5 steps to a successful Azure migration

There are many ways that organisations use cloud technologies in 2022, with everything from cloud storage to big data analytics. Over the past two years, the rise in remote and hybrid working has increased trust and understanding of the public cloud, and it is predicted that many businesses will migrate more workloads to the cloud in 2022 than ever before.

Gartner predicts that global spending on cloud services will reach over $482 billion in 2022, up from $313 billion in 2020.

Out of the three major public cloud providers, AWS, Microsoft and Google, Microsoft Azure has the broadest feature set. Any organisation can migrate to Azure, regardless of the workload. 

Moving to the cloud has a multitude of benefits for businesses, including cost savings, stronger security, the ability to scale, and more. But while business leaders and IT teams understand these benefits, they are often reluctant to migrate to the cloud due to the migration process itself. 

In this article we will discuss the 5 steps required to ensure a successful Azure migration.

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A successful Azure migration in 5 steps

Step 1: Assess current situation

The first step to a successful Azure migration is to assess your organisation’s current situation. Within this assessment, you should consider what on-premises workload will be moved to the cloud. This will include which applications, the amount of data transfer necessary to move to the cloud, the maximum and minimum levels of compute currently required, the policy and procedures, and which users currently rely on the workload. 

Although the Azure Cloud is feature rich, if your business uses legacy applications, they may not be compatible with an Azure’s PaaS, this may require the use of IaaS, which can be more costly than remaining on-premises. The amount of data transfer is a key factor influencing the time it will take to complete a migration. Finally, it is important understand user requirements, as the user experience will be paramount to the success of an Azure migration.

Step 2: Decide on a migration method

There is no single method of Azure migration, as every organisation has different requirements, technical expertise, and ambitions from the project. Some of the common types of migration include lift and shift, refactoring and replatforming.

Lift and shift is the simplest form of migration and is simply moving all data and applications from on-premises servers to the cloud. Refactoring is where a business will move data and applications to the cloud, whilst re-architecting them to better suit the cloud environment. Finally, replatforming is in between the other two examples, where applications are moved to the cloud, with minor modifications to take advantage of the new cloud infrastructure.

Step 3: Plan the migration

There are multiple stages to an Azure migration, and a well-planned migration will result in more effective use of cloud infrastructure, with less impact to the users of the systems. In this stage, IT teams must also consider security and compliance to ensure that they are protected from current and future cyberthreats. Unfortunately, organisations that do not adequately plan their migration often have to move their systems back to on-premises after the migration to make corrections. This is a costly and disruptive exercise that can hurt your modernisation strategy. You can avoid it by involving a trusted IT partner for the planning and implementation of an Azure migration.

Step 4: Migrate

Once the plan is finalised, either your IT team or IT partner can migrate the workload to the Azure cloud. This is generally completed out-of-hours when employees do not require access to the IT systems as there may be periods of downtime. It is common for organisations to start small, by migrating a section of files, or applications to ensure that everything is working as intended, before ramping up and the number of files, users, tools, apps and databases migrated to the Azure cloud.

Step 5: Optimise

After the migration is complete, it’s time to monitor the new cloud environment to identify any issues, possible areas of optimisation or cost savings, as well as ways that the user experience can be improved. This optimisation process should be ongoing, as the ways in which users interact with IT systems often change over time, and there are new updates to applications and the Azure cloud that can necessitate further changes down the line.

Looking to migrate to Azure?

If your organisation still has legacy, on-premises infrastructure, migrating to the Azure cloud can provide many benefits, most notably, cost savings and the ability to scale quickly and easily. If you don’t have the technical expertise in-house for an Azure migration project, or if you want to find out whether Azure is right for you, please get in touch.

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