Cloud migration and modernization have become the top priorities of most tech-savvy enterprises today. And when it comes to cloud platforms, Microsoft Azure has surpassed AWS in the percentage of enterprises that are using it. As per Flexera’s survey, 80% of the organizations are using Azure, compared to 77% for AWS. Due to its flexibility, ease of use, and cost-effectiveness Microsoft Azure is being adopted by small businesses at a rapid rate.
But cloud adoption or migration is not a straightforward task. Cloud migration is a continuous process that requires major organization-level changes involving your workforce, internal processes, and technology. In order to maximize your benefits from the Azure cloud migration, it’s important to take a holistic approach and follow the best practices of cloud migration. In this blog, we are going to discuss the azure cloud migration best practices. Following these best practices will ensure the proper functioning together with the efficiency, agility, and security of your Azure environment.
The Azure cloud migration can be divided into 3 separate phases –
- The first phase (planning) involves designing a migration strategy, assessing the costs, and planning the move.
- The second phase (implementation) consists of the actual migration and modernization of apps.
- The third phase (operations) includes managing the environment and optimizing the costs.
Let’s look at the Azure cloud migration best practices for each of these stages in detail.
Best practices for the Planning phase
A well-thought-out strategy and a comprehensive plan are essential for the success of Azure cloud migration. Some of the best practices in this phase are –
- You should define and document the needs and reasons for your cloud migration such as performance increase, cost savings, more storage, etc. It helps in assessing the progress and success of your cloud migration in the later stages.
- All the stakeholders and teams of the organization should be involved to enable a faster and smoother transition. Such collaboration and support from all the teams are crucial for the overall success of the Azure cloud migration.
- Cloud migration is a complex process. It requires the technical expertise and support of an experienced technology partner. Hence you should team up with a managed service provider that will facilitate the entire migration process.
- Assess your current infrastructure, apps, and databases and find out dependencies. This will provide you insights on – the scale of expansion, workload-based cost estimates, and means to measure performance.
- Evaluating the costs of migration and modernization is essential. Calculate the potential cost savings of Azure cloud migration and compare it with the on-premises deployment cost to find out the cost-effectiveness of the whole process.
- Finally, build a comprehensive plan. It should document your priorities, timelines, end goals, resources, and financing. Divide your plan into migration and modernization projects with relevant workloads. Get approvals from leadership and teams.
Best practices for the Implementation phase
This phase is the most crucial phase for the overall success of the Azure cloud migration. It involves the actual migration and the subsequent of the apps and infrastructure to the cloud platform. Some of the best practices are –
- Building the cloud skills and expertise of your team is of utmost importance. Investments should be made to train the workforce for operating the Azure platform. Equip your teams with the cloud technologies and migration tools and familiarize them with the operational processes.
- Avert governance issues pre and post-migration by incorporating landing zones. Preconfigured landing zones in security, networking, identity, etc. keep the technological progress in sync with the organizational standards. Validate the landing zones against the Azure readiness best practices and keep your current and future landing zones properly configured.
- For migration, use a centralized tool like Azure Migration. It helps you in discovering, assessing, and migrating your workloads. It provides a dashboard where you can find the tools and guidance to aid your migration.
- Adopt an iterative approach while migrating workloads. Migrate a small set of workloads in every iteration or release. Follow the process of assessing, migrating, optimizing, and then promoting the workloads in each iteration.
- After migration comes the stage of modernization which is equally important. It involves refactoring, rearchitecting, or rebuilding your apps and data. You may modernize before, during, or after the migration. To know which apps need what kind of modernization, follow these rules
(a)Refactor your apps when you want to make minimal changes in them and want to connect them quickly to Azure for boosting speed and productivity. For instance, relational databases which do not need modifications can be refactored directly into a cloud database service like Azure SQL Database.
(b)Rearchitect your apps or databases when you need to change and extend app functionality and code to optimize for cloud scalability and productivity. For example, you can partition your monolithic app into a group of microservices which will be more flexible and scalable.
(c)Rebuild the apps when you need to redesign an app using Azure cloud solutions. If your existing apps have limited functionality, then rebuilding is the right option. Legacy apps which are out of date and can’t be extended are ideal candidates for rebuilding.
Best practices for the Operations phase
After the cloud migration is done and the apps are modernized there comes the phase of Operations. This phase is for monitoring and optimizing the workloads to make them more secure and cost-effective. Some of the best practices in this phase are –
- Properly governing and securing your workloads is essential for the optimized functioning of your cloud ecosystem. Use Azure Security Center for quickly detecting and responding to threats across hybrid environments. Use Azure Sentinel (a cloud-native SIEM solution) to secure your entire organization from cyber threats.
- Define and keep the right combination of standard and custom policies to manage your cloud subscriptions, resources, security, and compliance. Integrate them with the landing zones defined in the implementation phase.
- Optimization of costs begins with familiarizing your teams with the tools, offers, and support from your cloud provider. You can minimize your cloud spending and drive operational efficiencies by making use of exclusive offers from the provider. Use reserved instance discounts, and yearly special offers, or reuse your on-premises licenses to cut down costs.
- Use Azure Arc for simplified management of your workloads across all environments. Monitor the performance of your workloads with the real-time insights and trends generated by Azure. You can also choose from a variety of options for cloud backup and disaster recovery and configure them to ensure data safety and minimum downtime.
Using a three-phase strategy for Azure cloud migration is an ideal approach for most organizations. The above-mentioned set of Azure cloud migration best practices will ensure a successful cloud migration for your organization. Further, it will also help in the optimization of your environment and cutting down costs.
Azure Cloud Migration is a complex process. There are many challenges that an organization may face when migrating to the Azure platform. Hence you need to collaborate with a Managed Service Partner to ensure successful Azure Cloud Migration. We, at Cloudaeon, specialize in end-to-end Azure migration – right from the planning phase to the optimization and support phase. If you want to know whether Microsoft Azure is a viable cloud platform for your organization, we are happy to help. Get in touch to book your Azure Migration consultation today.