Migrating the Smart Way, with Azure

The cloud era is gaining greater speed, and market projections look very healthy for years to come. This growth and the enthusiasm it’s creating for cloud technology is pushing organizations who, until very recently, were resistant to start their own cloud initiatives. This post is about how your organization can migrate the smart way with Azure cloud. 
Unfortunately, many firms think of a cloud-migration effort as just another IT project (similar to what was previously done to install new hardware and software). As a result, they are making costly missteps for three key reasons:
1. Lack of training
2. Not using cloud architecture best practices
3.  Not taking cost control and monitoring seriously from the start
Consider the following scenario:
Susan is the IT director for Spry Maneuvers, a successful, mid-level logistics firm. SpryM specializes in moving difficult-to-ship freight (such as power plant gas turbines) across the globe.
SpryM is heavily dependent upon a complex database system that sprawls across a large number of virtual machines (VMs) hosted on-premise:

SpryM’s database situation

The business is growing, so there is always a need for more storage capacity, more computing power, and greater performance from VSphere’s production and development environments.
Susan is an experienced and knowledgeable manager, and she knows how to address this need through budgeting, hardware provisioning, software licensing, patching, and all the other items required to engineer and maintain a busy data center.
Recently, however, the CIO gave Susan a new directive: For the coming fiscal year, there will be no budget for further on-premises data center investment. Every new initiative must be built on Azure and every existing asset must be moved there too, ASAP.
Under pressure, Susan and her team decided to lift and shift the database farm to Azure by building VMs and simply moving the workloads onto them, just as they’ve done countless times before within their data center:

This seemed easy enough, and after a period of adjustment to the Azure portal interface, SpryM’s IT team began building more and more VMs and moving workloads to over-provisioned F-series virtual machines.
Everything seemed fine until the bill (for tens of thousands for only a few weeks of run time) came due and end-users began complaining about performance issues.
The CIO wondered:

  • Wasn’t running things in Azure supposed to be cheaper?
  • Wasn’t the cloud supposed to be faster and more efficient?
  • How could my team let me down?

SpryM made several critical (and all too common) mistakes from the start:
1. They assumed that the cloud was nothing more than an extension of their data center, as currently configured.
2. Staff requests for training (from those who recognized the challenge) fell on deaf ears—too expensive not necessary.
3. The cloud project was too ambitious. There was no modest proof of concept in which a low impact workload was relocated to Azure to help IT gain experience and confidence
4. No one monitored costs.
How could they have done things better?

Training

Cloud Academy offers excellent courses on Azure such as Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions–70-534 Certification Preparation.
This learning path covers the following key areas:

  • Designing Azure Resource Manager (ARM) networking
  • Securing resources
  • Designing an application storage and data access strategy
  • Designing advanced applications
  • Designing Azure Web and Mobile Apps
  • Designing a management, monitoring, and business continuity strategy
  • Architecting an Azure Compute infrastructure

These are the skills that SpryM’s IT team needed to make the right choices.  In addition to courseware for individuals, Cloud Academy offers team-optimized training that could have put SpryM on the correct path.

Azure Solutions Architecture

Microsoft provides a wealth of guidance to help you intelligently and effectively apply the platform’s offerings to your needs.  This should be one of the first places you visit and examine when you’re building with Azure:

Azure Pricing Calculator

SpryM’s IT team was unprepared for the high runtime cost of the type of VM that they chose. This embarrassing surprise was avoidable—they just needed to use the Azure Pricing Calculator:

Using the Pricing Calculator, they would’ve seen that, when compared to running SQL Server on an always-on virtual machine, using an Azure SQL database is very cost effective.
As you move workloads to Azure—whether you eagerly volunteered or were pushed by management—keep the combination of training, cloud-native solutions, and pricing foremost in mind and you’ll greatly increase your odds for success.


Start your cloud migration strategy with Cloud Academy’s solution page on Migrating to the Cloud.

Written by

I'm a technologist. I know that sounds a bit general (like saying you love people or enjoy sunshine) but it's true.I started my career in the hectic world of client/server based infrastructures when that was shiny and new. Little did we know, as we laughed at the mainframe monks, that we were building an equally massive monolith made from servers and siloed applications. The cloud era is breathing new life into IT and I'm excited to be here, at the beginning, yet again.

