Before April 2020 it had already been predicted that over 80% of all workloads and applications could move to the cloud by the end of the year because of the greater flexibility it gives application providers and users.
With the COVID crisis still affecting most aspects of business, the number of companies implementing cloud solutions has accelerated with users demanding remote access to key business tools and applications.
With less workplace stability and pressures on IT resource growing, businesses view the stability and flexibility of the cloud as being major benefits to sustaining their operations whereas legacy hosting solutions, with their reliance on maintenance and on site staff are viewed as a risk that could affect productivity.
Despite high pressure to migrate to a virtual infrastructure model quickly, the truth is that moving legacy applications to the cloud requires a great deal of planning. To reduce risk and ensure a successful migration is achieved, it is vitally important to follow a clear process that focuses on the business and operational goals.
Step 1 – Analysis
Migrating your business applications to Azure depends on your company’s business needs, priorities and the type of application you are migrating so we always recommend that the first step is analysing why you want to move to the cloud by undertaking a SWOT analysis.
The SWOT should create an overview that helps identify potential operational, financial and technical obstacles as well as reviewing how your systems may evolve in the future so you can build these requirements into your new Azure environment.
Step 2 – Assess your existing environment
As part of your strategy for moving from a legacy on-premise solution to Azure you should assess your current infrastructure as this will provide you with a baseline requirements list before you even start speaking to other stakeholders.
To gather all the information required and help you plan the future migration we typically analyse multiple factors that contribute to application performance including:
- Network architecture
- Performance requirements
- Maintenance processes
Step 3 – Select the migration strategy
There are three migration strategies to consider when moving from a legacy system to Azure. These are:
- Lift and shift
- Application evolution
- Re architecting
Lift and shift – This strategy just copies everything to the cloud exactly as it is. This is a useful method when the application is already cloud friendly, but it is important to recognise that simply replicating your existing environment will not improve performance: greater latency from remote hosting may mean performance is lower. Additionally, this method fails to directly take advantage of all the benefits of the cloud such as flexibility and can waste resources as well as leave your business with ongoing costs for capacity you are not using.
Application evolution – By identifying the pieces of your application that will benefit the most from moving to the cloud the move to Azure is handled in chunks rather than all at once.
Re-architecting – By breaking down applications and rebuilding them in a more scalable, modern design you eliminate code that constrains your applications and enhances their business performance.
Of all three options this is the best solution for core applications and services that are a fundamental part of the business as while it is more complex, the outcome is an improved, application that is native to the cloud.
Step 4 – Pilot Migrations
Once the solution has been agreed, a test migration of your application allows you the simulation of everyday work situations and business operations. When you are moving from a legacy solution to Azure this means that you can see how users interact with your new environment and identify and resolve issues before go-live.
This can be a considerable time investment for your business but by taking the time to get the move right it will reduce costs in the long run.
Step 5 – Undertake the migration
Once you have completed the analysis, planning and architecting your migration you should be ready to move from a legacy hosting solution to Azure.
Having support at this stage of the process is critical. In house IT teams may not have the expertise or insight to resolve unexpected issues with the migration process and these can lead to long term technical problems with performance or cost.
Step 6 – Actively manage Azure usage and resources
Congratulations! You have finally moved from a legacy hosting solution to Azure, now the work really begins.
The flexibility of Azure can lead to long term benefits for end users. By monitoring performance and resource use, your environment can be optimised to better suit real world usage patterns. This can mean improved performance at the same cost, or longer-term cost reductions as unused services and storage is minimised.
When you choose igroup as your cloud partner for Azure, you benefit from our investment in industry leading cloud administration and monitoring tools including Cloud Control which handles day to day resource management, identity and patching and interfaces with IT Cost Control, our cloud finance management system which provides you with detailed information about consumption that can help you plan usage and reduce ongoing subscription costs.
Our Azure certified consultancy team can help you plan, architect, and move your applications and services from your legacy hosting to Azure. This will help you reduce costs and minimise disruption to your business in the long term. To talk to a member of the team about supporting your migration to Azure call 0203 697 0302.