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Azure migration planning: Optimize to save time and money

Integrated services from Azure and NetApp can help with cost management

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Robert Cox
Robert Cox
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When you’re planning your Azure migration, cost is a major factor. But time is also key. In addition, you should factor in efficiency when you look at costs. You’ll want to estimate your TCO as accurately as you can, along with the return on investment (ROI) and increases in efficiency and ease of use that you’ll gain from your move to Azure. This task is important and complex, but help is on the way. Azure and NetApp offer several solutions to help you understand, calculate, and optimize your costs and efficiency.

Anticipating cloud costs

The first step in cost optimization is accurately estimating your Azure costs. Azure pricing depends on many factors, including the capacity required, location, type of service, and management level. Azure provides a suite of Azure cost management tools to help figure out these costs, including an Azure cost calculator. Azure’s TCO calculator allows you to estimate the cost of hosting your operations in the cloud, factoring in your organization’s long-term goals.

However, keep in mind that there might be key elements that the Azure cost estimator doesn’t include. Other cost aspects you might want to take into account include:

  • Migration costs. Moving to the cloud can be time consuming, complicated, and expensive, especially for large enterprises. It’s important to factor these aspects into your TCO.
  • Data center costs. You’ll continue to pay for on-premises data center operations until your migration is complete. Include costs for staff, facilities, and resources.
  • Risk. Cloud migration involves the risk that not everything will work as expected, and you should have a budget to deal with any hiccups.
  • Supporting services costs. Services such as storage, monitoring, networking, and access management might be charged in addition to Azure costs, so be sure to keep them in mind.
  • Time.Your time is also worth money, and it’s important to include ease of use and efficiency into your TCO estimate.

Beyond the data you put into your Azure cost calculator, it’s also a good idea to think about how you’ll monitor and optimize resource use and costs to increase efficiency, keep costs under control, and stick to your anticipated TCO.

Azure optimization solutions

NetApp offers several tools that you can use to monitor and control your resource usage and costs.

Reduce storage footprint and cut costs with Cloud Volumes ONTAP

One key tool for managing storage spending is NetApp® Cloud Volumes ONTAP®, an enterprise-grade, software-only storage management solution. It supports any enterprise workload, including file services, databases, and DevOps.

Cloud Volumes ONTAP can help with Azure cost management, reducing your storage footprint and costs by up to 70% through efficiency features that shrink the amount of data that needs to be stored. These features include thin provisioning, data compression, data tiering, NetApp Snapshot data replication, and volume cloning.

Thin provisioning

When enterprises are planning their storage space, they tend to provision resources upfront according to peak demand. This approach ensures good performance, but those resources will be unused most of the time, so you end up paying for storage that you don’t need. Cloud Volumes ONTAP provides thin provisioning, which dynamically allocates storage capacity from a shared storage pool, but only when data is actually being written to a volume. Thin provisioning makes resource use more efficient.

Data compression, deduplication, and compaction

Cloud Volumes ONTAP uses three methods to help you use the least amount of storage needed:

  • Data compression, which reduces the amount of storage space used by automatically compressing data blocks
  • Data compaction, which automatically combines remaining small chunks of data into single 4KB physical blocks
  • Data deduplication, which eliminates duplicate data blocks by reducing storage usage by as much as 90%

Read how one NetApp customer, Concerto Cloud Services, was able to use these features to reduce data consumption by 96%.

Data tiering

Automated data tiering seamlessly moves data between block storage and less-expensive object storage, depending on how frequently the data is being used. When data is needed, it’s automatically moved to the higher-performance storage tier. This Cloud Volumes ONTAP feature reduces costs significantly by allowing you to pay only for the high-performance storage that you really need.

Snapshot data replication

The right kind of data replication can make disaster recovery measures simple to use and much more cost-effective. Cloud Volumes ONTAP works with NetApp SnapMirror® data replication technology to create disaster recovery secondary copies with continuous synchronization schedules across hybrid environments. SnapMirror helps reduce network bandwidth utilization and storage footprints, decreasing costs.

Optimize performance with Azure NetApp Files

Azure NetApp Files is an Azure-native file storage solution that offers ultra-low latency, 99.99% availability, high-level reliability, scalability, and advanced data management to optimize performance. With Azure NetApp Files, you can easily adjust capacity and service levels so that you can get the level of performance and storage that you want—without paying for more than you need.

Decrease time to market with FlexCone

Working with Cloud Volumes ONTAP, NetApp FlexClone® provides flexible volume cloning to cut storage requirements by at least 50% by using Snapshot technology. These features can help you increase the speed and reduce the complexity of DevOps testing, supporting development and decreasing time to market.

Consolidate data with Global File Cache

NetApp Global File Cache is a self-managing cache that delivers fast, secure access to data by caching active datasets to distributed offices globally—consolidating data and streamlining overall IT management. Global File Cache can help you cut storage costs while increasing operational efficiency and ease of use.

Deliver cost-effective cloud desktops with Spot PC

Spot PC by NetApp, a fully managed cloud desktop-as-a-service offering, helps you realize the benefits of cloud desktops—including better collaboration and security—simply and cost-effectively. Spot PC simplifies cloud desktop operations, allowing you to instantly provision and manage cloud desktops. Fueled by advanced automation, Spot PC can lower management and infrastructure costs by up to 70%.

Making the most out of your Azure migration

Azure migration offers many advantages, but cost savings aren’t a given. However, using the right methods can help you estimate your costs correctly and control them. NetApp offers the solutions to help you optimize your Azure costs—all while realizing ROI.

Would you like to learn more about Azure cost optimization? See our Azure migration guide.

Robert Cox

Robert is a senior product marketing manager with over 20 years of product marketing and product management experience. He is focused on NetApp’s Cloud Data Services, working to enable customers to deliver business outcomes for all IT workloads in cloud, multicloud, and hybrid cloud environments. Robert is an avid cyclist and loves to be outdoors.

View all Posts by Robert Cox

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