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Azure Cloud Migration

Cloud migration is the process of moving on-premise data centers and applications to one or more public cloud provider’s servers. Keep reading to learn more about Azure cloud migration, how the process works, and more. 

Azure cloud migration refers to moving on-site hardware, databases, VMware, and apps hosted on other cloud services, such as Google Cloud, to Microsoft Azure. More and more businesses around the world are investing in Azure cloud migration with the help of Azure migration assistants and Azure step-by-step assessments. 

Cloud migration can have a vast array of benefits for all types of organizations. However, it’s important to realize what a significant undertaking this process can be before beginning. Businesses that begin the process with an Azure migration assessment questionnaire or use an Azure migration discovery and assessment tool often have an easier time making the switch. 

Usually, the primary goal of Azure cloud migration assessment tools is to ensure that it’s the right option for your business. Ideally, it will help your organization cut costs and simplify processes while increasing agility, security, and scalability. Migrating to Azure also allows organizations to benefit from many of the unique features of Azure, including serverless computing and AI and Machine Learning services. Once businesses have made the shift, they have the freedom to build, oversee, and deploy apps on a huge, global network, all while using their choice of tools and frameworks. 

In addition to benefiting from improved cost efficiency, enhanced mobility, and greater compatibility with other tools, Azure Cloud migration also offers an increased level of disaster preparedness. Azure’s set of on-demand cloud services makes it one of the best options for reliable cloud migrations. Azure offers everything organizations need to store and manage large amounts of data while also greatly improving their online security. 

Cloud Migration Strategy

In order to ensure a successful migration, it’s essential to have an Azure cloud migration strategy in place. Making this shift requires careful planning. It’s helpful to have an Azure migration checklist on hand as you go through the process. Start with a thorough understanding of what Azure cloud migration actually is and how the Microsoft Azure Cloud works. 

A good strategy should outline your on-premise to Azure cloud migration step-by-step so that there are no surprises along the way. This will be the plan that you refer to as your organization moves data, services, apps, and other infrastructure resources, from on-site to the cloud or from one cloud to another. 

There are 4 general types of cloud migration strategy:

  • Rehosting: Also called “lift and shift”, this involves moving a direct copy of existing infrastructure onto the cloud. This can offer a low-risk, least change path to the cloud for business-critical applications.
  • Replatforming: This involves moving your existing infrastructure and making the bare minimum changes necessary to make for an easier transition and long-term scalability. 
  • Repurchasing: When all or part of a legacy architecture has become too expensive or too difficult to manage and scale, this option involves totally shifting these areas to existing cloud solutions. 
  • Refactoring: This approach rebuilds the entire existing infrastructure from scratch. 

Most organizations will use a combination of these strategies in a hybrid approach. 

Azure Cloud Migration Tools

Azure cloud migration tools help organizations make the journey from on-premise infrastructure to the cloud—or between two cloud environments. The list of Azure migration tools is long and they help with everything from Azure migrate prerequisites to Azure migrate documentation and more. Azure Migrate discovery and assessment tools support migration from virtual machines, physical servers, and cloud-to-cloud implementations. 

Key features of Azure Migration Tools include:

  • Support for the entire migration journey, through the discovery, assessment, and migration phases
  • Compatibility with Azure cloud destinations, including Azure Virtual Machines, Azure VMware, Azure App Service, and Azure SQL Database destinations
  • Assess your pre-migration status with Azure’s readiness analysis, app dependency visualization, and cost estimation tools
  • Enable app and data migration for both app and data center estates
  • Use the Azure Migrate dashboard and other partner tools for real-time performance insights
  • Includes Storage, Networking, Backup, Compute, Analytics, and Disaster Recovery

Cloud Migration Steps

Your Azure migration prerequisites and plan will be unique to your enterprise, but here is a basic overview of Azure cloud migration steps. 

Reach out to stakeholders

Getting everyone on board with the same plan from the start is the first of the Azure migration best practices and will lead to a faster, easier migration process. 

Create a plan

The next Azure cloud migration step is to create a strategic plan that you will implement. This involves establishing your top objectives and priorities for the process. You can refer to your Azure migration checklist to be sure you are including all of your aforementioned priorities. It’s helpful to use an Azure migration plan template to streamline this step. 

