Essential Steps to Help You Migrate Application to Microsoft Azure

Businesses catering to a gamut of industries often use on-premise applications, which are obsolete, slow when it comes to productivity, and call for costly maintenance. The more your company relies on legacy systems, the challenging it is to hire employees skilled in the program and could work on the same without goofing up. Consequently, more and more businesses are switching to Azure cloud migration for upgrading their outdated and slow applications, thus making the most out of cost-effectiveness, flexibility, and enhanced productivity of cloud-based solutions.

As far as Microsoft cloud migration is concerned, tools like the ASR Deployment Planner and Migration Assessment Tool will help you figure out which workload segment would benefit from the move to a cloud-based system. It will help enterprises to mull over how the said migration will affect overall IT performance, efficiency, and expenditures. Here are the nine most essential steps that are the key to the success of enterprise migration to Azure:

1. Planning and evaluation of the migration process

The preliminary stage of the Microsoft cloud migration process is the evaluation of the existing condition of the on-premises setting to determine the multiple tier connectivity of an application, their reliance on any on-premises resources, as well as, legacy arrangements that require up-gradation before moving to the migration process.

All information collated during the evaluation stage would move right away into the planning phase, where profound application assessments to be performed to modify the Azure cloud migration process.

When it comes to large-scale environments, evaluating settings for moving to the cloud manually is not viable. That is why Azure cloud migration services, provide you with numerous tools to create an Azure VM promptness report by examining the on-premises environment. Azure cloud migration helps in providing accurate information when it comes to the compatibility of the current servers with the Microsoft Azure platform.

Use the Azure Migrate service to evaluate VMware or for matter, Hyper-V, i.e. preview settings and account for their practicability for the said migration. The tool is beneficial to set all the machines connected to a similar application to evaluate and envision the reliance, which helps a lot when it comes to the planning approach during Azure cloud migration.

Once you run the Azure Migrate evaluation process, you can reap the maximum benefits of services such as Azure Database Migration Service for migrating your data and application to Azure.

2. Perform a SWOT analysis

Once you are through with the planning approach, perform a SWOT analysis, which is an objective evaluation of the pros and cons during Azure cloud migration. Understand its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and of course threats.

As far as the SWOT analysis is concerned, it takes your Azure cloud migration strategy a step ahead of your IT technical plan and must incorporate all things, be it the integration of third-party application, security, employee training costs, and of course, compliance.

Look at the brighter side of things, the holistic perspective to help you figure out possible financial, operational, training, and technical challenges related to Azure cloud migration, and explain these in your planning process.

3. Application migration models

The shift to Azure cloud migration can be categorized into two models, Infrastructure-as-a-Service or (IaaS) and the other Platform-as-a-Service or (PaaS). Both models come with two variations.

When it comes to IaaS, rehost means redeploying your existing environment on IaaS cans bringing about any alterations, also called Shift and Lift. Revise means a match with current coding into a new cloud setting by altering or expanding the code that is in place right now.

When it comes to PaaS, refactor means running the current code on top of the cloud, and rebuild indicates abandoning the current code to redesign on top of the cloud.

The Microsoft cloud migration model you opt for must reflect the type of your business and company goals and vision.

As far as the PaaS model is concerned, it would benefit businesses that operate online as well as with application development. PaaS provides services like Azure App Services, offering server-less structural design abilities helping research and development teams to concentrate on business innovation instead of infrastructure maintenance during Azure cloud migration.

The quickest means to ensure Azure cloud migration is the IaaS re-hosting, i.e. Lift as well as Shift, which denotes the uses of the infrastructure elements of Microsoft Azure.

There are alternatives like the mixed PaaS-IaaS arrangement, or fully substituting the service a business offers with something new focused on the cloud. Whether you choose Azure IaaS or PaaS depends considerably on your current application’s necessities when you want to choose Azure cloud migration.

4. Preparing for the actual migration

When you are preparing for Azure cloud migration, you must run a test migration. It will help you examine the application in replicated settings, which are almost identical to everyday operations. Your goal is to determine how users respond to the new setting and think of any twists before the formal launch of the process. The test or pilot process will take much time, as it means users testing an application depending on how they will usually use the same. No matter what time it takes, running test migration is a low-risk strategy to recognize the possible challenges before you finally opt for cloud migration services providers.

5. Ensuring successful migration to Azure

The goal of Microsoft cloud migration must lead to a minimum total cost of ownership (TCO) and enhanced performance at low costs. When it comes to Azure, it runs on the proprietary Hyper-V platform and that from Microsoft, thus ensuring lift as well as shift rehosting processes on the Azure blob storage. It happens from the on-premises Hyper-V setting, which is as simple as moving a VHD from the sold setting to the new environment.

Use Azure Site Recovery (ASR) to let customers incessantly reproduce physical or virtual servers to Microsoft Azure, and finally move leveraging an easier failover procedure. It provides a test failover method that you can use to determine applications’ functionality before you shift to Azure cloud migration.

