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Application Migration to Azure

Application migration to Azure can be both important and complex. Microsoft Azure offers businesses ways to utilize highly functional cloud services, such as cloud infrastructure and cloud platform tools that can aid in development, enable fast deployment of applications, and more. Still, there are several steps organizations may need to take in order to successfully migrate applications to Azure, Microsoft’s cloud platform. What’s more, businesses and other organizations may need to determine how they can best approach efforts to migrate an application to Azure. 

There are different approaches to application migration–the viability of each potentially hinges on factors such as the nature of the application, the needs of the organization, and others. Organizations may need to carefully evaluate options in order to determine the ideal method of migration, as there are many methods for migrating existing applications. 

These can range from moving applications directly to Azure without making many, if any, changes to them–an approach known sometimes as Azure lift and shift–to rebuilding applications entirely in Azure. Which approach an organization takes may depend on their needs, and they may consider factors such as how quickly they need to migrate, how ready an application is for Azure, and others. 

Fortunately, there are many tools available that organizations can use to better plan and carry out an application migration to Azure. Many of these tools are available through Azure Migrate, offered by Microsoft. Organizations often seek cloud migration services from a service provider and may choose to work with specialized infrastructure-as-as-service companies, such as Skytap which allows companies to lift and shift specialized workloads such as IBM Power to Azure without refactoring or rewriting applications. 

The benefits of cloud computing solutions may be some of the drivers of an organization’s application migration to Azure. Cloud computing can enable organizations to carry out vital tasks without the need to maintain on-premises systems. For some organizations, this arrangement can be highly beneficial, enabling them to outsource the management of critical infrastructure and other computing services. 

This arrangement, which may offer higher flexibility, can also help organizations quickly deploy even very large systems. For organizations that seek to quickly build and deploy applications, existing application migration to the cloud may be a primary consideration. Other potential benefits of adopting cloud computing services from Azure might include robust security, ease of development through an ecosystem rich with easily integrated development tools, and access to highly capable cloud-based infrastructure. 

Azure Migration Strategies

Organizations seeking to migrate applications to Azure will need to determine how they can best plan for and carry out the migration. There are several distinct types of Azure migration strategies that organizations might use. Though application migration of different applications to Azure might look different, we’ll explore what Azure application migration, step-by-step, might look like. We’ll also examine some of the common Azure migration strategies that organizations might use and Azure migration best practices.

An organization’s cloud migration strategy might be based on what their needs are, as well as how cloud services might work best for them. When migrating applications and workloads to Azure, organizations often take one of 4 main approaches. These are often conceptualized based on how much modification must be made to an application prior to its migration to Azure. These are four possible migration strategies:

Rehost: sometimes simply referred to as “lift and shift’ this approach involves moving an application to Azure while making only minimal, if any, changes to the application. This is particularly ideal for applications which are already highly compatible with Azure or for business-critical applications where disrupting them presents a high level of risk for the organization. 

Refactor: this process involves making some changes to an application’s code, often in order to enable it to make better use of Azure cloud infrastructure or development tools available in Azure. These are generally minor changes that don’t dramatically change an application. 

Rearchitect: this strategy involves drastically altering applications in order to enable them to work better with cloud architecture. This might be done in order to allow applications to make use of more modern technology and integrations. 

Rebuild: Rather than making changes to an application to enable it to work well with cloud architecture; some organizations may opt to rebuild new applications entirely in Azure. While this option can be the most intensive, it also may enable organizations to significantly modernize their workloads and increase efficiency. 

However organizations choose to approach the matter of migration strategies, there are a few common steps that should be taken in order to ensure that migration is as effective as possible. Firstly, organizations will need to make assessments. This step can help organizations determine what their Azure migration checklists may look like. For example, an on-premise to Azure checklist might include on-premise workloads that need to be migrated. Next, organizations must migrate necessary workloads to Azure. Then, migrated applications must be tested and optimized. 

On-Prem to Azure Migration Tools

Importantly, organizations developing on-premises to Azure cloud migration strategy will need to determine prerequisites for migration, which tools they might use to help with migration, and develop a cloud migration checklist that accounts for each necessary component of migration. These tools can help organizations migrate applications to Azure by enabling them to identify migration prerequisites, create migration goals, and assess on-premises systems in order to determine what will need to be migrated, what will need to be modified before migration, and more. 

Depending on the needs of the organization and what workloads need to be migrated to Azure, Azure migration prerequisites may vary. The tools that are most useful for migration also may vary. 

Azure migration architecture can support many types of workloads, so organizations may have plenty of options. On-premise to Azure migration step by step might look like an organization first running analysis to determine whether migrating certain workloads would be cost-effective and enable more efficient operations. Then, tools available through Azure migration may be used to better understand what on-premise systems must be migrated. Some systems may serve as dependencies and need to be migrated along with certain workloads. Next, an organization might build a cloud migration checklist. 

This checklist might vary depending on what the organization hopes to accomplish and the nature of its existing workloads. For example, Azure lift and shift migration steps may be simple compared to migration steps necessary for an application that must be rebuilt in or for Azure. An on-premise to Azure migration checklist might include on-premises workloads but also their dependencies. On-prem to Azure migration tools can help you identify these crucial systems to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks during migration. 

After creating a checklist and identifying steps that must be taken to successfully migrate applications to Azure, organizations can begin actually migrating applications and other related workloads to Azure. This can be a lengthy process that involves careful analysis and planning. As such, many migration tools are aimed at helping organizations most efficiently carry out migrations.  

There are many reasons why organizations might move from on-premises systems to cloud-based systems. When it comes to on-prem vs. cloud systems, there are potential advantages and disadvantages to both; an Azure cloud migration case study or other similar data may help organizations better determine whether on-prem migration is right for them. 

Legacy Application Migration

One important challenge organizations may face when migrating applications to Azure is the task of migrating legacy applications. These legacy applications may pose challenges such as security risks and poor compatibility with newer technologies and systems. As cloud migration can be an effective way for organizations to address certain important pitfalls associated with legacy applications, such as security risks, high costs to operate, and inefficiencies, successful migration of legacy applications may be an important Azure migration goal for some organizations. 

There are a range of potential reasons why an organization may wish to migrate legacy systems to the cloud. One reason may be that it could be more cost-effective to run legacy applications on cloud-based infrastructure. Another may be the possibility of online deployment of legacy systems. Still, some organizations may just wish to migrate data from legacy systems to Azure as these workloads and applications represent deep investments from organizations. Rebuilding them natively in the cloud can be costly, risky and time consuming. Migrating legacy systems to the cloud as-is can be a time and cost efficient way to unlock cloud value for existing investments. 

Cloud migration project plans may include legacy data migration, legacy application migration, and other migrations that may necessitate the use of careful planning and even the use of certain cloud migration tools. An on-premise to Azure migration checklist for legacy systems may include even more analysis in order to determine whether legacy systems are worth migrating.

What’s more, any on-premise dependencies tied to legacy systems that are being migrated, may also need to be migrated or otherwise addressed through cloud infrastructure management. Cloud service providers may offer varying levels of support for legacy migrations. Azure offers cloud migration tools such as Azure Migrate, for example, that can be used to help organizations determine which legacy applications may need to be migrated, as well as what dependencies they have.

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