. Revise the existing application by aggressively adopting PaaS or even software as a service (SaaS) services and architecture.
- Replace. Is the simplest to understand. This refers to moving or discarding an existing application and replacing it with commercial software delivered as a service, or SaaS. SaaS provides a complete software solution that you purchase on a pay-as-you-go basis from a cloud service provider.
Choosing the right method depends on your company’s area of focus and strategy. Are you a mobile, web, or software developer-oriented company? If so, you might be better off choosing Azure PaaS offerings such as Azure App Services, which provide serverless architecture capabilities. This way, R&D teams can concentrate on innovation, as opposed to maintenance.
Even after an application is deployed on the cloud and working as expected, you should continuously monitor the application and see how to improve it.
- Analyze: Use Azure Cost Management and analyze your cloud spending in more efficiently with accuracy and extended transparency. This can help you plan your investment further!
- Save: Deal effectively with your migrated environment to fit in workloads using Azure’s unique offerings such as Azure Hybrid Benefit and Azure Reserved Virtual Machine Instances.
- Re-Invest: Enjoy the flexibility that Azure offers to modify, secure or make advancements to your migrated and existing workloads, turning that into savings.
Secure and Manage Phase
Continuing to reap the benefits of your cloud migration overtime will require strict security and maintenance across all applications.
- Security: understand the security posture of the new cloud-based application, test to ensure security measures are working, and respond to anomalies and incidents. Become familiar with Azure’s comprehensive security recommendations and tools.
- Data protection: put protective measures in place—backup, disaster recovery, encryption and other measures suitable for your compliance requirements and business risks. Azure provides multiple services and mechanisms to protect your data.
- Monitoring: recognize that cloud environments are dynamic, and performance is not static and not guaranteed. Monitor performance of compute and data services and use tools like the Azure Traffic Manager, NewRelic or AppDynamics to perform real-user monitoring.
The challenges in data migration to the cloud
Most data migration challenges can be mitigated by using the right migration tools and best practices, which are available through most major cloud providers. Here are some of the challenges, followed by solutions to address them:
- Loss of data during migration.
- Semantics risks, where there are differences in data measurement units between legacy and new systems.
- Corruption, when data integrity is eroded because of format or content differences between legacy and new systems.
- Interference, when legacy data is changed or updated as it's being migrated.
Reduce the risks of data migration challenges with these solutions:
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