Use these steps to ensure your Azure migration goes smoothly without any hiccups that could cause problems for your business.

At MessageOps, we have quite a bit of experience helping customers migrate workloads and applications to Microsoft Azure. We’ve found that most Azure migration processes can be classified into a few basic steps, which we’ll go into more detail later on in this article.

man carrying boxes jumping from cloud to cloud graphic

Basic phases of the Azure migration process

Discovery Process

The discovery process is often quite exhaustive, because it’s where the foundation for a successful Azure migration is laid. Customers need to answer the question of, ‘why a move to the cloud is beneficial’ and once this question is answered, all of the goals surrounding that question can become clearer.

Regardless of the goal, it’s critical to analyze each workload to help determine the ideal cloud-based location and develop a plan for migration. This process will likely take time, but shortcuts should be avoided to ensure a successful migration.

Identify the targets that will be used in the cloud

Next, you’ll lay the groundwork for how your data will be moved to the cloud. Chances are, you’ll want to leverage the productivity benefits of Office 365 for communication and productivity related tasks. This could include moving all of your email to Exchange Online, as well as document management to OneDrive and/or SharePoint, IM, and finally voice and video communications to Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams.

Outside of your basic productivity and communication tools, you may also be looking to leverage the power of the cloud for other workloads as well. It’s important to identify which of these tools you’ll be using and what sorts of capacity constraints you may require. For instance, Azure hosted data centers can be a great option for websites where you’ll likely need scalable processing power, storage, and memory. These key factors are critical, especially if your website receives significant traffic.

Virtual machines are another option for resources that may be considered non-critical. VMs are subject to the sometimes unpredictable nature of internet connections, but they’re extremely cost effective, which is often important for companies looking to offload applications and resources that don’t need to be up and running 24/7/365.

Make the move to Azure

Once you’ve identified which resources are going to be moved to Azure, and found where and how they’ll be moved, it’s time to actually begin the painstaking migration process.

Hosts & Guests

All Azure VMs are running on “host” servers. Each VM runs a “guest” operating system based on certain parameters of the applications that are being run on each individual VM.

These host servers are managed by Microsoft, and that management includes any updates or patches that may be necessary.

You take over control of the “guest” OS, which means you are able to control when and how updates and patches are installed. There’s an option to install these updates automatically, but if you choose this option it’s important that you test all of your applications to ensure they’re behaving correctly after any update. A managed IT provider like MessageOps can help with these nuances that can seem overwhelming when migrating to Azure.

Determining how much VM management your team will undertake

Another important decision related to moving to Azure is just how much management your IT resources want to handle. Depending on your level of comfort, there are primarily three types of management options when it comes to migrating to the cloud:

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – Offers control starting at the “guest” operating system level as well as any applications or data that must reside on virtual machines.
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS) – Allows organizations to have control only over the applications and data that reside on a VM, but not the operating system or hardware infrastructure itself.
  • Software as a Service (SaaS) – Gives organizations a turnkey cloud-based tool where everything is managed by Microsoft, or any other company that may be offering a SaaS solution. Examples of SaaS solutions include Office 365, Salesforce, Podio, and many others.

Ready to embark on a successful Azure migration?

If you’re interested in learning more about ensuring your Azure migration will be a success, connect with the cloud experts at MessageOps today. We’ll be happy to help you sketch out a migration plan that will be free of surprises.

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