My son received a new Lego set for his birthday and was excited to build the image shown on the box. He wasn’t necessarily aware of it, but he had to strategize before starting. He needed to consider where and when to build it and then create a process for assembling it.

A Microsoft Azure migration does not have to be difficult, but it does require careful planning to be successful while limiting the impact on business. What parts of the network will be migrated? What’s the timing? Will it be done all at once or will there be multiple phases? Then, what is the process you will follow to accomplish the migration?

As with Lego sets, you need to follow a process. A strategic plan is required so that each piece of the migration fits together into an optimal solution. Businesses need to set clear priorities, decide the migration order, and determine the necessary resources.

Pre-Migration Considerations

While the concept of a Microsoft Azure migration is intriguing, there are considerations to be aware of before the planning phase begins.

  • Compliance requirements can throw up a roadblock if you have sensitive data that that needs to be migrated.
  • Proprietary technology, which some businesses use, may not be able to be deployed to Azure for legal reasons.
  • Platform-specific applications can be hindered by platform lock-in, making it challenging to move between platforms.
  • Insufficient bandwidth is an often-overlooked consideration that can result in frustration and lost productivity. As part of your assessment, perform an analysis of all network traffic to create a baseline that will help determine the amount of bandwidth needed to meet demand.
  • System downtime is inevitable in the migration process, so plan accordingly by carefully estimating how much downtime each step of the migration may require.
  •  Application and system compatibility can be an issue when running older versions of software. The key here is testing by creating a test environment and documenting as you test.
  • Research management systems to determine the best option for your situation so it’s ready to go before you migrate.
  • Analyze security requirements, although the cloud is most often more secure than a traditional infrastructure, you may have additional security needs. Here are insights into what Microsoft has in place for Azure security.

Assessing On-Premise Resources

To build the Lego set correctly, you need to inventory what’s in the box and read the instructions to have an idea of how everything fits together. A Microsoft Azure migration starts with a solid knowledge of your infrastructure and how the all the parts work together. Performing a comprehensive infrastructure assessment is the best place to start.

An assessment will:

  • Assess on-premises servers and applications: Understanding current server configurations, how they’re being used and what type they are, helps to determine the current capacity.
  • Identify application and server dependencies: It is critical to understand which servers are supporting which applications and how they affect each other.
  • Analyze Configurations: This will determine which workloads will migrate without modifications and those that won’t. It will also provide guidelines to remediate potential issues and identify possible configuration changes.
  • Cost Planning: Now that you’ve collected resource data, such as memory, storage, and CPU usage, it’s time to estimate your costs using the Azure Calculator.

Building a Proof of Concept

Creating a proof of concept is an excellent idea before migrating the entire infrastructure to Azure. You can’t anticipate all possible issues during a proof of concept, but you can get a better understanding of the challenges you may face.

Microsoft offers a 30-day account that allows for $200 in credit to explore Azures capabilities, plus over 25 services that are free. You can deploy and test and get insight into the data capabilities available.

If you need help in planning how to set up your test environment, give CCB a call. We can connect you with a sales engineer to talk through what your objectives and goals are before you start.

Microsoft Azure Migration Approaches

The four most common strategies for migrating to Azure are:

  • Rehost: Often referred to as a “lift and shift” migration, this allows existing applications to migrate to Azure quickly, by substituting the cloud infrastructure for yours with no modifications to your architecture. The downside is that this type of migration doesn’t take advantage of the elasticity of the cloud platform, which diminishes your cost savings.
  • Refactor: This cloud migration approach requires small application code changes that allow you to benefit from auto-scaling. This approach can save money over time by using only the resources needed at a given moment.
  • Rearchitect: Some applications may require more extensive modification of the code to benefit from running in the cloud. Rearchitecting takes time and is more expensive initially but will save money over time.
  • Replace: Some applications are just too old and monolithic to make migrating them to the cloud worthwhile. Consider SaaS (software-as-a-service) alternatives designed for the cloud.

Little did my son realize all the considerations and planning needed to successfully build his Lego set, but the logical aspect overshadowed the excitement of what he was going to accomplish. He was thrilled by what he created in the end.

Careful planning, testing, and execution are a necessary part of the process, but enjoy the journey, knowing that the result will be a well-performing and cost-saving Microsoft Azure migration.

Ready to take the next step in your Microsoft Azure migration? From assessing your resources to choosing a migration approach and getting started, CCB can help.