Azure Migration Planning & Checklist
Microsoft Azure holds a lot of potential benefits for an independent software vendor (ISV) – scalability, reduced operating cost, faster workflows. But how do you know if your ISV is ready to migrate to the crowd? To answer that question, we’ve developed an Azure migration checklist based on a proven cloud adoption framework.
With an Azure migration plan and checklist in tow, your ISV will be more readily able to identify it’s readiness for a digital transformation. This, in turn, will expedite the process, allowing your business to take full advantage of the cloud, faster.
And that’s important – Cisco projects that in 2021, 94% of all workloads and computer instances will be processed by the cloud. Procrastinating on your digital transformation could therefore mean being at a technological disadvantage relative to the competition.
That in mind, let’s discuss a proven plan for a migration to Azure and it’s accompanying checklist.
Assess How Your Business Can Benefit From the Cloud – Step 1
to Your Cloud Migration Plan
The first thing that you’ll want to do when engaging in cloud migration planning is to meet with the cloud managed service provider (MSP) and allow them to assess your Azure cloud goals.
That way you can align expectations and projected business outcomes before beginning the move to azure.
This ensures that your ISV’s migration to the cloud is free from surprises and you can plan accordingly.
This is also a great opportunity for your business to prepare itself with some change management planning.
Plan Your Azure Migration Process
With the initial assessment complete, you can enter the planning phase.
The cloud migration planning steps involve a strategic approach to determining priorities for your business and how to achieve them in as little as time as possible – and with as little friction as possible.
This is also where the MSP will take stock of your digital estate. They’ll look at:
- The workloads at your ISV
- The components and functions of your applications
- Your core infrastructure
- Your virtual machines (VMs)
- Your databases and storage
- The type of data you have
- And more
This is also where the MSP will begin planning how to lift and shift your processes to the cloud, one of the key steps to cloud migration.
Depending on your needs, this can be a fast move where your VMs and/or servers onto the cloud without making any further adjustments.
You may also require refactoring, where slight changes are made during the move of your applications to Azure so that it is more able to fit, say, a software as a service offering.
Microsoft offers SQL databases as a service or web apps as a service. So if you’re interested in offloading some of the maintenance and headache that goes into maintaining virtual machines with patching and security, the MSP can refactor some of the code or a database or data structure into a managed service.
If you require rearchitecting, reubuilding, or outright replacing, then your azure cloud migration guide will by necessity be longer and more complex.
This would involve working with the development team to change the way the application handles various functions or features. The MSP might even determine that replacing it with a SaaS option or third party is the best approach.
Move – the Final Steps
in Your Migration to the Cloud
Now comes the fun part – the actual move.
Adopting Microsoft’s framework, you’ll use the information in the planning and assessment phases to determine the size and scope of your move.
The categories (already mentioned above) are typically:
These will inform timelines as well.
Generally speaking, the first step is to move everything from a data center onto the cloud. And later on, if needed, the MSP will handle refactoring, rebuilding, and/or replacing.
Once your ISV has shifted its data onto the cloud, you can begin to look at optimization and automation opportunities.
For some clients who want to supercharge their move and put everything on the cloud all at once, it’s often best to prioritize which processes your business wants to focus on. This is where the planning and assessment phases really pay dividends.
This reduces the chance of error as well as makes cloud adoption across your organization that much simpler.
This also allows you to see what roadblocks were encountered on initial moves, and then iterate to avoid them as more workloads are shifted to the cloud.
Proof of Concept
In service of avoiding major roadblocks, it’s often best to do a proof-of-concept build on the cloud. This will help demonstrate that your applications will continue to function as needed when moved to the cloud, preempting major, costly downtime.
With the first moves or proof-of-concept move complete, you’re now free to engage in a more concentrated effort.
Stay the Course
And ‘concentration’ is key here; many ISVs find themselves excited by Azure’s potential or get distracted by other parts of their business that by the time they return, they realize that the cloud’s ROI isn’t what they were anticipating, or in some cases, that their costs have ballooned.
Taking a deliberate, focused approach to your digital transformation will ensure that you can maximize your cloud ROI and take advantage of all the relevant services that can accelerate your workflow productivity.
A strong MSP will also set up some guardrails to ensure that the above issues are highly unlikely.
Have an Established Landing Zone
You’ll also be greeted by a landing zone that has a few core infrastructure pieces that are pre-built before the move. This will include cost management tools and budget limits/alerts, so you can keep your cloud costs under control.
Governance Is Key
You’ll also establish governance policies to ensure baseline security and permissions. This determines who has access to which documents and who can alter them. Avoiding accidental deletions can save your business a lot of headaches, time, and money, making this step critical.
Your cloud isn’t a silo; it needs to be networked with the rest of the world. An MSP will do networking setup so it only allows in traffic that it’s anticipating. This also ensures that all the different resources, assets, and workloads are communicating with one another. The landing zone plays a huge part in ensuring that costs don’t explode in this part of the move.
This is where you take the processes that worked best and iterate, and discard the ones that were plagued with roadblocks.
This is also an important step should your ISV need your cloud environment serviced in the future.
Many businesses rush into the cloud and find themselves in over their heads. But a capable MSP can come in and rapidly find ways to optimize and dramatically reduce costs while improving workflows.
For instance, some clients copied their exact same specs and sizes to the cloud, even though they don’t need all that cloud computing power.
An MSP can come in and identify that, for instance, one VM has 16 cores, but your business is only using two or four. This reoptimization and resizing can yield huge gains for cloud ROI.
Throughout the move, your MSP will be looking to create automations in your cloud to make it more agile and accelerate your application migration to cloud steps in the future.
Automations can be in the form of:
- Network identification
- Access controls
- Cost management guardrails
- And more
A migration can take anywhere from a couple of days to weeks in more complex environments.
This can also be impacted depending on your business’s availability, as the entire process requires focused collaboration.
A Trusted Azure Migration Checklist From a Trusted MSP
Azure migrate and the platform in general offers a lot of tools that help with a cloud migration.
But if you want to get the most out of your cloud environment while also maximizing ROI, Executech is a trusted MSP with decades of experience and proven track record of success with cloud migrations.
We’ll leverage all Azure has to offer to provide your ISV with a finely tuned cloud environment. Resilient, intuitive, secure, fast, and cost-effective, we’ll help your ISV unlock the full potential of the cloud.
Executech will comb through code and look for incompatibilities, look through database schema and ensure that we’re won’t be any compatibility issues in the cloud. And then with a few clicks, we’re able to start the migration, with a keen focus on negating downtime as much as possible.
Get expert support and management with your ISV’s digital transformation. Get in touch today for a free quote.