Related Posts

— November 21, 2018

Google Cloud Certification: Preparation and Prerequisites

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) has evolved from being a niche player to a serious competitor to Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. In 2018, research firm Gartner placed Google in the Leaders quadrant in its Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service for the first time. In t...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud
— October 30, 2018

Azure Stack Use Cases and Applications

This is the second of a two-part series covering Azure Stack. Our first post provided an introduction to Azure Stack. Why would your organization consider using Azure Stack? What are the key differences between Azure Stack and Microsoft Azure? In this post, we'll begin to answer bot...

Read more
  • Azure
  • Hybrid Cloud
  • Virtualization
— October 3, 2018

Highlights from Microsoft Ignite 2018

Microsoft Ignite 2018 was a big success. Over 26,000 people attended Microsoft’s flagship conference for IT professionals in sunny Orlando, Florida. As usual, Microsoft made a huge number of announcements, ranging from minor to major in importance. To save you the trouble of sifting thr...

Read more
  • Azure
  • Ignite
— September 20, 2018

Planning for Microsoft Ignite 2018 Sessions: What Not to Miss

Cloud Academy is proud to be a sponsor of the Microsoft Ignite Conference to be held September 24 - 28 in Orlando, Florida. This is Microsoft’s biggest event of the year and is a great way to stay up to date on how to get the most from Microsoft’s products. In this post, I’ll help you p...

Read more
  • Azure
— September 18, 2018

How to Optimize Cloud Costs with Spot Instances: New on Cloud Academy

One of the main promises of cloud computing is access to nearly endless capacity. However, it doesn’t come cheap. With the introduction of Spot Instances for Amazon Web Services’ Elastic Compute Cloud (AWS EC2) in 2009, spot instances have been a way for major cloud providers to sell sp...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud
— August 23, 2018

What are the Benefits of Machine Learning in the Cloud?

A Comparison of Machine Learning Services on AWS, Azure, and Google CloudArtificial intelligence and machine learning are steadily making their way into enterprise applications in areas such as customer support, fraud detection, and business intelligence. There is every reason to beli...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud
  • Machine Learning
— July 5, 2018

How Does Azure Encrypt Data?

In on-premises environments, data security is typically a siloed activity, with a company's security team telling the internal technology groups (server administration, database, networking, and so on) what needs to be protected against intrusion.This approach is absolutely a bad...

Read more
  • Azure
— June 26, 2018

Disadvantages of Cloud Computing

If you want to deliver digital services of any kind, you’ll need to compute resources including CPU, memory, storage, and network connectivity. Which resources you choose for your delivery, cloud-based or local, is up to you. But you’ll definitely want to do your homework first.Cloud ...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Cloud Computing
  • Google Cloud
Albert Qian
— June 19, 2018

Preparing for the Microsoft Azure 70-535 Exam

The credibility of Microsoft Azure continues to grow in the first quarter of 2018 with an increasing number of enterprises migrating their workloads, resulting in a jump for Azure from 10% to 13% in market share. Most organizations will find that simply “lifting and shifting” applicatio...

Read more
  • Azure
  • Compute
  • Database
  • Security
— April 12, 2018

Azure Migration Strategy: A Checklist to Get Started

By now, you’ve heard it many times and from many sources: cloud technology is the future of IT. If your organization isn’t already running critical workloads on a cloud platform (and, if your career isn’t cloud-focused), you’re running the very real risk of being overtaken by nimbler co...

Read more
  • Azure
— March 2, 2018

Three Must-Use Azure Security Services

Keeping your cloud environment safe continues to be the top priority for the enterprise, followed by spending, according to RightScale’s 2018 State of the Cloud report.The safety of your cloud environment—and the data and applications that your business runs on—depends on how well you...

Read more
  • Azure
  • Security
— February 15, 2018

Is Multi-Cloud a Solution for High Availability?

With the average cost of downtime estimated at $8,850 per minute, businesses can’t afford to risk system failure. Full access to services and data anytime, anywhere is one of the main benefits of cloud computing.By design, many of the core services with the public cloud and its underl...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Cloud Adoption
  • Google Cloud