Calculate total costs

Create a personalized cost estimate by using the Azure Microsoft total cost of ownership (TCO) calculator to make sure your stakeholders have a clear sense of the overall costs and savings involved. 

Discovery and assessment

Before migration begins, make an inventory of your on-site servers. Assess any virtual machine and app dependencies using Azure Migrate. 

Secure an IT team

Consider working with a qualified IT team who can fully support your cloud migration from start to finish. This is often compiled of internal team members and trusted third party consultants, systems integrators and cloud service providers.

Develop a training foundation

Ensuring a solid training foundation is critical so that everyone at your company understands and can fully benefit from cloud migration.

Start with easy workloads

Pilot your journey with test migrations of low-complexity workloads. You can use Azure Migrate or Azure Database Migration Service for these. 

Consider different plans for different workloads

Often, legacy workloads and applications are more challenging and time-consuming to re-built cloud natively. For this reason, organizations should consider solutions designed to “lift and shift” these workloads and applications to Azure as-is. Skytap offers one such solution for IBM Power workloads (IBM i, AS/400, AIX, Linux on Power). 

Migrate at scale

After a few test runs, you can begin migrating at scale using Azure Migrate. As you are doing so, be sure to outline the decommissioning process for your existing systems and figure out how you will manage legacy infrastructure. 

Update and optimize security

After migration, use Azure Security Center to make sure you are implementing security and management best practices for your entire data estate. 

Azure Cloud Migration Services

Companies planning a cloud migration can access a wide array of Azure cloud migration services, including Azure migrate discovery and assessment tools, Azure database migration services, and more. These can help you navigate your Azure migrate step-by-step plan more quickly and with greater ease. 

Your Azure migration documentation should include an Azure migration tools list that outlines the services you plan to use. You can use cloud migration services to help you transfer data, applications, VMs, and other virtual resources to the cloud and also from one cloud to another. They provide safe channels for this kind of data transfer to take place. 

Depending on your Azure Migration strategy, you can also take advantage of Cloud Migration Services to upload data to several clouds at the same time. Other services offer things like ongoing maintenance and real-time syncing to ensure compliance regulation in apps and software. In general, Azure cloud migration services can help with every aspect of moving data and virtual assets to and from clouds but do not deal with migrating physical assets like servers and other hardware. 

Migration Framework

The Azure Cloud migration framework is a full lifecycle framework that allows cloud architects, IT teams, and stakeholders to reach cloud adoption goals. Similar to the AWS cloud adoption framework, the Azure cloud adoption framework documentation offers best practices, documentation, and tools that help you plan and implement strategies for how you will use the cloud. Microsoft Cloud adoption framework for Azure answers any questions you might have about how to align your cloud usage with your business strategies to ensure success. 

The Azure cloud adoption framework methodology includes material on Azure cloud adoption framework governance and architecture to ensure that your business achieves the best possible outcomes throughout and following the cloud adoption process. 

Azure Migration Project Plan Example

Here is an Azure migration project plan example that you can refer to along with your on-premise to Azure migration checklist. 

#1 Determine Your Business Goals

If you haven’t already done so, take some time to clearly define your goals for the project. This is one of the primary Azure migrate prerequisites. What do you hope to gain by conducting an on-premise to Azure migration step-by-step? Are you focused on cost savings? Workforce productivity? Do you require more scalability? Flexibility? Reliability? In order to ensure that the process is successful, you need to have a firm understanding of your long-term goals. 

#2 Determine Your Priorities

Another aspect of your Azure implementation project plan is to determine your company’s priorities. Try to identify and name the most important areas of your business. This will help give you more insight into how you can use Azure cloud to your benefit by exploring the tools that can help you reach your most important goals. 

#3 Financial Planning

The cost of doing Azure cloud migration can vary quite a bit depending on the size of your business and other factors. You also want to research licensing requirements for specific software apps that you plan to host in the cloud. 

#4 Support

A successful cloud migration needs a strong support system. Whether it is in-house or outsourced, you will want a skilled IT team on your side to help you through the process. IT experts can help you fine-tune your approach to the migration and walk you through every step of the process. They can also remain on hand for ongoing maintenance in case any technical issues come up once your data and apps have been moved to Azure. When it comes to cloud migration, as with any major transition, having a solid support team is priceless.  

Learn how Skytap on Azure can support your organization’s Azure cloud migration and digital transformation for traditional workloads.

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