In “Part 1” of this blog series we covered some of the basic Microsoft Azure questions surrounding security and backup. In this post, I dive into frequently asked questions around migration best practices and how to get started with a pilot project.
Q. How do I go about data migration to and from Azure?
A. The most effective way to migrate data to and from Azure is by using the Azure Import/Export service by creating “jobs” and shipping portable, encrypted disk drives to the Azure data center. Each disk that is shipped is associated with a single job, and there are different kinds of storage specific to each job. All in all, this is a very economic method of transfer.
An alternative to shipping hard drives is the use of high speed data transfer applications from Aspera and Signiant. These tools will leverage your existing Internet connection to transfer data quickly and securely with very little network overhead. The downside of these tools is that they can be costly and will consume all available bandwidth between source and destination.
Q. What if I already have a private cloud? What type of integration capabilities should I look for?
A. Azure offers a service called ExpressRoute which allows you to create private network connections between Azure datacenters and infrastructure on your premises or in a colocation environment. This service connects directly to your WAN and offers the benefits of increased reliability and speed, lower latency, higher security, and significant cost benefits.
Customers also have the ability to integrate Azure into their Microsoft System Center deployments to view cloud and on premise resources in a single pane of glass. This provides simpler management and reporting.
Q. What kind of performance can I expect for mission-critical applications? And how do I evaluate performance?
A. The performance will be based on the virtual machine (VM) that is deployed. Azure has several classes of VMs with multiple tiers in each class. Whether your application demands multiple CPUs or a large amount of RAM, you can find a virtual machine sized for your requirements.
Azure also offers a Web Apps service which allows you to create and deploy mission-critical web apps that scale with your business. The service allows you to use your existing code skills in your favorite language to build APIs and apps as fast as ever. You can also host secure mission-critical applications on the enterprise grade service and leverage the DevOps part of the service which allows you to test and monitor all aspects of your apps in real-time.
Q. Which application(s) is best suited for a pilot?
A. Customers that are looking to perform a pilot on Azure often leverage Dev/Test environments which allows them to test their workloads to scale in the cloud. However, with all the features that Azure offers and the countless new features released nearly daily it is possible to move just about any workload to Azure. Daymark has worked with many customers who moved dev, test and production applications onto Azure resources including some that leverage Azure for mission critical workloads. With the flexibility of Azure the possibilities are endless.