Azure Migration Guide - Key Planning and Decision Points Before Migrating to Azure


With such an increased interest in Cloud computing, and with companies like Microsoft expanding their datacentres to Canada, now’s a great time for customers who are looking at a datacentre refresh to consider migrating their datacentre to Azure as a cost-effective alternative.

But where do you begin on your Azure migration journey? And what do you need to do before you can migrate your datacentre to Azure? Here are some key planning and decision points before you begin your Azure migration.

azure migration guide


Azure Migration Guide #1: Understand Your Business Case

When determining if a move to Azure is the right one for your organization, it is important to start off by examining your business case for doing so. What are the drivers for this move? For example, are you looking to decrease operational expenditures? Reduce your capital expenditures? Make an improvement in your overall security and compliance? These are important things to know before you commit to migrating to Azure.

Below, we’ve outlined three steps and included some key aspects to consider:

Step 1: Understand your current business environment and economics

Consider the following: What are your strategic objectives? What’s driving you to migrate to Azure? Have you determined a budgeting cycle? Who owns your company’s current infrastructure and maintenance? Do you have a long-term vision to be fully Azure-hosted?

Step 2: Understand your as-is architecture & constraints

Before beginning a migration to Azure, it’s important to know about the business outcomes from your current on-premise solution. Can you explain the design decisions you took when you put the on-premise solution in? Have you explored your technical constraints?

Step 3: Gather detailed as-is usage data

Before migrating to Azure, it’s important to map your on-premise data centre usage. You need to know how much actual usage your current environment is getting, and what is the level of demand your current system has, so you’ll be able to determine the size of Azure virtual machine you’ll need.


Azure Migration Guide #2: Develop a Detailed Financial Model for Various Options

Once you’ve completed the three steps listed above, you need to turn your attention to developing a financial model for your Azure migration. But, when you’re considering this, it’s recommended that you don’t just consider one single option to replace your current environment exactly, but consider a minimum of at least two options, with a “stay as-is” option as one of them. Considering multiple Azure target options means you can determine which of your options has the best financial business case over time.

When mapping out these financial models, consider the type of infrastructure you want to include, the licensing you’ll need for that, whether or not you require your environment to be scalable, and what current contracts you may have in place.


Azure Migration Guide #3: Plan for Migration

After you’ve determined which of the models you want to go with, it’s time to plan for your migration to Azure. Depending on the size of your environment, your migration project could take some time, so it’s important to plan for a period of coexistence – where some of your services will be running in your new Azure environment, and others will reside in your on-premises environment. Keep in mind your on-premises bandwidth requirements, the deployment sequence you’re going to use, and how you’re going to switch everything over.

Next, you’ll need to design your target environment. When designing, consider the following questions:

  • Will you have naming conventions?
  • What design do you want your environment to have?
  • What kind of subscriptions do you want (consider the size of your environment, access you need, and any licensing constraints that you might have)?
  • How many users do you have (this last question is important because Azure has limitations on storage accounts within the subscription)?


Lastly, determine the strategy for your migration. According to Microsoft, there are three potential strategies you could take:

  • Lift and Shift:

With the Lift and Shift approach, you can copy your data from your old source and “lift” it into your Azure storage account, then “shift” your environment over to Azure.

  • Azure Site Recovery:

Through Azure Site Recovery, you can choose to replicate your workload from the source environment to your Azure subscription. The benefit of choosing this option is that you will experience very minor (or no) downtime during the replication.

  • Rebuild or Build Out:

This strategy gives you the chance to redeploy your workload in Azure by rebuilding it piece by piece. While a little slower than the other approaches, taking the rebuild approach has a major benefit of getting rid of any legacy applications that you don’t want in your new Azure environment.

Of course, these strategies aren’t mutually exclusive to one another. It could be that a combination of these three approaches might be best for your unique situation.


Are You Ready to Migrate to Azure?

By migrating to Azure, you can reduce your capital expenditures, decrease your operational expenditures, improve your organization’s elasticity and scalability, and help you improve security and compliance within your organization.

Thinking of migrating to Azure? The first step for an efficient migration is to do an assessment of your current environment. We can help you determine how the transition would happen, costs associated with the migration, and help you collect the data you need to develop a business case.

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