Critical Considerations for Azure Cloud Migrations

The rapid digitization of products and services by ‘born digital’ upstarts is forcing exceptional business and IT change across the globe. At its foundation are flexible and scalable cloud platforms that drive customer intimacy and industry innovation.

To compete, incumbent leaders are embracing the cloud to improve customer experience and speed time-to-market. They’re shifting .NET, Windows, and open source workloads from legacy solutions to flexible and scalable cloud platforms, such as Microsoft Azure. All with the promise of digital transformation.

Realizing Cloud Benefits

Critical to this strategy is migrating existing applications to public, private, and hybrid cloud environments. However, many organizations overlook the specific potential gains from each application migration, such as SharePoint or SQL Server, and the factors of success.

Others neglect to analyze application architecture, performance, and security needs in their haste to meet customer demands. However, to realize cloud benefits from platforms like Azure, business leaders must review critical considerations before they leap.

The Trianz Approach

Trianz helps clients evaluate critical success factors before workload migrations from legacy platforms to Microsoft Azure. Cloud experts help justify why and how to migrate each application and outcomes to expect.

After this evaluation, Trianz helps business and IT leaders develop a prioritized list of workloads and DevTest platforms to move, broken into stages, and likely some that should stay on premise.

They guide this list’s creation through critical application and enterprise level considerations. With this approach, organizations can determine the true migration benefits and costs for each application. And stack rank the list, leading to the first step in a roadmap for migration.

Application Considerations – Technology

Architecture, Data Migration, & Integrations – Monolithic applications are harder to migrate to Azure versus those with a service or modular approach. And workloads with extreme data governance or tight integrations may require unique storage solutions or the recode of APIs.

Thus, it’s prudent to understand architectural considerations and start with applications that have loosely coupled designs and fewer compliance mandates. Often a DevTest environment or simple SQL Server-based application is a good place to start.

Performance & Availability – Azure provides strong performance and availability metrics. Yet some workloads yield excessive expense or inadequate execution. Examples include high-speed trading, video encoding, and some Power BI workloads with frequent and large data transfers.

Furthermore, new configurations, system architectures, and network designs may require additional and sizable application optimizations.

Security & Privacy – In unique cases, moving applications and information to the cloud may impact data protection and disrupt cybersecurity plans. Thus, it’s critical to compare application governance, risk, and compliance needs to the security capabilities of the Azure cloud.

Importantly, Microsoft is committed to Azure’s GDPR compliance when enforcement begins in May 2018, thus addressing many data residency concerns.

Application Lifecycle – Workloads with critical upgrade needs, like SharePoint or early Windows-based apps, are ripe for Azure migration as new investment is required regardless of the move. On the contrary, new or end-of-life applications may not be good candidates.

Popular Azure Services Include

  • API Management
  • App Service
  • Azure Active Directory
  • Azure Container Service
  • Azure DevTest Labs
  • Azure Search
  • Backup
  • Cognitive Services
  • Data Factory
  • Machine Learning Studio
  • Media Services
  • Microsoft Azure Portal
  • Multi-Factor Authentication
  • SQL Data Warehouse
  • SQL Database
  • Storage
  • Virtual Machines

Application Considerations - Cost-Benefit

Migration Cost – The above four items plus a workload’s compute and storage needs provide a good measure of an application migration expense.

A large need for redesign, data transfer, integration, and security,will cost more. However, strong benefits may offset this higher investment. 

Business Considerations – It’s important for IT and corporate leaders to jointly value the business gains from each application migration to Azure. Benefits may include agility, innovation, customer reach, and time-to-market.

Based on this analysis, some workloads will yield more competitive advantage from cloud-enabled digitization and analytics. But with less sizable gains, others can wait.

Enterprise Level Considerations - In addition to per application reviews, these three considerations can determine overall migration readiness.

Business Priorities: Migrating applications to the cloud is a very interesting technology adventure but the best way to scale rapidly is to convince the business on the value of cloud. Engaging and identifying the highest priority applications that deliver impact - based on what the business thinks is critical- is the way to go.

Enterprise & Cloud Strategies – It’s critical to have guiding principles that provide direction to app and infrastructure owners as well as support teams. This helps guide digital architecture and business decisions as well as Azure services under consideration such as:

Azure App Service, Azure DevTest Labs, Cognitive Services, SQL Database, and Azure Virtual Machines.

Enterprise Security & Control – Equally critical are enterprise security needs including failover process, governance procedures, breach response, and disaster recovery. Within each issue, it’s vital to review the remaining control of hardware, software, and data residency after a migration to Azure.  

Vendor & Provider Lock-in – When considering a migration to Azure, evaluate the ability to switch between cloud providers as necessary. Services with open standards, APIs, and management tools are less likely to foster dependency and lock in.

Fortunately, Azure supports many services on Linux, Java, and PHP Web application platforms. Thus, developers can use the tools they already have, and run virtually any application, data source, or operating system on Azure.

As a strategic Microsoft partner, Trianz offers customized Azure migration roadmaps to achieve service-oriented infrastructure and service catalogs.

The Azure Advantage

With the most data center regions worldwide, consistent hybrid offerings, and broad AI functionality, Microsoft Azure is a market leading cloud platform for application migration.

Azure has broad services, tools, and marketplace solutions to build and deploy critical applications. Security, management, and big data innovation, such as cognitive APIs and machine learning tools, help drive a strong business advantage.

Next Steps

Once the benefits and cost have been considered and there are clear advantages to application migration, it’s time to build an Azure business case and transition plan.

Trianz experienced professionals maintain numerous Azure Certifications across critical aspects of Microsoft cloud services. Our consultants use proprietary tools and templates to discover, analyze, and recommend plans for the cloud journey.

Trianz helps open the possibility for business leaders to test new ideas on Azure, accessing the secure infrastructure without need for large upfront capital investment. We enable reference architectures for Azure IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS platforms with a focus on execution success.

Contact Trianz to take the next step and move to Microsoft Azure.

Trianz is a Managed Services Provider for Azure. Offerings include:

  • Azure Readiness Assessment & Migration Roadmap
  • Azure DevTest and DevOps environments
  • .NET, Windows & SharePoint application migrations
  • SQL Server and non-Microsoft database migration
  • Azure-native business applications, big data, and analytics
  • Azure workload managed services


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