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Azure migration planning: Start with discovery

Begin by defining your cloud migration goals and assessing your current environment

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Robert Cox
Robert Cox
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Cloud migration is a must for any enterprise looking to stay ahead in a digital world, and Microsoft Azure is the clear choice of public clouds for many organizations. However, moving to Azure isn’t necessarily an easy task—and just figuring out how to get started can be overwhelming. NetApp is here to help.

The best place to begin is, of course, at the beginning—by analyzing your current environment and understanding what you’ll move to the cloud and how. This initial planning phase will lay the foundation for a smooth and safe cloud migration.

Getting started

The first step in your Azure migration plan is to define clear goals. They can be big-picture goals for the future of the entire organization, or they can be smaller goals for specific areas of operation. These goals should help create a project plan that will guide you in organizing your migration with an eye toward your desired results.

After you determine your goals, the next step is to understand what you’ll need for the migration.

First, make a comprehensive assessment of your current environment. Decide which servers, applications, and services to migrate. Now is a good time to involve IT and business teams that use the services so that they can offer migration guidance, feedback, and support.

Create a full inventory and dependency map of the servers and services that you want to migrate. This map will help you determine how services communicate with each other.

Thoroughly assess each application to understand what resources it needs. You might determine that some applications will function better in the cloud than others. Some might need to be reconfigured to take advantage of the benefits of a cloud environment. Others might not even be good candidates to move to the cloud.

Does your network have interdependencies with the workloads you plan to move, and would these relationships be affected by a transition to the cloud? This is the time to map your configurations.

During this time, you’ll need to identify all the resources that must be moved and map them to their counterparts in Azure. This task is too big to do manually, so automation is key. Azure and NetApp provide solutions to help you assess your current on-premises environment, define your migration needs, and get automated recommendations. Then you can confidently make crucial decisions and create a project template for your Azure migration plan and beyond.

Azure Migrate can help you automate migration assessment and discover data that you can use to optimize your workloads and costs. This solution, which integrates with multiple Azure services and third-party solutions, offers tools to identify resources, including on-premises infrastructure, software, and dependencies. Its unified platform empowers you not only to plan your strategy but also to implement and track your migration.

NetApp® Cloud Insights is an industry-leading cluster of tools for hybrid cloud monitoring. It’s software as a service that provides visibility and insight across data center and cloud environments. Cloud Insights uses easy-to-configure data collectors to quickly discover almost everything in your environment. With this single solution, you can easily assess the capacity and performance of all your assets so that you can migrate workloads more quickly and efficiently. Cloud Insights also helps you save costs by making it easy to map storage to the right tier and identify both overprovisioned and underprovisioned resources so that you can rightsize as you migrate.

Rehost, revise, refactor, or rebuild?

After you’ve assessed your assets and identified your migration requirements, you’ll decide how to accomplish your migration in a way that fits your situation. You can choose from four common approaches that correspond to two main models.

The infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) model is usually faster and accommodates the rehost (lift and shift) method, which re-creates your existing infrastructure in Azure. This approach is particularly well suited for legacy migrations or teams with limited cloud or Azure skills. You can also use the revise method, in which you modify or extend code to fit the new cloud environment and take advantage of cloud capabilities.

The platform-as-a-service (PaaS) model is best for companies that work primarily online and in software development, offering serverless architecture. The first PaaS approach is to refactor: Existing code is run on top of the cloud, which is relatively fast and easy but allows architecture improvement. The second approach is to rebuild, which enables a highly scalable, easily deployable application and re-architects the code on top of the cloud.

Whichever method you choose, having the plan and information in place will help you select the correct approach to meet your goals.

Making a strong start

Success in the discovery phase of Azure migration planning means accurately understanding where you are now and what it’s going to take to get where you want to go. NetApp can help you dive into this important phase. We’ll set you up for a smooth cloud migration that can take your enterprise to the next level of transformation.

Want to talk about beginning your Azure migration planning? Book a meeting with a specialist today.

In the meantime, you can learn more about speeding up this phase in our cloud migration assessment e-book.

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.

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