6. Migrating your legacy application

After you prepared and evaluated your current applications and workloads, you need an outline or blueprint to move your legacy application to Azure, i.e. embrace Microsoft cloud migration. It calls for backing up all data before the migration process so that you do not lose essential information. Testing is imperative as mentioned earlier to ensure all information is available. Besides, you also need to check compliance and data security, ensuring all users have all things they require.

You should try legacy application migration only you have the right knowledge and expertise, else not. That is because Microsoft cloud migration is not easy and worth the hassles if you lack the skills. Your in-house IT team may not have the requisite expertise and therefore, you need an Azure migration expert to do the job seamlessly.

7. Use the right Azure storage options

Whether you choose a PaaS or IaaS model, Azure storage cost would shoot up with time. Therefore, for keeping costs under check, you need to know about the various storage configuration options and opt for the type of storage account. It is essential to meet application efficiency, replicate requirements, and read or write operations.

The types of data in use ascertain what storage service you will need, including IOPS as well as throughput. You will need to have an understanding of IOPS nuances for various storage types and test the same using tools such as SQLIO and IOMeter for replicating workloads.

In Azure cloud migration, one of the ways to manage storage is with managed disks that solve numerous restrictions innate in storage accounts.

You can also move cold storage to the Azure Cool Blob storage system to keep costs under control. As Cool Blob is means rare access, you can use it for data that does not require deletion and accessed infrequently, like when you need to backup information or data.

For retaining data archives for a long period for regulatory or compliance purposes during Azure cloud migration, you can use the Azure Archive storage tier, which offers the best-quality, valuable, and cost-effective storage choice.

During Microsoft cloud migration, you can make the most of Azure’s StorSimple option so that you can add to your previous capability of on-storage storage solutions, however, when you use a unified management console for cloud storage and on-premises workloads.

A couple of virtual machine tiers will let you combine IOPS in excess of a single disk by reaping the benefit of the storage space. While you create a virtual machine, you benefit from temporary SSD storage that you can use for SQL TempDB or Pagefile.

8. Azure Security and accessibility solutions

When it comes to Azure cloud migration, public cloud storage comes with a serious concern, which is security. Therefore, you must have an encryption strategy in place. As far as Microsoft cloud migration is concerned, Azure Key Vault and Bitcoin Drive Encryption are exceptional starting points when implementing Azure security as well as availability options.

If you are a Linux user, add Key Vault with DM-Crypt. You will find another innovative technology to help you keep data secure, which is Azure Storage Service Encryption or SSE that encrypts your data when the same is stored in Resource Manager Storage Accounts.

When you opt for Microsoft cloud migration, you must learn that the marketplace has several third-party vendors, providing their encryption services. For example, BYOL will offer a cost-effective solution to shield costly applications and you will not lose networking resources during an infrastructural shift to a cloud-based environment, in the case of Azure cloud migration.

When it comes to integrated technologies like Azure WAF and network security groups, they can check the traffic flow with the help of innovative technologies such as User Defined Routes and route tables.
Again, Azure Virtual network gateway will let you ensure the setting up of VPN connections when it comes to using cases like Vnet-to-Vnet VPNs and site-to-site VPN. Additionally, make sure that you have an all-encompassing vision of risk vector via the Azure Security Center and for that matter, hybrid deployment settings.

You need to understand that the security measures implemented must also keep RPO and RTO goals in mind. Based on the type of the Azure cloud migration, environment upkeep of Azure high availability would integrate tools like availability zones and availability sets, guest clustering, and Azure and ASR backup. Did you know that cloud volumes ONTAP in the case of Azure come with a dual-node configuration to make it secure and simpler to maintain your enterprise business continuity?

With all such features, the Microsoft cloud migration becomes more convenient, as these elements have the potential to realize particular backup as well as data revival goals. When it comes to availability sets, they make the most of fault domains as well as update domains to ensure uptime when doing planned or unintended maintenance.

You can use the availability zones to shield your business applications from data center breakdowns. As far as VMs in availability zones are concerned, you can deploy them in several data centers with independent cooling, power, as well as, networking to guard against data center based accessibility problems. When it comes to guest clustering, it makes use of Storage Spaces Direct for load-balancing and high-availability attributes concerning VM workloads.

Final words

Azure cloud migration calls for significant time when it comes to planning, evaluation, and examining the new setting. Once you are through with it, it becomes easier to shift your workload and data to Microsoft Azure. Your focus is to move the chunks of data to the data centers.

Use tools like AzCopy and Azure Storage Explorer to help you move data back and forth the blob-oriented Azure storage. You can move things like VHD and files easily to leverage the native tools, but what happens if your business data is huge to shift via these traditional tools?

Well, in such a case, you can use Azure Import or Export service to help you ship hard drives that have all on-premises data right away to Azure datacenters.

Move your business application and data to a cloud-based environment with Cognilytic today!

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