Microsoft

Why and How to Migrate to Microsoft Azure?

If you are keeping up with the fast pace of the revolutionary IT sector, you are most likely to gain a competitive advantage in the market. Year of the pandemic has proved businesses that are more agile in nature bound to suffer less loss even in adverse conditions. The jungle law of survival of the fittest applies to our markets too. The only difference from that is changed fitness measuring criteria such as customer centricity, innovation, adaptability.

Incorporation of cloud platforms and services is one way of revamping and reviving your business. Once you have decided to move on to the cloud, the only hurdle that remains is choosing wisely the cloud service provider, the process, and the strategy for migration. Worry not; we are here to make it easy for you!

Why should you go for Microsoft Azure?

  • More Paas capabilities – While Azure and AWS are almost equal in SaaS, Azure has an advantage in PaaS capabilities. Azure provides environment, tools & building blocks for building and deploying cloud services. It also has dev-ops connections monitoring, managing, and fine-tuning cloud-based apps.
  • .Net compatible – Since .Net and Azure both are Microsoft products. Azure remains the first choice for organizations using .NET. Another value addition is azure is compatible to work with both old and new applications developed using .NET.
  • Security – It is 1st cloud vendor to get the EU data protection authorities’ approval. It is also the 1st cloud service provider compliant with the international standard for cloud privacy, ISO 27018.
  • Seamless hybrid solutions – It facilitates better cloud connectivity for hybrid solutions and provides a platform with easy mobility between cloud and on-premise. Hybrid apps can use resources of data centers, on-premise solutions, or those present within Azure. It provides a broader range of hybrid connections between VPNs, CDNs.
  • Integrated environment – Its integrated environment is best suited for developing, testing, and deploying. You can also take leverage of ready-made services, APIs for development.
  • Enterprise Agreement Advantage – Most of the organizations already had an agreement with Microsoft for software such as Microsoft Office. So subscribing to Azure costs 5-11% cheaper than AWS. Moreover, there is room for negotiating the price of azure for an existing customer of Microsoft.

The Process of Migration

1.     Assess:

Begin with the evaluation of applications to check how they could be moved into the cloud and how it will benefit. These migration project needs to be discussed with stakeholders. This step will help you in building a layout clearly stating your goals and objectives.  Key factors that determine the migration of application are

  1. Networking: Check if the same performance and stability could be achieved as that of the on-premise data center. Check how DNS will be managed via Azure DNS service or Active Directory.
  2. Storage: Look out for the most appropriate plans of storage required depending on the number of operations and nature of data (hot or cold).
  3. Scalability: It is one of the major factors for migration of the applications to the cloud as it is easy to upscale your work using existing cloud-based tools.
  4. Dependencies: Carefully evaluate applications and their dependencies. It will help you in the sequential migration of the application without interrupting the operations.

Readiness to move to the cloud could be checked either by Virtual Machine Readiness Tool or by Microsoft Assessment and Planning toolkit. These assess the current environment and provides a checklist for both physical and virtual workload migrating to Azure.

2.     Migrate:

Select one of the migration strategies that you will follow. Identify tools and technology that will migrate. Start with a small POC (proof of concept) of various applications that will return high benefits or are simple to migrate. Then, proceed with complex or less profit-bearing applications.

3.     Optimize:

After successful migration, keep a tab on the application and how it can be improved further. Optimize your solution to

  1. Check your operational & storage costs.
  2. To achieve even better performance
  3. To lay a foundation for the next migration to gain new capabilities.

4.     Secure and Manage:

Get acquainted with the security measures of the new cloud-based applications and test them thoroughly. Use Azure’s security recommendations and tools for an extra layer of security.

Data Protection is another important factor when shifting to the cloud. Use backup, disaster recovery, and encryption mechanisms to safeguard your data. Multiple services are provided by Azure for data protection.

Monitor the performance of your application regularly. Use tools like Azure Traffic Manager or AppDynamics for real-time monitoring.  Azure Log Analytics will help you to make fruitful insights from the monitoring.

Let us now go through the migration strategies we were referring to in the second step of the migration process.

Migration Strategies:

Microsoft advised four strategies for migrating an application to the cloud.

1.     Rehost / Shift and Lift

This strategy talks about moving your application from an on-premise environment to the cloud without any changes.  It is best used for legacy migration or applications with limited cloud skills.

Pros: Fast and easy migration, Lower risk of application breakage

Cons:  Less efficient usage of cloud, difficulty to scale.

2.     Refactor / Repackage

It involves moving applications with some code changes to leverage the benefit of cloud services like Azure SQL Database Managed instances and Azure Container Services. It is suitable for critical business applications where disruption in ongoing functionality is a concern but there is room for infrastructure improvement or modernization.

Pros: Fast and Easy migration, Infrastructure Improvement.

Cons: No major architectural change possible like breaking an application into microservices.

3.     Rearchitect

It includes the renovation of the complete code of the application and making it compliant with a cloud-native architecture.  Applications that require maximum flexibility and scalability should follow this migration strategy.

Pros: Creation resilient, easily scalable application which takes maximum benefit of the cloud.

Cons: Complex to convert code to the cloud-native form, susceptible to a service disruption in early deployment cycles.

4.     Rebuild

This strategy disposes of the old code and builds everything from the scratch using Azure Platform as a Service (PaaS) capabilities. Predefined Azure functions and APIs should be used with the Azure SQL database and other Azure data services. It is best suited for less complex and less dependent applications.

Pros:  Economical, no dependency on middleware, Scalable.

Cons: Same level of functionality as present in on-premise might not be available. Please check in advance which part can be successfully built or not.

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