By Jeremy Winter and Azure Security News
In response to the global health and macroeconomic crisis that began last year, customers have been accelerating their digital transformation efforts at an unprecedented pace to help bolster organizational resilience. They have depended on the cloud to not only help maintain business continuity throughout the recovery but also reimagine their mission for long-term growth. Customers like Albertsons Companies, Actavo, H&R Block, and Additiv have shared how migrating to the cloud with Microsoft Azure allowed them to stay resilient:
“Within the space of a week, we were able to tick a box that said, ‘If lockdown comes, we’re ready to go.’ The lockdown announcement came at five o’clock on a Friday afternoon. We actually had everybody that needed to be working at home, working at home on Monday morning.”—Willie Ryan, Global Environmental Health and Safety and IT Director, Actavo
“The pace of change pre-pandemic was rapid, but there’s no reason to think these trends won’t accelerate post-pandemic… The companies that are fairing best are those that are either digitally native or have invested the most in digital.”—Silvan Schriber, Head of Corporate Development, Additiv
Azure has always helped our diverse customers adapt to new ways of doing business, and we see common areas where you are focusing your transformation during this crisis. Almost every organization has had to pivot towards remote work with a huge push for empowering new forms of employee productivity in these environments. Several industries, such as retail and healthcare, need on-demand capacity to meet surges more than ever. Every organization is looking at cost optimization initiatives to manage cash flow better. IT leaders are worried about operating their datacenters without interruption, dealing with reduced staff and resources while security also remains top of mind.
Cloud migration can help you overcome the challenges above. To realize these benefits quickly and predictably, you can look to cloud providers for prescriptive best-practices guidance and support through your journey. You are seeking the confidence that will help you mitigate risk through your transition.
Azure has a comprehensive set of guidance, tools, and programs to help you successfully navigate your cloud transformation. We’re announcing additional and expanded investments across each of these areas today. Be sure to check out my recent Microsoft Ignite on-demand session to learn more.
Get started with best-practices and cloud economics guidance in Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure
Most customers have workloads running across on-premises, cloud, and edge environments during and post-migration. Consistency in management and governance is critical, which is why you can accelerate your cloud adoption in predictable ways with the help of proven guidance, documentation, and tools in the Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure. We’ve now expanded the Cloud Adoption Framework to include guidance around hybrid cloud and multi-cloud approaches while ensuring security, governance, and compliance across the board.
As you make the move to the cloud, it is also important to account for the impact on your organization’s financial posture of transitioning from a capital expenditure (CAPEX) model—owned and operated datacenters and hardware—to an operational expenditure (OPEX) model— where you pay-as-you-use. With a CAPEX model, it’s common for organizations to use roughly 60 percent of their datacenter capacity for daily operations and only 30 percent of their server capacity. While having excess capacity is critical, it still means paying for unused infrastructure. We advise you to have upfront alignment with finance and procurement as you build migration and modernization plans to help establish early agreement around the cloud business case along with the right guard-rails to track. CYTI is one of many Azure customers who has benefited from this approach:
“We’re now saving about 30 percent a year on infrastructure costs just by moving to Azure, with more flexibility, better servers, greater customization, and more freedom to do what we want.”—Darren Gourley, Chief Technology Officer, CYTI
It’s also important to understand the basic differences between on-premises and cloud infrastructure. The cloud provides instant access to innovative technologies and several new options that do not exist on-premises. It is critical to know the different options that the cloud provides and how they can help you with your specific scenario so that you can choose right and optimize from the get-go by utilizing the right technical and financial constructs in the cloud. We recently released a new cloud economics webpage to demystify some key constructs in the cloud and help you start your cloud journey with peace of mind. We will continue to provide a rich set of digital content highlighting key technical and financial tips from Azure experts and share lesser-known tips and best practices from other organizations.
To learn more, please check out the recent blog on demystifying cloud economics.
Accelerate your move with new assessment and migration capabilities in Azure Migrate
Azure Migrate is the one-stop-shop for built-in and extensible capabilities thousands of customers have already been using to meet their unique needs for workload discovery, assessment, and migration needs across a breadth of infrastructure, applications, and database scenarios. Today we are announcing that you will be able to automate and streamline more aspects of your migration with the following additional capabilities throughout the migration and modernization journey:
- Discovery and assessment: You can now enjoy unified discovery and assessment for Microsoft SQL Server natively within the Azure Migrate experience. This means that you can discover your SQL Server database instances at scale and get actionable readiness, cost, and performance guidance to inform migration to Azure SQL options, like SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines, or platform as a service (PaaS) options like Azure SQL Database and Azure SQL Managed Instance. You can now also perform assessments for migration to Azure VMware Solution, and soon we’ll add assessments for migrating apps to Azure App Service. Learn more in this Microsoft Mechanics video.
You can now use the latest enhancements for your migration experience:
- Support for app containerization: Migrate applications to containers running on Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) with the new App Containerization tool, supporting ASP.NET and Java web applications. Containerize an application running on on-premises servers (or on servers and virtual machines in Azure or other clouds) before migrating it to AKS. This capability augments the existing migration features in Azure Migrate, such as discovery, assessment, agentless mapping, server migration, and integration. Learn more about App Containerization.
- New Azure PowerShell module: Configure and manage replication of servers to Azure and migrate them to Azure Virtual Machines using Azure PowerShell cmdlets in an automated, repeatable manner. The new Azure Migrate Azure PowerShell module adds PowerShell support for the server migration tool’s agentless method of migrating VMware virtual machines to Azure.
- You have the additional choice and migration flexibility with our new integrated solution with Zerto.
Simplify your cloud journey with expanded scenarios in the Azure Migration Program and FastTrack for Azure
“Our original plan was to move in three months, and we actually executed in eight weeks. Microsoft Azure Migration Program, the FastTrack Program, as well as the Tech for Social Impact team who were fantastic and really were very essential to help us get this very challenging project done on time and on budget.”—Keith Weller, Vice President of Enterprise Technology Services, American Cancer Society
American Cancer Society and British Council are two recent examples of the many customers migrating and modernizing their infrastructure, applications, and databases with help from the Azure Migration Program (AMP). The program provides proactive guidance and the right mix of expert help at every stage of the migration journey so you can move with confidence.
Beginning this April, you will be able to use the Azure Migration Program to help modernize apps running on all popular source application frameworks. With this expanded set of app modernization scenarios, including Java and LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP, Perl, Python), you can modernize these web apps to your choice of Azure compute—fully managed PaaS with App Service or a fully managed containerization platform with Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS). For web app databases, you can choose between Azure SQL or popular open source databases like MySQL and PostgreSQL.
Customers are already using Microsoft FastTrack for Azure, a technical enablement program, for rapid and effective design and deployment of cloud solutions. We recently expanded to support the deployment of hybrid Azure Arc-enabled servers. Now, we’re enabling you to accelerate production deployments for cloud-native applications with FastTrack assistance for cloud-native best practices such as Kubernetes, OpenShift, serverless, and event-driven workloads.
Build cloud skills and resilience to navigate your journey with confidence
To learn more about how cloud migration can help with your organization’s digital transformation, register for the Cloud Migration and Modernization with Azure virtual event on April 8, 2021. I’m hosting the event in partnership with my colleague, Tanuj Bansal, General Manager, Azure product marketing. This is a great opportunity to hear best practices and guidance from many Azure product leaders and technical community influencers.