Azure cloud has empowered many organizations and enterprises since it came into play. Azure’s evolved maturity and significant offerings have necessitated organizations to migrate their IT assets on the cloud platform, adding value to their bottom line.
While many businesses have embraced and adopted cloud as a part of their core IT strategy, others are in the consideration or execution stage of shifting their infrastructure (only a portion or end-to-end) to Azure.
If you are one of them and you have plans in migrating to Azure Cloud, you should know the fundamentals and the concept of migration before making the move.
What is Cloud Migration?
Cloud migration is the process of shifting or moving your on-premise workloads, enterprise applications, and data center resources to cloud (public or private).
There are various models of cloud migration, the most widely adopted being public cloud migration, where the data and applications are transitioned to a cloud computing environment/infrastructure of a public cloud service provider such as Microsoft Azure.
The benefits of Azure migration are a no-brainer;
- High Availability and computing performance
- Scalability and flexibility
- Cost-effectiveness (if Azure resources and services are used wisely and strategically)
- Secure and seamless integration of Azure with your existing IT systems
However, benefits should not be the only primary factor in making the decision to migrate to Azure.
4 Things To Consider When Migrating To Azure Cloud
For a successful on-prem to Azure migration, you need to contemplate your readiness for the transition to cloud and map the risks, costs, compatibility of existing workloads or applications (to be moved), and IT requirements.
Here are the four key points you should keep in mind before migrating your on-prem resources and applications to Azure cloud:
1. Alignment of Business Objectives with Cloud Strategy
Aligning your business end goals with your IT strategy before migrating to Azure is an essential aspect to consider.
A lot of thought should go into cloud network and infrastructure setup planning. Analyze and decide on the following before you move things from your on-premise data centers:
- What type of cloud architecture would be suitable for your existing IT systems.
- How to set up a scalable cloud network? Also, ensure that you have enough bandwidth and low latency to support the migration.
- What kind of technical or cloud support does Microsoft offer to help transfer your workloads.
- Which migration process or route would be the most efficient approach for your business, such as rehost or lift-and-shift model, repurchase or drop-and-shop, etc.
More importantly, your business and IT end goals should align with your cloud strategy. Craft use cases for cloud migration, such as team readiness, IT priorities, workload compatibility, app modernization, etc., and map them to your business priorities.
2. Assessment of IT Workloads & Applications to be Migrated
Not all workloads or applications running on your on-prem infrastructure are meant for cloud. Assess which workloads should be moved to Azure and which ones should stay in your on-prem data centers.
Create an exhaustive inventory of existing resources, applications, workloads running in your data centers. Review, inspect, and document every detail of your current infrastructure. It will help you keep track of the usage, performance, and capability of every application and prioritize the cloud-compatible workloads ready to be migrated.
According to Gartner’s research, “more than 70% of companies have now migrated at least some workloads into the public cloud.”
However, while migrating to Azure, one of the key challenges organizations usually come across is migration costs or budget spiraling out of control. Gartner has highlighted six commonly made mistakes that trigger cloud migration costs to skyrocket.
Your I&O leaders should take appropriate actions and assess the cost-to-migration properly so that you don’t fall prey to costly migrations.
Azure does provide cost savings, and migrating to the platform might seem cheaper than maintaining your IT infrastructure on-premise, but when you start transferring bandwidth-heavy, noisy applications, your expenses shoot up.
It is essential that you model and estimate your true migration costs to prevent the transition from exceeding your IT budget. When you are migrating, remember that your spending is not just limited to storage and compute, but you will also be paying for data transfers, reads and writes, disk storage speeds, and more.
Therefore, make sure that you take every dependency, bottlenecks, and scope of work into account when outlining the migration budget to avoid expensive mistakes.
4. Security of your Azure environment
Securing the infrastructure on cloud is one of the top priorities and concerns every organization has.
Azure enables a secure cloud environment to run your business and provides an easy, detailed understanding of security controls, shared responsibility for security functions between you and Microsoft, such as network controls, identity & directory infrastructure, etc.
However, it is common for organizations to overlook the shared responsibility model as they often tend to think that migrating to cloud means all the security tasks will be handled by the provider, which is not true.
It is crucial to understand Microsoft’s security system and shared responsibilities (i.e., which security tasks you are responsible for and which tasks are managed by Azure) before transferring your applications to cloud. You can also leverage cloud-based security tools and capabilities extended by Azure to respond to threats proactively before they get into your infrastructure.
Get Yourself an Azure Migration Checklist
Cloud migration is a substantial and strategic decision for an organization. Before migrating to Azure, every member across your organization should have adequate awareness and a detailed understanding of Azure.
In addition, you need to have a migration checklist in place that will help you set your expectations right and walk you through the first steps. For a seamless migration and accelerated cloud adoption experience, Microsoft Azure provides a high-level checklist — Azure Migration and Modernization Program Cloud Migration.
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